Spain 2-1 France: Player Ratings and Match Highlights

Spain 2-1 France: Player Ratings and Match Highlights

 

EPL_France Spain Player Rating

Spain advanced to the EURO 2024 final after a 2-1 win over France at the Allianz Arena – and it was a moment of historical magic from Barcelona youngster Lamine Yamal that got the ball rolling for La Roja as he became the youngster goalscorer in tournament history.

The game started in manic fashion with chances for both teams. Fabian Ruiz was picked out wonderfully by Yamal, but his free header ballooned over the bar, and he was to pay for his mistake. The Paris Saint-Germain star saw his club teammates from last season in Kylian Mbappe and Randal Kolo Muani combine; the winger crossing to put the ball on a sixpence, which the talisman nodded home with glee to give France the lead after just eight minutes.

Spain needed a moment of magic to get them back into the game, and after some nervy moments in which Jesus Navas was walking a yellow card tightrope alongside a few Mbappe runs in behind, it was Yamal who created the spark with a strike that will be talked about for years to become. Dropping his left shoulder, the teenager became the youngest ever goalscorer at the Euros as his long-range strike beat Mike Maignan all ends up off the post – and the jubilance wasn’t done for Spain.

Just five minutes later, some patient build-up saw Dani Olmo take the ball down before two outstanding touches allowed him to waltz past Aurelien Tchouameni, setting himself to strike the ball beyond Maignan and Jules Kounde to turn the game on its head.

A frantic start was followed by a quiet period; only an Mbappe shot and a darting Nico Williams run promised to offer any threat from either side, before the second half saw Spain give up possession to offer solidity against a France attack that was becoming slightly desperate to equalise. Substitutions were made by Didier Deschamps in a bid to change the landscape of the game, and Bradley Barcola looked the most lively – but nothing quite fell for Les Bleus.

Spain Player Ratings

Lamine Yamal in action for Spain

Unai Simon – 6/10

The Athletic Bilbao stopper was left helpless for the opener, and with Mbappe being given the freedom of the left-hand side, there were always doubts that he would come under siege. He’s a very much underrated goalkeeper due to his commitment to Bilbao and today’s performance is no slight to his talents.

Jesus Navas – 6/10

Coming up against Mbappe isn’t an easy task – never mind when you are 38 years of age and hardly boasting a glut of minutes under your belt. France’s opener came from him not closing Mbappe down tightly enough for the cross, and when he was booked for wiping Adrien Rabiot out on the edge of the area, you feared the worst. But he grew into the game and was only taken off with injury after getting to grips.

Aymeric Laporte – 7/10

It’s not every day you see a national team player up against the country of his birth at an international tournament – and there was some added spice to this game with France boss Deschamps failing to pick Laporte for Les Bleus, despite being more than good enough after his time at Manchester City. Laporte did very well overall, linking well with the deeper midfield duo of Rodri and Fabian to build attacks – his only blemish was the goal.

Nacho Fernandez – 6/10

Not Spain’s natural choice thanks to Robin Le Normand being the main man, but the Real Madrid veteran did well given the circumstances. It’s likely that Le Normand will retain his place going into the final but Fernandez did an adequate job when his country needed him.

Marc Cucurella – 7/10

Booed – loudly – every time he touched the ball for his involvement in the non-penalty against hosts Germany on Friday evening, Cucurella did well under the pressure he underwent. The Chelsea man looked a lot more comfortable and on his game than he has in the Premier League, holding his own against Ousmane Dembele, and deserves plaudits.

Rodri – 7/10

If you can count on somebody to be consistent on the big stage, Rodri is the man. We’ve seen that time and time again for Manchester City, and the midfielder kept the play ticking – even when Spain were behind – offering composure, time and calmness which gave them the platform to win.

Fabian Ruiz – 7/10

Should have scored in the opening five minutes with a back post header, and came close just after the half-hour mark when his deflected shot agonisingly looped past the post with Maignan stranded. The Paris Saint-Germain star was imperious in the middle of the park with his composure and passing range, but could have regretted not giving Spain breathing space.

Dani Olmo – 8/10

He’s a player vastly unspoken about given that he has spent the majority of his career in Germany and Croatia – but the piece of skill Olmo produced for Spain’s second almost rivalled Yamal’s opener. Taking the ball down on his left, two superb touches wrong-footed Tchouameni and he blasted the ball beyond Maignan to put Spain ahead in the blink of an eye. City have been linked and it’s easy to see why.

Lamine Yamal – 9/10

Rooney in 2004, Mbappe in 2018, Yamal in 2024. Some tournaments define teenage wonderkids and set them up for the rest of their careers – and this young man has certainly announced himself to the world, if he hadn’t already.

A bright start saw him as Spain’s go to outlet, and even after going behind, he kept his head up – before unleashing arguably the strike of the tournament. Cutting in on his left, the 16-year-old wrapped a shot from all of 27 yards and in off the left-hand post to level the game out of nowhere. He’s a superb talent and will certainly be one to watch for what could be two decades.

Alvaro Morata – 6/10

For all of the threat that Spain’s young wingers brought, the former Chelsea man wasn’t quite at the races today. He did make runs to create the space for them to shine, but as clinical as he has been throughout the tournament, there was a slight lack of involvement for the talisman.

