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European Football Championship: Germany’s conqueror challenges the European Championship minimalists

European Football Championship: Germany’s conqueror challenges the European Championship minimalists
European Football Championship: Germany’s conqueror challenges the European Championship minimalists

The names promise a football feast: here the young stars Yamal and Nico Williams. There Mbappé or Dembélé. But in contrast to the Spanish offense, France has a goal problem.

Spain’s football magicians with guaranteed goals do not want to be stopped on their way to the European Championship title by France’s minimalists, including the new Real star Kylian Mbappé. “We have a very good momentum, we are in good form, we are playing very well, we have to keep going like this,” said Spain’s Bundesliga legionnaire Dani Olmo. The Leipzig player impressed with his goal and assist in the 2-1 win in extra time against Germany and played a major role in the team’s progress. Now he predicts: “It will be a great European Championship semi-final.”

Do you have respect for the French team’s concentrated offensive power, at least in name terms, with players like Mbappé, Ousmane Dembélé, Marcus Thuram, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud? Yes. Are you afraid of the match this Tuesday (9 p.m./ZDF and Magenta TV) in Munich? No. The Équipe Tricolore’s performances at this European Championship have not yet been terrifying.

“The gate is their problem”

Three goals in five games, two of which were own goals scored by the opponent, such as in the round of 16 against Belgium. There was also a penalty from Mbappé – his first ever goal at the European Championships – in the 1:1 draw in the last group game against already eliminated Poland. “The goal is their problem,” wrote the French sports paper “L’Équipe” on Monday.

“I am a coach who thinks defensively,” defends coach Didier Deschamps, who has already won the World Cup as a player and coach, but has yet to win a European Championship as a coach. In any case, criticism of the sometimes staid, pragmatic style of football bounces off the 55-year-old.

The 2018 World Cup triumph was not particularly good either, two years after losing the European Championship final at home. This time, the team is still hoping to win the title, and their opponents in the final would be England or the Netherlands – France drew 0-0 against the Dutch in the group stage.

“Since the beginning of the tournament, we have played solidly and defended successfully together. Our calculation is that we have a 90 percent chance of winning the game if we keep a clean sheet,” William Saliba recently explained.

The Spanish wizards against France’s Pluspunkt

He is one of those who have been able to impress so far. He also plays in defence, which will now be challenged above all against the young Spanish stars Lamine Yamal (16) and Nico Wiliams (21). Both have already shown what some had hoped for from the French, including world champions Mbappé and Griezmann, but have not yet received: they enchanted their fans.

However, coach Luis de la Fuente will have to do without Pedri, who is also only 21 years old, for whom the tournament is already over after a fateful kick from Toni Kroos in the quarter-finals. But this should only bring the Spanish national team even closer together, of which defender Marc Cucurella says: “Only a few people gave us a chance and the fact that we stayed under the radar helped us to start the tournament with confidence.”

With eleven goals and some impressive performances, the Spaniards have further strengthened their self-confidence and sense of unity since their arrival in Germany. “I would die for them, as they would for me,” said the otherwise rather reserved de la Fuente. There is also great euphoria at home about winning the European Championship title in 2024, after 1964, 2008 and 2012.

Deschamps has been surrounded by doubts in France since the start of the tournament. The defense around Bayern’s Dayot Upamecano was actually considered a potential sore spot. But the lack of efficiency up front has been a pain since the first game (1-0 thanks to an own goal against Austria), in which Mbappé also broke his nose.

France in goal attempt statistics behind Spain and Germany

At least in terms of goal attempts, France is among the top four of the tournament before the semi-finals. UEFA statistics show 104 attempts for Spain, while Germany had 94. France is in third place with Portugal with 89 attempts. “We don’t score goals, but we create a lot of chances,” stressed former Bundesliga professional Randal Kolo Muani. There is speculation that he will form the front row for the French team along with Dembélé and Mbappé, and that Griezmann, who has always played in Spain, will have to sit on the bench after his poor performances at the European Championships so far.

Source: Stern

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