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Spain and France meet in Euro 2024 semi-final


In a thrilling climax to the quarterfinals, France secured their spot in the semi-finals of the European Championship by defeating Portugal in a dramatic penalty shootout. This victory sets up a high-stakes clash against Spain on Tuesday in Munich.

France triumphs over Portugal in penalty shootout

The evening was charged with anticipation as two football titans, Kylian Mbappé and Cristiano Ronaldo, faced off, with the knowledge that one superstar would see their tournament journey end. Ultimately, it was the 39-year-old Ronaldo who would bow out, as France emerged victorious after a tense match that concluded with a penalty shootout.

The match began with a formal yet respectful exchange between the two captains, Mbappé and Ronaldo, who share a mutual admiration for each other. However, the respect was quickly overshadowed by the intensity of the game.

The first half of the match in Hamburg was uneventful, reflecting the cautious play styles of both teams. Neither France nor Portugal had shown their best form in the tournament thus far, with France notably failing to score from open play until this point, and Portugal scraping through the group stage with mixed performances.

As the match progressed, neither of the superstars managed to shine. Ronaldo, aiming to become the oldest goal-scorer in Euro history, remained goalless, while Mbappé, hindered by a facial mask protecting a broken nose, also struggled to make an impact.

A significant moment came ten minutes after the break when Mbappé temporarily removed his mask after a ball hit his face, revealing the pain he has been enduring. Despite this, the game started to open up. French goalkeeper Mike Maignan made crucial saves to deny Bruno Fernandes and João Cancelo, while Randal Kolo Muani and Eduardo Camavinga missed opportunities for France.

The match extended into extra time, where both Ronaldo and Mbappé had their moments but failed to break the deadlock. Mbappé was substituted halfway through extra time, visibly frustrated with his form and the limitations imposed by his protective mask. From the bench, he witnessed his teammates excel in the penalty shootout, securing France's progression to the semi-finals.

Spain ends Germany's Euro hopes in extra-time thriller

In another gripping quarterfinal, Spain defeated Germany 2-1 in a match that also stretched into extra time. The victory eliminated the tournament hosts and ended the international career of German legend Toni Kroos, who played his final match against the country where he spent a significant part of his career.

The match, held in Stuttgart, was a rollercoaster of emotions. Spain took the lead early in the second half through Dani Olmo, who stepped up following the injury of key midfielder Pedri. Germany responded with a late equalizer from Florian Wirtz, pushing the game into extra time.

The extra period was filled with tension and controversy, particularly regarding a potential penalty for Germany when Marc Cucurella handled the ball in the box, which the referee did not award. The decisive moment came in the 119th minute when Mikel Merino headed in the winning goal, echoing a historic goal by his father in the same stadium 33 years prior.

Spain's victory, however, came at a cost. Key players Dani Carvajal, Robin Le Normand, and Álvaro Morata received their second yellow cards of the tournament, resulting in suspensions for the semi-final. Additionally, Pedri is doubtful due to a knee injury, and Fabián Ruiz is also struggling with fitness concerns.

Semi-finals

With both teams advancing under dramatic circumstances, the upcoming semi-final France vs. Spain promises to be a thrilling encounter. France, aiming to add a European title to their recent World Cup triumph, will face a Spanish team eager to reclaim glory despite their injury and suspension woes.

The match is scheduled for Tuesday at 21:00 in Munich, where football fans can expect a battle of tactics, skill, and endurance as two of Europe's top footballing nations vie for a place in the final.

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