France v Spain semifinal: Huge records at stake in Euro 2024 showdown

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Best attack vs best defence. History says every time Spain and France faced off in a Euro knockout, the winner went on to win the cup. Is it going to happen again? Here are the odds and the records at stake before the 21.00 kick-off in Munich.

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Euro 2024 offers another epic showdown on Tuesday as Spain and France clash in Munich at 21.00 for a place in the final.

The march towards Berlin puts the greatest defence of Euro 2024 against the best attack. Spain netted 11 goals, more than anyone else, while France conceded only one goal in five games.

The Spaniards should be the favourites, as they come to Munich after beating every single team they find on their way.

They finished top in a death group with Italy and Croatia and then beat Germany 2-1 in a last-gasps quarter-final, marred however by penalty controversy against the hosts.

France has not been that convincing. They failed to net a single open-play goal in the whole tournament, winning the round of 16 against Belgium thanks to an own-goal, and then resorting to a dramatic penalty shootout to get rid of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

Historically decisive tie in Euro tournaments. Who has the best record?

France-Spain face-offs always proved decisive in the history of the Euros.

Every time the two teams clashed in a knockout, the winner went on to lift the trophy.

It happened in 1984 (France), 2000 (France) and 2012 (Spain) already.

Overall, France has a better record in major tournaments including the World Cup, with three victories against Spain’s one, and a draw.

Experts, bookies and algorithms (cautiously) put Spain ahead

Spain has a slight edge over France. With a five-game winning streak, the most goals scored and only two conceded, nothing seems able to stop de La Fuente’s team. France’s scoring woes and lacklustre displays also point that way.

But Spain’s occasional troubles in converting possession into goals could turn problematic – particularly against an experienced and defensively solid team like France, who can also count on the speed of Ousmane Dembélé, Kylian Mbappé and Eduardo Camaving to open up spaces on the break.

Most odds reflect this, as Spain remains the favourite but not by an overwhelming margin.

Likewise, Google’s prediction puts Spain ahead with a 36% chance to win over France’s 31%, with a 33% possibility of a draw in the 90 minutes.

The Opta algorithm forecasts even more uncertainty. Spain has a 49.7% chance of reaching the final against France’s 50.21%, in the head-to-head.

Another factor that points to uncertainty is that Spain will be playing without Pedri, who is injured, and Carvajal, who got suspended.

Fofana rebuts criticism, Cucurella warns about France’s speed

Marc Cucurella has been one of Spain’s best players at Euro 2024, running a staggering 44 kilometres up and down the wing with a top speed of over 33km/h.

Nonetheless, the Chelsea left-back said containing France’s top sprinters will be no easy task.

“They have very fast players up front. They want to exploit that, and I think the game will be about being very focused for 90 minutes or however long the game lasts.”

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“I think if we are attentive in that. If we get the ball back quickly when we lose it, then I think we have a good chance”, he said on Sunday.

In the French camp, Youssouf Fofana replied about criticism faced by the team saying: “I don’t care”.

He also called on all French media to get behind Les Bleus. “In the end, we are semifinalists after that the level of Kylian [Mbappe] and Antoine [Griezmann] has been sufficient for us to get to the semi-finals.”

“I don’t know why we would go looking for that little bit extra now that we are in the final four, and now we have to all go together, including the media especially the French media, in the right direction to lift this trophy, and to not say that one guy is underperforming or that the style of play is not nice because in the end it’s sufficient.”

Records at stake: Fourth Euro title and longest winning streak

A victory would put Spain inches from their fourth European title, to become the single most successful team in Euro history. They currently share the record with Germany, with three cups each.

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If Spain beat France, they would also become the first team to win six consecutive games in a single Euro tournament.

For their part, France, by knocking out the Spaniards, could set sight on their third European title, to become the joint most-successful nation with Spain and Germany.

Read the full article here

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