Nico Williams – 7/10

The speedy talent has been touted with a move to Chelsea this summer, and his performance here could make him the perfect left-winger candidate at Stamford Bridge.

Another Bilbao star, Williams is so direct and quick with the dribbling to match – one of the few old-school wingers to grace the major leagues as we move to an era of inverted technicians. His end product was ever so slightly lacking but he’s without doubt a great entertainer who will only improve.

SUB – Dani Vivian – 6/10

Came on for the injured Navas on the hour and played really well, especially given the pace of the French forward line. The Bilbao boys have taken over a huge stronghold for Spain this tournament and he was no different.

SUB – Mikel Merino – 4/10

Came on for fresh legs late on and took the sting out of the game.

SUB – Mikel Oyarzabal – 6/10

Introduced alongside his Real Sociedad teammate to offer fresh legs on the counter attack for Morata.

SUB – Martin Zubimendi – 3/10

Brought on with two minutes to go to complete the Sociedad substitute hat-trick.

SUB – Ferran Torres – 3/10

Introduced in the dying embers to waste time.

France Player Ratings

Kylian Mbappe in action for France

Mike Maignan – 6/10

Nothing he could do about either Spain goal in the first half. No goalkeeper is saving Yamal’s effort, and Olmo’s quick feet to beat the French defence left him stranded. There weren’t many facets of his game that he could’ve done better.

Jules Kounde – 6/10

Desperately tried to prevent Olmo’s strike from going in, but the shot was too strong to keep out. He did well against Williams, to his credit, and the Barcelona man wasn’t at fault for any of France’s performance.

Dayot Upamecano – 6/10

XIt wasn’t a game in which either centre-half was at fault. The Bayern man was nowhere near Yamal’s strike and was left lacking for Olmo’s trickery. Almost scored with a header but it wasn’t enough.

William Saliba – 6/10

The Arsenal man will have to wait for his first major trophy, but like his defensive partner, there wasn’t anything that he could’ve done.

Theo Hernandez – 5/10

Not his finest game. The AC Milan star is usually dangerous on the left-flank with his pace, physicality and end product being a huge asset but despite Jesus Navas’ yellow card, he couldn’t quite take advantage. He’ll come away from this feeling that he could’ve done a lot more, and his shot late on should have been a lot better.

Adrien Rabiot – 5/10

You can’t really do much about the actual strike from Yamal, but Rabiot could have closed him down quicker. It’s likely nitpicking, but it really is fine margins in major tournaments and you have to do everything you can to stop giving the opposition an advantage. He was also overran by the Spain midfield and didn’t have much influence.

N’Golo Kante – 6/10

Started the game really well, but the diminutive ball-winner faded once Spain took control of the game. La Roja have one of the most technical midfielders in the world and even Kante couldn’t win the ball back from them.

Aurelien Tchouameni – 5/10

He was beaten with ease for Olmo’s goal that put Spain in the lead and like his midfield partners, couldn’t quite get near their counterparts. Came close with a header in the second half, but generally could not find his groove. This was a game that was decided in midfield.

Ousmane Dembele – 4/10

Really poor from the PSG man tonight. He rarely beat Cucurella on the right-flank and on the odd occasion that he did, his crosses were drilled low and easily cleared by Spain’s defence. He sometimes lacks being able to get into the game and today was certainly one of those days.

Randal Kolo Muani – 6/10

Outstanding movement for the opening goal but he didn’t do much after that. He’s a player that came to the fore in the World Cup and being able to find his way into the starting XI once again means that he is clearly liked by Deschamps.

Kylian Mbappe – 6/10

It’s been a disappointing tournament for the Real Madrid-bound star. His cross for Kolo Muani’s goal was top class but there was little in the tank after that, barring a couple of shots that were easily saved by Simon. His injury earlier in the tournament likely has not helped and it’s another failed shot at international silverware since the 2018 World Cup win.

SUB – Eduardo Camavinga – 5/10

Replaced Rabiot who wasn’t at his best and whilst he did better than his teammate, there wasn’t an awful lot that he produced.

SUB – Antoine Griezmann – 4/10

Critics will ask why he didn’t start but despite a late header, the Atletico star couldn’t produce where it mattered.

SUB – Bradley Barcola – 5/10

The brightest of the France substitutes. He was tricky and brought pace to the game when needed but the chances and creation was slightly lacking.

SUB – Olivier Giroud – 3/10

When it doubt, consult the big man – but only when you utilise him, which France failed to do at all. A wasted substitute when Marcus Thuram was on the bench who offered pace, at least.

Man Of The Match

Lamine Yamal

Why Lamine Yamal Has Two Flags on His Boots For Spain

The 16-year-old is a joy to watch. Already announcing himself to the world stage at school leaving age, he’s shone this tournament and after biding his time, the youngster finally got his goal reward with one of the best goals of the summer.

He’s the next world superstar after Mbappe, Ronaldo, Messi and Haaland – and keen eyes will be watching Barcelona with baited breath next season hoping for him to produce the same as he has done all summer for his country.

Spain have lost the likes of Pedro, David Silva, Juan Mata and more in their wide ranks in recent seasons but a new superstar has undoubtedly emerged.

 

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