UEFA Euro 2024: Spain to meet France in the 1st semi-final having seen Spain eliminate the hosts Germany while France escaped Portgual’s endless attempts via penalties

by Sports Benches

What a day it has been this morning through the first of the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship Quarter-Finals that went through the very end across Germany where the hosts were beaten by Spain 2-1 in Stuggart even though they’ve kept the game going for a bit longer while France defeated Portugal via penalties in Hamburg when no score was settled for both sides through 90 mins of normal time and 30 mins of extra time. Now that the first semi-final match is set to go on Wednesday morning between Spain v France, all eyes on 2021 runner-up England if they can get the job done tomorrow morning v Switzerland with a hint of a formation change by going with a back three defensive strategy before we will find out soon enough whether or not if Turkey’s fairy tale run will continue going into the semis at the same time v the Netherlands,

Heartbreak from the hosts who did the best they can to keep the match going having responded well to Spain’s 2nd half lead with a few attempts to try and get the job done towards goal. Yes, great to see Bayer Lekekusen forward Florian Wirtz who gave his country a lifeline off a clean strike through the middle – having his side held back Spain’s early celebration a bit longer ahead of extra time. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t the match they wanted to finish off when the keeper should’ve saved that header which turned out to be Spain’s 2nd goal as it could’ve gone onto penalties to try & boot Spain out of the tournament. Then another series of hit and misses in the last few minutes despite being given three minutes more than the added 2nd extra time period have clearly summed up their disappointment from the last eight on home soil as the next time Germany will seek their next European crown will be 2028 in the UK/Ireland – 32 years from their one & only title back in 1996.

Meanwhile, Spain did so well to put themselves ahead straight after half-time through a brilliant straight line strike off Dani Olmo when the first half didn’t go their way when it comes to the possession. They had a few scares at times every time the Germans tried to get the job done like that poor goal kick before Wirtz at least levelled the scoreboard that led to another 30 minutes of play at extra time. But they’re glad to wrap up the game with a huge sigh of relief thanks to a brilliant header by Mikel Merino when the opposition keeper hesitated to save the ball before it led to the Spaniards regaining the lead for their 2nd goal just in time for his side’s own keeper to stop Germany from slipping away towards the very final full-time whistle at the 126th minute. Now they will be in the semis yet again in the hope of advancing into the Final since 2012 when they did well last time out v Italy in Ukraine & if Spain can go all the way, then this could be their record 4th title in the Euros history.

Looking at the other Quarter-Final match, France were relieved to get away with Portgual’s endless shooting attempts with some excellent saves alongside the solid defensive work they’ve put in that didn’t make it into goal all night long whereas Portugal would be very frustrated on what has been a painful end to the tournament following a scoreless first 120 mins that could’ve been their night like scoring 2-3 goals to wrap up early instead of walking away empty handed. Yes, France might not have found the opportunities they desired up front off the back of a strong Portugal ball. But they did however win this game via penalties when a mis-timed Joao Felix penalty shootout attempt went their way through the woodwork before Theo Hernandez scored the 5th and final winning penalty goal that sent France into the semis now v Spain. It looks like France has made Portugal pay when they broke their hearts back in the 2016 Final on home soil 1-0 at Stade De France as Portugal’s poor hit and misses ultimately gave them the exit boot while France is chasing their 3rd Euros crown in 25 years now since 2000.

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