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Spain and France Voyage Into Euro 2024 Semis with History at Stake

Spain and France, two football juggernauts, will clash in the Euro 2024 semi-final in Munich this Wednesday. The match holds significant historical implications for both nations as they vie to extend their illustrious records in European Championship history. Spain is eyeing a potential record-breaking fourth Euros title, while France is ambitious to match Spain and Germany with a third championship. As relative late bloomers in international football, France and Spain have become powerful entities in recent decades, particularly after France’s 1998 World Cup victory. Since that milestone, only four of the last 13 World Cup or Euro finals have been held without either the Spanish or French squads making an appearance. Spain’s trophy cabinet boasts two Euros titles alongside one World Cup, whereas France has achieved notable success with two World Cup victories and a Euro 2000 championship.

The forthcoming match offers a multitude of intriguing subplots that could potentially determine the path to the grand final in Berlin on July 14. France’s usually robust attacking formation will confront a Spanish defense that has recently been under strain due to suspensions.

### France’s Muted Attack Faces Spain’s Depleted Defense

France, known for their offensive prowess, especially from their performance in the 2022 World Cup where they netted 16 goals, has found it challenging to score directly from open play in Euro 2024. France’s star forward, Kylian Mbappe, has been restricted to just a single penalty goal, as he continues to recover from a nose injury sustained in the initial game against Austria. The remaining two goals for France have originated from opponents’ own goals. Head coach Didier Deschamps has been optimistic about Mbappe’s performance, commending his determination to contribute to the team, despite not being in peak physical condition. In the Euro 2016, Antoine Griezmann was a key figure in France’s offense with six goals, doubling the contribution of any other player. However, he has yet to find his rhythm in Germany, much to the chagrin of French supporters.

Despite these concerns, France may see more opportunities against a weakened Spanish defense, missing crucial players Dani Carvajal and Robin le Normand due to suspension. Except for one match against Albania, this duo has started every game, with Spain only conceding a single goal when they were in the lineup.

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. As a solution, veteran Jesus Navas, aged 38, is expected to step up and counter the pace of Mbappe.

### Pragmatism Versus Positivity

This semi-final will also be a tactical battle between two distinct coaching philosophies. Didier Deschamps, one of the few managers to have won the World Cup as both player and manager, has led France to three finals in the last four major tournaments. Despite an arsenal of attacking talent, Deschamps favors a strategy focused on defensive solidity and structured discipline. Consequently, despite scoring only three goals in the tournament, France has yet to trail in any match at Euro 2024.

In contrast, Luis de la Fuente’s Spain is known for its expansive and dynamic playing style. De la Fuente emphasizes ball possession and offensive versatility, even at the risk of occasional defensive errors. This has been evident in their 3-0 rout of Croatia, where eight different players contributed to the scoring throughout the tournament.

### Midfield Showdown: Kante Versus Rodri

Midfield dominance will be another key area to watch, particularly the duel between Spain’s Rodri and France’s N’Golo Kante. Rodri has often been the unsung hero for Spain, providing the composure and control needed to drive the offense forward. His role has been crucial, even scoring pivotal goals such as the equalizer in the round of 16 against Georgia.

Comparatively, Kante’s relentless energy and defensive expertise have been indispensable for France. His ability to disrupt enemy offenses has been a cornerstone of the French team’s strategy. Despite a two-year hiatus from international play, Kante has swiftly reasserted his importance, earning man-of-the-match titles in his first two games at Euro 2024.

As both teams carry their ambitions and storied histories into Wednesday’s match, the outcome will not only determine who progresses to the final but also who edges closer to cementing their legacy in European football lore. This battle in Munich is set to be a significant chapter in the chronicles of the Euros, promising a thrilling encounter for football aficionados around the world.