Spain beats France to reach Euro 2024 final after historic goal from 16-year-old Lamine Yamal | CNN (2024)

Spain beats France to reach Euro 2024 final after historic goal from 16-year-old Lamine Yamal | CNN (1)

Lamine Yamal made history with his goal against France.

CNN

Lamine Yamal made history by becoming the youngest player to score in a men’s European Championship as Spain edged past France 2-1 to reach Sunday’s Euro 2024 final.

France took the lead inside 10 minutes after Randal Kolo Muani headed home from Kylian Mbappé’s cross, but Spain leveled the scores soon after thanks to 16-year-old Yamal’s stunning long-range effort.

Dani Olmo then produced a brilliant effort of his own less than five minutes later to put Spain into the lead and it was an advantage La Roja defended stoically until the full-time whistle.

Tuesday’s victory also means Spain becomes the first team to win six straight matches at a single European Championship tournament.

Luis de la Fuente’s side will now face either the Netherlands or England, who play on Wednesday, in the final as Spain goes in search of a fourth Euros crown.

Yamal, who picked up the man of the match award for his performance, celebrates his 17th birthday the day before the final and said his “goal” was to still be in Germany for the occasion.

“We were a goal down and I just got the ball, I didn’t think about it much and then shot towards the goal,” he said, per AFP.

“We are very, very close. [We’re] with a lot of happiness. This team is unbelievable. We deserve it. One step away from glory.”

Sublime Spain

Few had picked Spain to win the tournament, but La Roja has been unequivocally the best team at Euro 2024 and already dispatched host Germany after extra-time in the quarterfinals.

The pace and trickery of Yamal and Athletic Bilbao’s 21-year-old winger Nico Williams have been one of the highlights of Spain’s tournament – Rodri’s control in midfield is another – and the pair of young forwards will undoubtedly continue to play a vital role for the national team in the years to come.

France, conversely, has struggled for form at the tournament, something that has afflicted many of the so-called bigger teams.

Les Bleus hadn’t scored a goal from open play throughout the tournament to reach the semifinals, relying on own goals and a penalty from Mbappé. After sustaining a broken nose in France’s opening group game against Austria, Mbappé has, understandably, not been quite at his best.

Spain beats France to reach Euro 2024 final after historic goal from 16-year-old Lamine Yamal | CNN (2)

Dani Olmo fires his goal in off Jules Koundé.

It was a frenetic start in Munich and Spain should have taken the lead inside five minutes.

Yamal, playing on the right-hand side, cut back onto his left foot and whipped a delightful cross into the box, something that has become a feature of the youngster’s tournament.

His delivery was inch-perfect onto the head of Fabián Ruiz, but the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder put his effort over the crossbar when totally unmarked at the far post.

It was a miss that Ruiz would rue almost immediately as three minutes later, France was in the lead.

Mbappé, who was finally played without a mask, put a cross towards the far post and Kolo Muani brilliantly peeled off the back of defender Aymeric Laporte to make space and head the ball past a rooted Unai Simón.

Spain looked rattled and was struggling to contain France’s counterattacks. The 38-year-old Jesus Navas, deputising for the suspended Dani Carvajal at right back, in particular was having a torrid time up against Mbappé.

But then the game changed in the blink of an eye, thanks to teenage sensation Yamal.

Out of nowhere, the schoolboy, who promised his teachers ahead of the tournament that he would keep up with his homework in Germany, cut back onto his left foot 25 yards from goal and bent a stunning effort off the post and in.

France goalkeeper Mike Maignan has enjoyed an impressive tournament for Les Bleus but had no chance of saving Yamal’s arcing shot.

It’s difficult to comprehend how someone so young could possess the confidence and self-belief to not only think about taking that shot, but execute it to perfection on the biggest stage.

That goal breathed new life into Spain and less than five minutes later, De la Fuente’s side was ahead.

Spain beats France to reach Euro 2024 final after historic goal from 16-year-old Lamine Yamal | CNN (3)

Spain is the first team to win six straight matches at a Euros.

After Navas’ cross into the box was blocked, Olmo took two sublime touches to bring the ball under control and away from Aurélien Tchouaméni, before drilling a deflected effort past a helpless Maignan.

Spain had responded magnificently to the early pressure France applied. Now it was up to France coach Didier Deschamps to find a way for his team to fight back.

Just after the hour mark, Deschamps rolled the dice. Off came Adrien Rabiot, N’Golo Kanté and goal scorer Kolo Muani, who were replaced by Bradley Barcola, Eduardo Camavinga and the experienced Antoine Griezmann.

Clear cut chances were few and far between, however, as France struggled to break down a resolute Spanish defence.

After a promising first half, Mbappé was particularly disappointing in the second period. In the final few minutes, a wayward shot that ended up high in the stands when he was well placed inside the box summed up an underwhelming evening for the new Real Madrid star.

Spain beats France to reach Euro 2024 final after historic goal from 16-year-old Lamine Yamal | CNN (2024)

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