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Spain into Euro 2024 final as Yamal makes history vs. France

Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Spain will play for a record fourth European Championship after beating France 2-1 in the semifinals Tuesday.

France led after just nine minutes, but two quick-trigger goals - including a spectacular hit by 16-year-old Lamine Yamal - upended the match in Munich. Yamal became the youngest player to score in Euro history with a curling strike in the 21st minute, and Dani Olmo popped up yet again to clinch the victory.

Spain will face either the Netherlands or England in the final Sunday in Berlin, its first appearance in the showpiece event since it won the tournament in 2012.

"Win, win, win, and win. That was my goal, to have my birthday in Germany," said Yamal, who turns 17 on Saturday, the day before the final.

Widely considered the best team at Euro 2024, La Roja hit the canvas first after Les Bleus' early sucker punch.

Coming in to replace the suspended Dani Carvajal at right-back, Jesus Navas looked every bit his 38 years against Kylian Mbappe, who seemed much freer without the mask that's hindered his vision since he broke his nose in France's opening match. Mbappe made his mark early, taking on Navas before teeing up Randal Kolo Muani for the lead and his first assist of the tournament.

The goal deflated Spain, but Yamal produced a moment of magic in the 21st minute to bring his team back to life. The prodigious talent took a few seconds to assess his options in midfield before beating French 'keeper Mike Maignan with a gorgeous left-footed strike from around 30 yards. At 16 years and 362 days, Yamal is now the youngest player to score at either the Euros or the World Cup, surpassing Brazilian icon Pele, who was 17 when he set the major tournament record at the 1958 World Cup.

Alex Pantling - UEFA / UEFA / Getty

Olmo buried France just as it tried to regain its composure. A pair of delicate touches took him away from nearest marker Aurelien Tchouameni, and his shot forced defender Jules Kounde to kick the ball into his own net. UEFA gave Olmo credit as it was goal-bound.

With it, Olmo, a substitute at the start of the tournament, became the first Spanish player to score in three consecutive Euro matches. He bagged the fourth goal in Spain's 4-1 win over Georgia in the round of 16 and the opener in La Roja's 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Germany.

With less possession than its opponents, France struggled to create in the second half, and Theo Hernandez and Mbappe blazed over the crossbar with two late chances. Spain was happy to pass the ball around and tick minutes off the clock until the final whistle.

"It's a very good team, we knew that, they proved it tonight even if we were able to open the scoring," France coach Didier Deschamps said. "They created difficulties for us as they controlled the game better than us, even if we kept going until the end."

Deschamps will now face questions over his conservative tactics in Germany, especially after telling his critics to "watch something else" if they found France "boring." Kolo Muani's goal against Spain was the only one Deschamps' team managed from open play all tournament.

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