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Preview: Spain vs. France – prediction, team news, lineups



Boasting a flawless record so far, La Roja made it to Munich by eliminating their hosts in the previous round; meanwhile, Les Bleus reached the final four via a tense penalty shootout win over Portugal.


Match preview

Preview: Spain vs. France - prediction, team news, lineups

Bringing together perhaps the tournament’s two strongest sides, the first quarter-final of Euro 2024 promised much and ultimately delivered, as Spain struck during extra time to claim a 2-1 win in Stuttgart.

After Dani Olmo – who had been introduced for the injured Pedri – put La Roja in front, Germany equalised through Florian Wirtz; but just as a finely-balanced game appeared set for spot kicks, Mikel Merino powered in a header to secure his side’s place in the semis.

A formidable force under Luis de la Fuente, Spain are the only team to have won all five matches thus far, and no nation in European Championship history has won six times in a single finals, or even posted six wins in a row.

Much credit has been handed to the former Under-21 boss, who instigated a tactical change upon taking over from Luis Enrique and is now reaping the rewards: his Spain side have recorded lower possession than their opponents twice this summer (48% vs Germany, 47% vs Croatia), which is more times than across 44 major-tournament matches between the 2006 and 2022 World Cups.

A more diverse approach, featuring quick passing and pace out wide, has proved mightily successful, as since the start of 2023, La Roja have the best win percentage of any European nation, winning 15 of their 19 games under De la Fuente.

Victory in the most recent UEFA Nations League bred faith in the direction of travel, and they are on their best winning run since the glory days of June 2010.

Spain have progressed from four of five European Championship semi-finals to date – though they lost on penalties to eventual winners Italy at this stage three years ago – and will now fight for the right to meet either England or the Netherlands on Sunday.

That would be the Iberian nation’s fifth continental final, and the first since their brief but brilliant reign of dominance was wrapped up with victory at Euro 2012.


Preview: Spain vs. France - prediction, team news, lineups

Meanwhile, France are aiming to reach a fourth European Championship decider, but only the second played away from French soil.

Didier Deschamps presided over the most recent one – 2016’s defeat to Portugal in Paris – and the double World Cup winner is intent on going one better this time around.

Since being beaten in the last World Cup final, his talented team have started to stutter, and their progress to the semi-finals has been far less fluent than that of Spain, who swept past Croatia, Italy, Albania and Georgia before toppling the tournament hosts.

Having lost out to Austria for top spot in Group D, France were uninspired in their last-16 win over Belgium before edging past Portugal in the quarter-finals.

Goalkeeper Mike Maignan was called upon to make a couple of crucial saves to take the tie into extra time, and it ultimately came down to penalties in Hamburg, where Theo Hernandez hammered home the decisive kick from 12 yards.

Concern over the form and fitness of captain Kylian Mbappe were raised again, as Real Madrid’s newest ‘galactico’ was forced off ahead of the shootout, but Les Bleus once more found a way to get the job done.

With a masked Mbappe misfiring, there have only been four goals scored in their five Euro 2024 matches so far – three for and just one against – and all by way of either penalties or own goals.

The only team on record to have more than 50 non-penalty shots at a European finals and fail to find the net with any, France may not be as aesthetically pleasing as their Spanish counterparts – who they beat 2-1 in their most recent meeting, the 2021 Nations League final – but very few would bet against them.


Spain European Championship form:
Spain form (all competitions):
France European Championship form:
France form (all competitions):

Team News


Spain’s relatively settled XI – several changes for a Group B dead-rubber against Albania aside – will feature at least three fresh faces on Tuesday evening.

Influential right-back Dani Carvajal and France-born defender Robin Le Normand must both serve suspensions, while Pedri was forced off in the early stages of Friday’s quarter-final, departing the field in tears – the Barcelona midfielder suffered a medial collateral ligament knee sprain and will not play again this summer.

Veteran pair Nacho and Jesus Navas could therefore step into La Roja’s back four, while Dani Olmo’s stellar substitute display against Germany should see the Bundesliga-based star replace Pedri.

Midfield mainstay Rodri has both attempted and completed the most passes of any player set to take part in Euro 2024’s first semi; Aurelien Tchouameni of France ranks second in that regard.

Up front, captain Alvaro Morata will again be supported by Nico Williams and 16-year-old Lamine Yamal, the latter of whom has created 14 chances for his teammates at these finals – the most by any Spanish player at a major tournament since Xavi‘s total of 25 at Euro 2012, and also by any teenager to date.

With the slate wiped clean at this stage, France have no disciplinary issues to worry about, but Kylian Mbappe’s nose injury remains a source of concern for Didier Deschamps, as his team have lacked spark in the final third.

The former Paris Saint-Germain striker has scored only one goal from 20 shots at Euro 2024 thus far; indeed, his overall strike rate at European Championships stands at a meagre 3%. That is in stark contrast to his record at the World Cup, where a tally of 12 goals from 39 shots represents a 31% conversion rate.

By contrast, ‘Magic’ Mike Maignan can boast a save ratio of 94% to this point – the best of any goalkeeper that has played more than one match in Germany and also since Iker Casillas during Spain’s overall triumph in 2012. The AC Milan stopper has kept four clean sheets so far.

Meanwhile, Marcus Thuram and Ferland Mendy should overcome minor injuries, and Adrien Rabiot is back from a one-match ban, but it remains to be seen whether the latter can displace Mbappe’s new Real Madrid teammate Eduardo Camavinga, who deputised in the French engine room against Portugal.

Certain to start in midfield, N’Golo Kante has played the most games in European Championship history without ever finishing on the losing side – winning eight and drawing five – so can be considered Les Bleus’ lucky charm.

Spain possible starting lineup:
Simon: Navas, Nacho, Laporte, Cucurella; Olmo, Rodri, Ruiz: Yamal, Morata, Williams

France possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Kounde, Saliba, Upamecano, Hernandez; Kante, Tchouameni, Rabiot; Griezmann; Kolo Muani, Mbappe

We say: Spain 1-0 France (after extra time)

In the sixth meeting between Spain and France at a major tournament, it is surely the turn of an inspired La Roja side to taste success again.

Excluding penalty shoot-outs, Les Bleus have lost just one of their last 16 European Championship matches, in addition to conceding only one goal in their last seven internationals – but they may meet their match on Tuesday.

Spanish speed and flair might initially be stunted by a stubborn blue wall, but they will ultimately find a way through Europe’s toughest defence and claim a deserved place in the final.

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