Euro 2024: Mikel Merino the hero as Spain get past Germany

Germany equalized in the 89th minute but Merino scored late in extra time to send Spain through to the semifinals
Spain  v Germany  -EURO
Spain v Germany -EURO / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Mikel Merino scored the winner in the 119th minute to send Spain through to the semifinals of Euro 2024, knocking out Germany in the process.

In what many called an "anticipated final" the match between the two European giants certainly lived up to expectations.

The Spanish side began the game on the front foot with Pedri having the first chance of the match only a minute in.

it would be Pedri's lone highlight as he was forced off with an injury in the eighth minute. The injury came only minutes prior as Toni Kroos put in a tough tackle on the Barcelona player. The referee whistled for the free kick but did not give Kroos a yellow. Dani Olmo ended up replacing Pedri.

Kroos could have picked up another yellow as he stepped on Lamine Yamal moments after that.

The breakthrough for Spain came in the second half courtesy of the substitute Olmo. Spain attacked through the right with Lamine Yamal who spotted the incoming run from Olmo. Yamal set up Olmo whose deft shot got past the arm of Manuel Neuer.

Spain did well in limiting the danger from Germany and vice versa with the Germans all but neutralizing Yamal and Nico Williams, the former's assist notwithstanding.

Perhaps it's no surprise then that Germany finally managed to get on top of Spain once both Lamal and Williams were taken out.

They knocked on the door of the Spain goal but to no avail. With time winding down, it seemed like Germany wouldn't be able to get the equalizer.

In the 89th minute, however, a hpeful ball to the far post was headed nack to a wide open Florian Wirtz. The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder struck the ball into the ground and past a few Spanish defenders to equalize.

The momentum was now all on Germany's side. They got the goal to stay alive and had the support of their home faithful.

Germany could have felt they deserved a penalty as an attempt from Jamal Musiala struck the hand of Marc Cucurella. Referee Anthony Taylor deemed it not a penalty, to the relief of the Spanish faithful.

Just as it looked like the game was destined for penalties, Olmo sent in a cross, finding an unmarked Merino who left Neuer standing as his header hit the side of the net. Pandemonium for Spain as they were up with little time left. Three minutes of stoppage time were added with Germany having one last free-kick following a second yellow from Dani Carvajal, which left Spain down a man.

The ensuing free kick was snatched by Unai Simon as the referee blew the final whistle, confirming Spain's place in the semifinals.

Spain will be happy to be in the semifinals and having knocked out the host nation. However, regardless of their opponent, Luis de la Fuente is going to have to make a number of changes as they'll be without Pedri, Dani Carvajal and Robin Le Normad -- Carvajalwas sent off and Le Normand picked up a yellow and must now serve a one-game suspension.


But that is a bridge they'll cross when they come to it. As for now, Spain will celebrate reaching the semifinals of Euro 2024 as they entered the tournament with not many giving them a chance.