Euro 2024: Spain face France with a spot in the final on the line

Spain has exceeded expectations heading into this tournament while France, one of the favorites, has underwhelmed.
(R-L) Fabian Ruiz, Lamine Yamal and Rodri (Rodrigo Hernandez...
(R-L) Fabian Ruiz, Lamine Yamal and Rodri (Rodrigo Hernandez... / Nicolò Campo/GettyImages

With only four teams remaining in Euro 2024, the first finalist will be decided on Tuesday in the much anticipated clash between Spain and France.

Spain head into the final as arguably the best team of the tournament. The side managed by Luis de la Fuente topped their group, winning all three games, before knocking out Georgia and the host country, Germany.

"We're a nice team to watch, but in the end it's about winning -- even more so at this stage," De la Fuente said in his pre-match press conference. "We want to play nice football but we want to play practical football too, because what counts in the end are results. the important thing, as always, is to win."

France, on the other hand, finished second in their group behind Austria. Finishing second meant they entered into the tougher side of the bracket. It's fair to say France has underperformed and underdelivered given what was expected of them.

In the five matches they've played, they've scored three goals, one was a penalty and two were own goals, including the one against Belgium in the round of 16. Against Portugal, while they looked a bit more lively, they still only managed to get through on penalties.

Manager Didier Deschamps doesn't seem to care what people think about the way his team plays.

"If we're boring you, you can watch something else, it doesn't matter," Deschamps said. "It's a very particular European Championship, with less goals than normal. We have the chance to make France happy, in a delicate situation for the country. If (others) are bored, I really don't care."

The criticism towards France and Deschamps is when you take a look at their squad, they should be putting in better performances and have been able to score at least one goal from open play.

Deschamps could very well argue that despite all that, they're in the semifinals.

The last time these two sides faced one another in an official tournament was in the Nations League final where France came out on top.

"We're a new team. We have different ideas -- no better or worse, just different. Our style is different from the previous national team. We wanted to give it a little twist, and I think we've managed that," De la Fuente said.

The twist this time around is the fact Spain have two wingers who have been the standouts of the Euros in Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal.

They've been the headliners for Spain and it's evident how much they rely on these two to make things happen. None clearer than in the Germany match where Spain looked quite feeble once the pair of them had been taken out.

Both teams have their strengths and weaknesses but it's been Spain who have been better able to mask those weaknesses while at the same time accentuating their strengths. One might argue France have a better side but they haven't shown that in this tournament.


Spain have had trouble being clinical despite putting three past Croatia and four past Georgia, if they can be a tad more clinical, then they have a pretty good shot of getting past France and being the first finalist of Euro 2024.