EURO 2024 PREVIEW

AUTHOR: Lewis Williams

EURO 2024 PREVIEW Tue: Spain v France

The first semi-final of Euro 2024 sees current tournament favourites Spain in action who recently hijacked England’s throne at the top of the outright market after a dim showing by Southgate’s squad against Switzerland, writes LEWIS WILLIAMS.

Spain do deserve the “favourites” tag, and in a tournament where many of the last 8 have limped across the finish line on route to that stage, Spain were one of the only sides left in it who swept everyone away with substantial force and confidence before their win over Germany.

Luis de la Fuente’s men sent a message of intent by smashing Croatia in their opening group game 3-0 at a fair price of 10/11 and haven’t looked back since. A freakish own goal by Robin Le Normand early against Georgia was put right soon enough with four different players contributing to a 4-1 win, and that comeback preceded an extra time win over hosts Germany with a perfectly timed header by Mikel Merino.

Spain v France
UEFA EURO 2024 Semi-Final
20.00 BBC One / BBC iPlayer

LAST FIVE STATS

HEAD-TO-HEAD
OCT 2021 NATIONS LEAGUE Spain 1-2 France
MAR 2017 FRIENDLY France 0-2 Spain
SEP 2014 France 1-0 Spain
MAR 2013 WORLD CUP QUALFIIER France 0-1 Spain
OCT 2012 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER Spain 1-1 France

SPAIN
JUL 2024 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP Spain (AET) 2-1 Germany
JUN 2024 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP Spain 4-1 Georgia
JUN 2024 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP Albania 0-1 Spain
JUN 2024 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP Spain 1-0 Italy
JUN 2024 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP Spain 3-0 Croatia

FRANCE
JUL 2024 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP Portugal 0-1 (p) France
JUL 2024 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP France 1-0 Belgium
JUN 2024 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP France 1-1 Poland
JUN 2024 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP Netherlands 0-0 France
JUN 2024 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP Austria 0-1 France

It’s been a huge team effort from Spain over the last three weeks. Five Spanish players are contained within the list of those with 4 or more shots on target, yet only Mbappe and Griezmann are present in that list for France, with a long gap to Marcus Thuram on just two. 

16 year-old Lamine Yamal has had a fantastically impactful tournament delivering on his club promise and despite not netting one for himself, he has the most assists out of anyone on 3, and the 4th-most players passed in the tournament on 26 – the same amount as Kylian Mbappe. It’s a matter of time before those two are compared against each other more often.

Spain are certainly not invincible though and Germany certainly had their fair share of chances to lead their quarter final matchup with a shot hitting the post joining many other opportunities. In particular, they capitalised on a Spanish weakness in defending long balls and crosses from set pieces which I expect to be a main point of attack for France on Tuesday.

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The French have been surprisingly underwhelming at this year’s Euros and most recently had to rely on the coin toss of a penalty shootout to get past Portugal who were arguably the better team and had much the best chances throughout the match. 

Just like Deschamps has Joao Felix to thank for missing his pivotal penalty, he also has Jan Vertonghen to thank for knocking in a fortunate own goal from a poor shot in their round-of-16 fixture against Belgium. 

Those matches followed an indifferent group stage where they had chances but a multitude of easy misses from Griezmann and a lack of finishing ability in general played a part in them finishing 2nd in Group D and giving Poland their only point of the campaign. 

Spain have 11 goals – 10 of which are from regular play and one own goal. France on the other hand are a long way adrift on another planet with merely three goals but not a single one in open play but instead through own goals and penalty kicks. I think Spain will carve an attacking chasm between the two sides on Tuesday night and book themselves a ticket to the final. Spain to win in regular time are ? with starsports.bet

Despite what I call “legitimate” French goals sitting on zero, Mbappe hasn’t played bad football and he’s recorded 20 shots with 8 being on target. His Spanish counterpart Alvaro Morata has half that amount on 4 but both of them to have over 1.5 on Tuesday is ? – boosted from 17/2 with starsports.bet which doesn’t look bad considering they’re both penalty takers.


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PROFIT/LOSS (EURO 2024): -32.53 POINTS


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