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Spain knocks down France’s wall in five minutes and advances to the Euro Cup final

Spain passed. A historic L’Équipe sent France home and left Mbappé free time to prepare for his presentation with Real Madrid on July 16 at the Bernabéu.

France has experienced a strange Euro Cup, as strange as the World Cup in Qatar. Always concerned with non-sporting issues such as Benzema’s injury, the accusations of racism by the former Real Madrid striker against his teammates or, in Germany, more concerned with contradicting their compatriots and tipping the election to the left than with playing well and exploiting the best player in the world who, by the way, leaves the Euros with only one goal scored.

Image from the match between Spain and France at the European Championship in Germany – PHOTO/AFP/ODD ANDERSEN

And then Spain came to overcome the French wall, which in the eighth minute had already scored the first goal thanks to Mbappé’s cross and Muani’s shot inside the area on the only ball that Laporte beat and that Unai Simón could do nothing about. Spain was stunned. It was difficult to know how Luis de la Fuente’s Spain would recover from that goal against an unstable team that was not easy to score against.

Image of Lamine Yamal during the match between Spain and France at the European Championship in Germany – PHOTO/AFP/MIGUEL MEDINA

But De la Fuente must be recognized for many things. The applause for Rubiales and his departure the following day will always be there, but also the fact that he knows every player he has taken to the Euros to the letter. That nobody gave a euro for Laporte after his departure to Saudi Arabia and that only a handful of data, records and sensations could take him to the tournament, rest against Croatia and in the rest of the games lead the defence like a veteran of European football. Like Unai Simón, unsure with his feet, but a calm man between the sticks who is lucky that some French arrivals do not turn into goals.

Spain and France at the European Championship in Germany – PHOTO/AFP/MIGUEL MEDINA

We know little about Morata. De la Fuente is already protecting him out of pride and for everything he brings to the field other than goals. Always tormented and more worried about his future than Spain’s present, La Roja’s number 9 was run over by a member of security after the match, which hurt his knee. It was all the result of an inopportune misstep when trying to stop an individual who came onto the field for his minute of glory. Like so many others, UEFA will have to look at him in the face of the next tournament and, especially, in the face of the final.

Image from the match between Spain and France at the European Championship in Germany – Photo/Reuters/Angelika Warmuth

Yamal’s goal came in the 21st minute and Olmo’s in the 25th. That’s how slow Spanish football was to turn around an impossible match. Lamine Yamal’s goal was from another planet. With six French players behind the ball and Maignan in position, the Barça player finished with his left foot in such a way that the curled shot went over the goalkeeper’s glove, hit the post and entered the net for 1-1. The blow was hard for France. It was noticeable on their faces and on a deranged Deschamps who, as the match progressed, was running out of ideas and could only complain about inconsequential fouls.

Image of Dani Olmo and Lamine Yamal during the match between Spain and France at the European Championship in Germany – PHOTO/AFP/ODD ANDERSEN

But the 2-1 was decisive for France’s will. A move on the edge of the area, a ball into the box and Dani Olmo who made a dream dribble past Tchoauméni to finish with a right-footed shot that Koundé put into his own goal. Calling the game over in the 25th minute may be a bold move, but Spain wanted it that way. The perfect midfield machine has two engines: Rodri and Fabián have all their pieces in place and ate up the muscle of Rabiot, Kanté and Tchouaméni and that is what Mbappé and Deschamps accepted after the match in a gesture that honours them.

Image of French fans – Photo/Reuters/GONZALO FUENTES

Navas was Navas. That full-back, who at 37 years old can play 60 minutes in a Euro semi-final, get injured and leave his place to Nacho so that Vivian, with just three international caps under his belt, can play in the centre of defence. The Sevillian is one of those veterans that De la Fuente likes, like Carvajal, who was in the stands with Pedri and Le Normand, or Nacho. Types with experience useful for the youngsters, but without worrying the dressing room too much. The departure of Ramos and the end of his time in Spain, where he extended his hand to the point of bending Luis Enrique’s will to play three minutes in a match and continue adding games with Spain without any more merit than to feed his own ego, can be understood in this way.

Spain and France at the European Championship in Germany – PHOTO/AFP/MIGUEL MEDINA

France had a few chances, but they did not trouble the Spanish players, who took their time with each ball. They trampled the ball until the French were exhausted and gave the ball to Unai Simón as many times as necessary. Until the final whistle, Spain was the same Spain that beat Croatia. A group of players and an idea of ​​football that changes little whatever the scenario. The last stop is Berlin. The grand final of the Euro Cup in a historic stadium where this Spain of ours will unite, even if only for a while, the will of all Spaniards.