Euro 2024 Takeaways: Lamine Yamal leads silky Spain to semifinal win

Euro 2024 Takeaways: Lamine Yamal leads silky Spain to semifinal win

Euro 2024 has been criticized for being boring and unstimulating. But on a humid, Bavarian night, fans around the world were treated to a magical semifinal filled with excitement, energy, and best of all, goals.

Luis de la Fuente’s Spain put on a show thanks to a miraculous first-half comeback Tuesday. Youngster Lamine Yamal made headlines with a superb equalizer, while Kylian Mbappé, France’s star, failed to lead his team past the semifinals.

On Sunday, La Roja will play for Euro glory against either England or the Netherlands – a spot that’s rightly deserved. While we wait for Wednesday’s semi to determine Spain’s opponent, read on for what you need to know about Tuesday’s showpiece at Euro 2024. 


Spain 2, France 1 in Munich: Match report || Match stats


Spain reigns supreme

What is champion mentality? Simply put, it’s having belief and resilience to bounce back from setbacks. It’s finding a way to continuously improve and getting the job done no matter the circumstance. And it’s something that Spain showed in Tuesday’s semifinal.

France, which struggled for goals at Euro 2024, struck first and early for the first time in open play this tournament. Mbappé and Randal Kolo Muani teamed up in a moment of brilliance to give Les Bleus the advantage. In the opening 15 minutes, it was clear the “blah” French performances over the last few weeks were in the past, as Didier Dechamps’ men came out with newfound creativity and possession. Removing Mbappé’s mask certainly gave him better field of vision, and slightly tweaking the formation and lineup proved useful for the French’s offence at first.

However, there’s no denying that Spain was the better team on a few levels. De la Fuente’s side showed grit and determination to keep themselves invested even after France’s early dagger. Spain showed show-stopping ball control and technical elegance time and time again, which resulted in two massive goals within four minutes. Its quality and tactical brilliance, combined with hope and aggression, was quite truly an unstoppable combination that halted France in its tracks.

Sure, the second half looked a bit cagey and Dechamps’ side seemed to be turning it around. But France’s performance in the last 45 simply wasn’t as deliberate as Spain’s. Dechamps’ substitutes were valiant, but not enough. Aurélien Tchouaméni and Mbappé took brave chances, but didn’t find the net. The passing and movement from the French midfield was strong, even if slightly desperate. Overall, Spain is just too strong and clearly the tournament’s team to beat.

The Spanish soccer empire

Spain has tackled one of the toughest roads to the Euro 2024 final. After topping Italy, Croatia, Germany and now France, it’s safe to say La Roja is on Cloud 9. The team is on its longest winning streak since 2010, and into its first major tournament final since 2012. So, how did Spain beat four of the world’s best teams with poise and precision under pressure? 

The answer became clear midway through Tuesday’s first half. After going a goal down to France, with alarm bells going off and a chance to let Les Bleus take further advantage, Spain simply said no. De la Fuente’s squad did not accept the possibility of being second best and instead revved its engine and took its tactics up a notch. Of course, this is only possible with players as gifted as those Spain boasts, but it’s also the outcome of composed assurance. Even after conceding the opener, Spain used the pitch as a canvas, moving the ball like paint, the players the brushes, to craft its own story and masterpiece. Each athlete had a place and a role in de la Fuente’s system, and they trusted the process. 

Shoutout to the youngsters, though. While veterans Nacho and Álvaro Morata’s leadership certainly has its place, the youthful energy Spain brought to Tuesday’s semifinal cannot be ignored. Lamine Yamal’s wonderstrike could very well go down as the goal of the tournament, and Nico Williams’ blistering pace down the wing can be credited for many of Spain’s chances.

Clearly, Spain’s new generation is rising out of the ashes. Fresh blood is making an impact, and with the women’s team already being crowned world champions in 2023, who’s to say the men can’t lift another trophy? Clearly, the Spanish soccer empire is growing into a moment of its own.


With his start against France on Tuesday, 16-year-old Lamine Yamal became the youngest player to appear in a major international tournament semifinal. The youngster beat Pele, who who was 17 when he appeared in the semis at the 1958 World Cup. With his sensational strike in the 21st minute, he also became the youngest goalscorer in the history of the Euros. Not a bad afternoon for the wonderkid, huh? 

Last month, the Barcelona winger broke the internet when he was pictured doing schoolwork between matches. 


France goalkeeper Mike Maignan decided to take matters into his own hands early into the second half. It was sweeper keeper at its best from the 29-year-old, who sprinted off his line with a perfectly-timed tackle on Spain’s Nico Williams to clear the ball. After returning to his box, Maignan was seen stretching and nursing his hamstring, which got fully stretched from the clearance. Thankfully, the AC Milan goalie is OK.


Tuesday’s loss marked Olivier Giroud’s final international match. France’s all-time leading goalscorer (57 goals) will continue playing in the MLS for LAFC on a designated player contract through 2025 with an option for 2026.


1. Lamine Yamal (Spain): Ready for some more Yamal content? So are we. In the 21st minute, Spain’s No. 19 produced an unstoppable equalizer in a moment of individual brilliance. The Spaniard looked composed while his powerful, mature shot ricocheted off the top left post and into the net. Could Yamal’s strike be contender for goal of the tournament? 

2. Dani Olmo (Spain): Physically, not the biggest. Technically, not the best. But if there’s one thing Olmo does best, it’s control. Once the ball fell to the 26-year-old in the box, he took a couple brilliant touches before hammering a low shot into the net and giving Spain the lead heading into the half. It’s now three goals in the last three games for the RB Leipzig attacking midfielder.

3. Randal Kolo Muani/Kylian Mbappé (France): It’s impossible to choose one player over the other as both contributed to France’s superb first goal. Mbappé ushered in a picture-perfect cross to Kolo Muani, who peeled off his defender and redirected the ball into the net with his head. 


Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands and Gareth Southgate’s England go head-to-head in Wednesday’s semifinal at 3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT in Dortmund, Germany. Will the Three Lions improve on their lacklustre performances thus far, or will the Dutch underdogs rise to the occasion? Find out who will join Spain in the Euro 2024 final.

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