Sparkling Spain reaches Euro 2024 final the hard way

Sparkling Spain reaches Euro 2024 final the hard way

/ 08:09 PM July 10, 2024

Spain Euro 2024

Spain’s players celebrate at the end of the UEFA Euro 2024 semi-final football match between Spain and France at the Munich Football Arena in Munich on July 9, 2024. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

Spain’s jubilant celebrations in reaching the Euro 2024 final were understandable after taking the hardest road to get there and handling the hairpin bends with panache.

Luis de la Fuente’s side having emerged from what was dubbed the “group of death,” beat tournament sensations Georgia, hosts Germany and pre-Euros favorites France to make it to Berlin.

La Roja are aiming for a record fourth European title on Sunday at the Olympiastadion and successfully navigating their dangerous run gives them the belief they will triumph, regardless who of England or the Netherlands they face.

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READ: Spain rallies to thrash Georgia, reach Euro 2024 quarterfinal

“I feel proud of these players and of the path we’ve gone on to reach the final,” De la Fuente told reporters Tuesday after the team edged France 2-1 in an entertaining semi-final clash.

“There’s no achievement without effort and suffering in life is normal because everything is tough.

“These are young players but they suffer to work and force themselves to improve more and more each day — I am happy to be here coaching them.”

Spain progressed from the group without conceding a goal, defeating Croatia 3-0, defending champions Italy 1-0 and rounded it off with virtually a reserve side edging Albania 1-0.

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In the knockout rounds, De la Fuente’s team have not flinched and overcome every hurdle.

READ: Spain advances to knockout round at Euro 2024, beating Italy

Debutants Georgia, backed by fervent travelling support, took the lead but Spain hit back to record a convincing 4-1 victory which the coach said “could have been 9-1”.

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Overcoming hosts Germany in extra-time, after conceding an 89th-minute equalizer, proved Spain possessed grit to go with their style.

They came from behind to beat France with two goals in a five-minute salvo which left their coach salivating.

“We can play great football, as you saw today and through the tournament,” said De la Fuente.

“We are a very versatile team, the players we have make that possible.”

‘Not surprising me’

Exciting wingers Lamine Yamal, 16, and Nico Williams hypnotized their opponents, the former becoming the youngest goalscorer in Euros history against France with a brilliant long-range curler.

While they have drawn the most plaudits, helping Spain shine and stand out as an exciting side playing flowing football compared to a lot of risk-averse, duller big teams, across the line-up they have enjoyed strong performances.

Both Paris Saint-Germain’s Fabian Ruiz and Chelsea’s Marc Cucurella have struggled to shine at club level but have excelled in Germany.

Defender Aymeric Laporte, despite now playing in Saudi Arabia at club level, has been rock solid at the back and was one of the best players against France, the country he was born in.

Spain has had few concerns during the tournament, no crises to manage, beyond their difficult fixture list as they ended up in the harder side of the draw. Playing the strongest teams may even have helped them.

“(Germany and France) are great teams and got the best out of us,” said De la Fuente.

“England and Netherlands are two more great teams. We know that even if it is difficult, we are capable of winning.”

Despite their sparkling displays and convincing run of victories, the coach said his team can still reach new heights.

“I know these players and I take decisions knowing each of them, not on a whim,” added De la Fuente.

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“They are not surprising me, and I know they can give a lot more still and they can improve.”

TAGS: Euro 2024, Spain

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