Euro 2024 day 26: First semi-final sees Spain come up against France

Only four teams remain as we head into the final week of Euro 2024, with Spain taking on France in the first semi-final on Tuesday for a place in Sunday’s final.

England will come up against the Netherlands on Wednesday and are looking to reach their second-successive European Championship final after they got to a third semi-final in major tournaments under Gareth Southgate with a penalty shoot-out victory over Switzerland on Saturday.

Here, we look at what is coming up at Euro 2024.

Deschamps not bothered about ‘boring’ France

France will appear in the semi-finals of the competition but have yet to score a goal from open play during the tournament so far having scored a penalty through Kylian Mbappe and two own goals in the fixtures against Austria and Belgium.

Despite the sheer amount of quality in the French team, many fans have come away feeling rather underwhelmed with their performances as they have scraped through, most recently with a penalty shoot-out victory over Portugal.

France boss Didier Deschamps does not care if his side are not entertaining enough for the viewing public, as long as they are getting the results to keep their Euro dream alive.

He said: “If you’re getting bored, you know what? Watch another game, that’s fine. You don’t have to watch, it’s fine. It’s a European Championship, it’s very difficult for everyone.

“Up until now, it has not been the same as in the past, but we do have the capability to share emotions, to make lots of French men and women happy though the results that we’ve been pulling out of the bag, especially in a period that has been quite difficult for our country.”

Do Spain have another golden generation?

Spain are looking to win their first major tournament in 12 years since their Euro 2012 triumph, which was their third trophy from three tournaments at the time and the era now dubbed the ‘golden generation’.

The likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Fernando Torres and many other greats helped Spain to three in a row but it has not been so easy since and the Spanish side have been through somewhat of a rebuild over recent years.

After impressive performances from a new-look Spain – which have seen them earn big wins over Italy, Croatia, Georgia and Germany – some fans have compared this team to the one that won three major tournaments on the bounce, with the talent of Lamine Yamal, Nico Williams and Rodri at their disposal.

Manchester City midfielder Rodri insisted this team must build their own legacy and said it was too early to be compared to the ‘golden generation’.

He said: “I always said this about the golden generation, today they are (the golden generation) but when they first started, they weren’t.

“They had to build their own legacy so we have to be aware of the kind of team we have and how hard we are working and what we need to do in order to achieve our objective.

“We have a super difficult match tomorrow against one of the best national teams in the last few years who will complicate things for us.”

Foden enjoying familiar role

England are looking to make it to back-to-back Euro finals with a victory over the Netherlands on Wednesday but it has not been plain and simple for Southgate’s side to get to this point.

An extra-time win against Slovakia forced the England boss to change the system for their penalty shoot-out victory against Switzerland.

Southgate switched from the 4-2-3-1 system to 3-4-2-1 to accommodate both Jude Bellingham and Foden in familiar roles which have seen them star throughout the domestic season.

Foden thought his new number 10 role in the England side on Saturday suited him, saying: “I enjoyed it a lot.

“I felt like it suited me a bit more, being more central. It’s the best we’ve probably played in this tournament as well. We want to keep improving and take that into the semi now.

“Me and Jude had to stay a bit patient in the pockets and hopefully the lads can find us in between the lines.”

Netherlands back in the big time

The Netherlands will be looking to reach their first major tournament final since the 2010 World Cup, where they were eventually beaten 1-0 by Spain.

They are finally climbing back to the top with players like Cody Gakpo, Virgil van Dijk and Xavi Simons at their disposal and will be hoping to get their hands on the European Championship for a second time.

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What’s next?

Tuesday – Spain v France, 8pm, BBC

Wednesday – England v Netherlands, 8pm, ITV


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