• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Yamal brilliance powers Spain to Euro 2024 final


A sensational goal from 16-year-old phenomenon winger Lamine Yamal helped Spain come from behind to beat France 2-1 in Munich on Tuesday night, securing their place in the final of Euro 2024.

Yamal became the youngest player to score at a European Championship or World Cup, surpassing the record previously held by Brazil legend Pelé. In a pulsating first half, Yamal shifted the ball onto his left foot and curled a stunning shot in off the post from 25 yards.

Earlier, France had taken the lead in the ninth minute when Randal Kolo Muani headed in a sumptuous cross from Kylian Mbappe, who was playing without a mask after recovering from a broken nose sustained earlier in the tournament.

However, Spain turned the match around in four minutes, scoring twice against a side that had only conceded once in their five previous games at the Euro 2024.

Yamal, who turns 17 a day before Sunday’s final against either the Netherlands or England in Berlin, equalised with a superb strike from outside the box. His long-range effort curled into the top corner past the fingertips of an airborne Mike Maignan.

Spain took the lead on 25 minutes when Dani Olmo expertly gathered a loose ball and fired a low shot into the net with the aid of a deflection off Jules Kounde.

Masters of midfield game management, Spain then shut up shop after taking the lead, frequently holding possession rather than attacking on the counter, controlling the match and claiming the win.

Three-time champions Spain became the first team to win six games at the Euros and are now one game away from a record-breaking fourth crown. Finalists in three of the past four major tournaments, France will face questions about how they failed to click up front despite boasting enviable attacking riches.

France had only scored three goals heading into the match, none of which were scored by a French player from open play. Coach Didier Deschamps reacted by benching forward Antoine Griezmann for Ousmane Dembele.

Yamal’s goal, 13 minutes after France’s opener, ignited Spain’s attack, and La Roja took the lead four minutes later through Olmo. Olmo leapt acrobatically to collect a cleared cross, shed a defender, and smashed goalwards, his shot taking a deflection off Kounde before bouncing in.

France’s best chance to force extra time fell to their captain with five minutes remaining, but Mbappe blasted well over with only goalkeeper Unai Simon to beat.