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EURO 2024: “Baby on board”: Spain’s teen Yamal is “pure gold”

EURO 2024: “Baby on board”: Spain’s teen Yamal is “pure gold”
EURO 2024: “Baby on board”: Spain’s teen Yamal is “pure gold”

Spain takes Croatia by surprise and sends a clear message to the competition at the European Championships. The performance of the Furia Roja is a break with the recent past. A young star breaks a record.

On Sunday, Lamine Yamal was able to return to the normal duties of a 16-year-old. In the team’s headquarters in Donaueschingen, the Spanish football teenager is studying for school during the European Championships and sending homework to his teachers.

“I have online classes and it’s going well. I hope the teacher doesn’t fail me,” the tenth-grader, who is doing his intermediate school leaving certificate, told the “AS” portal.

The young star passed his final exam on the pitch with flying colors on Saturday. He didn’t score a goal himself in the unexpectedly clear 3-0 opening victory against dark horse Croatia. But with his precise assist to Dani Carvajal and impressive dribbling, Yamal still managed to get a good average grade in his interim report. “The future is now,” the student posted on Instagram with a picture of him and Pedri, giving Spanish fans hope for more.

“Yamal impresses everyone”

At 16 years and 338 days, the youngster crowned himself the youngest footballer in European Championship history. “It’s a dream to play in the European Championship at the age of 16,” said Yamal in disbelief. Only his braces reminded him of his young age. “Baby on board,” wrote “Marca” about the winger and described his assist as “pure gold.”

Spain is celebrating its record-breaking teenager who relegated Luka Modrić to the role of supporting player. Yamal wasn’t even born when Croatia’s legend made his debut for his homeland in 2006.

“We don’t need to talk so much about one player,” said national coach Luis de la Fuente, trying to at least somewhat dampen the euphoria surrounding his protégé. Ultimately, however, the 62-year-old could not ignore the Yamal hype. “Yamal impresses everyone,” praised de la Fuente.

At the age of seven, Yamal came from his hometown club CF La Torreta to FC Barcelona’s La Masia training facility. There he progressed through the age groups faster than any other player of his generation, as the Spanish runner-up writes on its website. At the age of 15 he made his debut in the Spanish first division and last year the youngster became the youngest debutant and goalscorer in the Spanish national team at the age of 16 years and 57 days in the 7:1 win against Georgia. His role models? Of course, Lionel Messi. And he has learned a lot from Neymar. “In time he will become a wonderful footballer,” announced de la Fuente promisingly.

Favorite against Italy

Spain’s performance on Saturday evening in Berlin also deserved the description “wonderful”. With classy play and merciless effectiveness, the Furia Roja underlined their title ambitions. “But we have to keep our feet on the ground,” demanded the coach before the next game in the tough Group B. “In five days we have another very important game against Italy. Our goal is still a long way off.” Italy only just managed to win 2:1 against outsiders Albania in their opening match.

Spain’s big goal is to win the European Championship for the fourth time. And while many experts were still puzzling over the prospects of success in this mission before the tournament, many doubters have now fallen silent. “I don’t know if we are the favorites,” said the man of the match, Fabián Ruiz, sheepishly. The striking midfielder from Paris Saint-Germain had increased the lead to 2-0 after Álvaro Morata’s opening goal. With seven goals, Morata is now the third best goalscorer in European Championship history – together with the Englishman Alan Shearer and the Frenchman Antoine Griezmann.

Tiki-Taka was yesterday

It was Spain’s new style of football that drove Croatia to despair. Away from tiki-taka football and towards a result-oriented game. The fact that the Croatians even had more possession of the ball and also played more passes was overlooked. At no time did the World Cup third-place team from the Adriatic appear superior. Spain has learned to modify its game. And that is precisely the danger for the competition. “Our strength lies in this diversity,” said de la Fuente, describing the team’s strength.

The already high expectations in the country have risen even further after the opening match. Yamal would certainly like to celebrate his 17th birthday in Germany – one day before the final on July 14th.

Source: Stern

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