Toni Kroos’ Last Dance Ends in Deadlock as Mikel Merino’s Late Heroics Propel Spain to Dramatic Euro 2024 Semi-final Victory Over Hosts Germany

0
204

In a nail-biting UEFA Euro 2024 quarter-final clash, Spain edged out hosts Germany 2-1, thanks to a dramatic last-minute header from Mikel Merino.

thrilling encounter, La Roja move a step closer to claiming their fourth European Championship title.

From the outset, the match lived up to its high expectations. Spain, known for their quick starts, almost stunned the German crowd within the first minute when Pedri’s low shot from the edge of the box was smartly saved by Manuel Neuer.

Spain Euro 2024

Spain’s offensive trio of Nico Williams, Lamine Yamal, and Fabián Ruiz peppered the German goal with long-range efforts, all of which missed their mark.

Germany, under the guidance of Julian Nagelsmann, also had their moments earlier on. Kai Havertz, spearheading the attack, tested Unai Simón with a close-range header, only to see his effort comfortably gathered by the Spanish keeper.

Havertz continued to be a thorn in Spain’s side, displaying his technical prowess by controlling a long pass expertly, though his subsequent shot lacked the power to trouble Simón.

As the first half progressed, Spain began to assert their dominance. Dani Olmo and Yamal forced Neuer into a series of impressive saves, ensuring the teams went into the break deadlocked at 0-0.

The second half began with renewed vigor from Luis de la Fuente’s men. Álvaro Morata, presented with a golden opportunity from close range, failed to find the target, sending his shot high over the bar.

Spain Euro 2024

However, Spain’s persistence paid off shortly after. In the 52nd minute, Yamal showcased his dribbling skills, beating his marker and delivering a precise pass to Olmo, who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner, giving Spain a deserved lead.

Germany, spurred into action by the deficit, dominated the latter stages of regular time. Havertz nearly capitalized on a loose ball from Simón’s goal kick, but his attempted lob went over the bar.

Just when it seemed Spain would hold on, Germany’s Florian Wirtz delivered a stunning equalizer in the dying seconds of regulation, firing into the far corner from a Joshua Kimmich knockdown.

The match headed into extra time, with both teams wary of the high stakes – a semi-final berth against either Portugal or France. Spain’s Mikel Oyarzabal narrowly missed with a fierce shot, while Wirtz clipped an effort just wide at the other end.

Drama ensued after the interval when Germany appealed for a handball penalty against Marc Cucurella, but their protests were dismissed. Niclas Füllkrug almost put Germany ahead with a deft header, only to be denied by a superb fingertip save from Simón.

Just as penalties seemed inevitable, Spain seized their moment. In the 119th minute, Olmo delivered an inviting cross into the box, where Merino rose highest to nod the ball past Neuer, sending the Spanish fans into raptures.

Germany, now facing an uphill battle, had one final chance through Füllkrug, but his header went wide. In the closing seconds, Dani Carvajal saw red for a second yellow card, adding a further twist to the tale.

However, Spain held firm to secure their place in the last four, leaving Germany to become the first host nation to exit at the quarter-final stage of a European Championship.

As Spain celebrate their fourth semi-final appearance in five tournaments, they will now prepare for a titanic clash in the next round, keeping their dream of a record fourth Euro title alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here