European Football Championship: Not only Olmo is excited: Spain’s heroes from the bench

European Football Championship: Not only Olmo is excited: Spain’s heroes from the bench
European Football Championship: Not only Olmo is excited: Spain’s heroes from the bench

Dani Olmo is the difference maker against Germany, Mikel Merino is the match winner with his goal. Two jokers who really shine. With a view to the European Championship semi-finals, this is good news for Spain.

Dani Olmo dedicated his dramatic entry into the semi-finals of the European Football Championship to his injured teammate Pedri. The victory was for him, said the RB Leipzig professional after Spain’s happy ending in the long-range thriller against hosts Germany.

A gesture that is more common in sport, but which nevertheless says a lot about the Furia Roja team, which has long since exceeded initial expectations at this tournament and is now keen to win its fourth European Championship title after 1964, 2008 and 2012.

With “heart and soul” against all odds

He was “very proud to be able to lead such footballers,” said Spain’s national coach Luis de la Fuente. The 2:1 win after extra time against the German selection in the quarter-finals in Stuttgart was not only the Iberians’ fifth win in five tournament matches. It also showed how united this team is. How much will and passion they have. How much resilience. How much “heart and soul,” to put it in de la Fuente’s words. The Spaniards were lucky on Friday – as in the much-discussed hand scene with Marc Cucurella or some of the missed chances by the Germans. But they also impressively demonstrated how they can deal with setbacks.

Pedri’s substitution in the 8th minute after a foul by Toni Kroos was the first shock, the interim equaliser by Florian Wirtz (89th) was the second. But the Spaniards did not let themselves be defeated. Olmo slipped into the playmaker role and scored to make it 1-0 (51st), while Mikel Merino (119th), who was also substituted later, scored the winner. Spain’s heroes from the bench. They too are giving the three-time European champions courage for the semi-final clash against World Cup runners-up France next Tuesday (9 p.m.) in Munich.

Olmo puts his stamp on the game

Full-back Daniel Carvajal, after his second yellow card, and center-back Robin Le Normand, after his second yellow card of the tournament, will definitely be missing against the French. So la Fuente will definitely need fresh forces from the second row. It remains to be seen whether Pedri, who according to the association suffered a sprain in his left knee, will be fit in time.

It’s all the better for the Spanish that they still have someone like Olmo in their attacking creative center. The 26-year-old is a household name for all Bundesliga fans. In Leipzig, he was set back several times last season by injuries. At the European Championships, he has only been allowed to start in the preliminary round match against Albania (1-0). But with his technique, his dynamism and his drive to the goal, he has everything he needs to make the difference in a game. Like against Germany. The Man of the Match followed up his own goal with the assist for Merino to make it 2-1. A Leipzig player and a former Dortmund player – they became a nightmare for the German team, but the Spanish are now letting them dream of the cup.

Euphoria at home is growing

“Pure heart,” wrote the newspaper “AS” after the quarter-final thriller. “An unforgettable Spain,” said the “Marca.” The Furia Roja has sparked more euphoria at home with each victory. Now, just two steps away from the silverware, the whole country feels even closer together – just like the players on the pitch.

When the body can’t take it anymore, the heart has to fight in games like this, the Spaniards explained after the nerve-wracking battle in Stuttgart. “Nothing is easy in football or in life,” said coach de la Fuente. “This great group is a great example of that.” They are fighting together for their big goal. Their heroes also come off the bench sometimes. And perhaps that will be Spain’s big trump card for the title.

Source: Stern

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