Euros 2024

France vs Spain Preview: Flair or Pragmatism?

Continental powerhouses Spain and France will lock horns in the Euro 2024 semi-finals on Tuesday. Maintaining a perfect record thus far, La Roja secured their place in Munich by knocking out the hosts in the previous round. Meanwhile, Les Bleus progressed to the final four after a nervy penalty shootout victory over Portugal. Can the two-time European champions derail Spain’s quest for the fourth? Here’s our France vs Spain preview.

France vs Spain Preview: How the Teams Look Ahead of the Tie


Pitting arguably the competition’s two finest sides together, the opening quarter-final of Euro 2024 was a highly anticipated affair, and it didn’t disappoint. Spain snatched victory in extra time, securing a 2-1 win in Stuttgart.

With Pedri forced off injured, his replacement Dani Olmo stepped up to give Spain the lead. Germany clawed their way back through Florian Wirtz, setting the stage for a tense finale. However, as the clock ticked down towards penalties, Mikel Merino emerged as the unlikely hero, powering a header home to send Spain into the semis in dramatic fashion.

Spain are currently in scintillating form under Luis de la Fuente, boasting a perfect record of five wins from five. No team in European Championship history has ever achieved a 100% win rate in the finals, nor have they managed a run of six consecutive victories.

The former U21 manager, succeeding Luis Enrique, has overseen a shift in Spain’s possession strategy. Notably, they’ve surrendered possession in two matches this summer (48% vs Germany, 47% vs Croatia) – a significant change compared to their historical dominance in major tournaments (2006-2022 World Cups), where they boasted a near-unmatched control over the ball.

De la Fuente’s switch to a more varied approach, utilising swift passing and exploiting the flanks, has paid dividends. Since the beginning of 2023, La Roja boast the best win ratio in Europe, triumphing in 15 of their 19 games under his leadership.

Their recent triumph in the UEFA Nations League boosted confidence in De la Fuente’s approach, and they’re now enjoying their best run of form since their golden summer of 2010.

Spain have a good record in European Championship semi-finals, reaching the final four on four out of five occasions. However, they were edged out on penalties by eventual champions Italy at this stage three years ago. Now, they’ll battle it out for a place in Sunday’s final against either England or the Netherlands.

Victory would see Spain reach their fifth European final, the first since their dominant reign culminated in glory at Euro 2012.


France set their sights on a fourth European Championship final appearance, but only the second held outside their home soil. Didier Deschamps, who captained the side to victory in 1998 and now manages them, tasted defeat in the most recent one – 2016 in Paris against Portugal. The double World Cup winner is determined to rewrite that script this time around.

Since their World Cup final heartbreak, France’s previously free-flowing team have shown signs of a wobble. Their path to the semi-finals has been far less convincing compared to Spain, who waltzed past Croatia, Italy, Albania and Georgia before dismantling the tournament favourites.

After surrendering top spot in Group D to Austria, France looked sluggish in their narrow win over Belgium before scraping past Portugal in the quarters.

France’s goalkeeper Mike Maignan emerged as their hero in Hamburg, pulling off a couple of vital saves to drag the tie into extra time and ultimately penalties. The shootout saw Theo Hernandez smash home the winning spot-kick.

Concerns over captain Kylian Mbappé’s form and fitness resurfaced, as the Real Madrid star limped off before the penalty drama unfolded. Yet, Les Bleus dug deep and found a way to win, just as they have throughout the tournament. With a masked Mbappé struggling for his usual scoring touch, France have only managed four goals in their five Euro 2024 matches so far – three scored and just one conceded – and remarkably, all via penalties or own goals.

Despite holding the unwanted record of most non-penalty shots without scoring in a European final (over 50!), France’s pragmatism shouldn’t be underestimated. They may lack the flair of Spain, whom they edged 2-1 in the 2021 Nations League final, but few would doubt their ability to win again.

France vs Spain Preview – Team News


France come into the semi-final with a clean disciplinary sheet, unlike their opponents. However, Kylian Mbappé’s nose injury continues to be a worry for Didier Deschamps.

The former PSG star has only managed one goal from a staggering 20 shots at Euro 2024, and his overall scoring record in the European Championships remains underwhelming at just 3%.

In stark contrast, ‘Magic’ Mike Maignan has been a wall in goal, boasting a phenomenal save ratio of 94% – the best of any goalkeeper who’s played more than once in Germany. He’ll keep his place behind an unchanged defence. Adrien Rabiot returns from suspension, but it’s unclear if he can displace Eduardo Camavinga, who impressed in his absence against Portugal.


Spain will be forced into changes for Tuesday’s semi-final despite a largely consistent starting lineup throughout the tournament (excluding some rotations in their final Group B match).

Influential right-back Dani Carvajal and defender Robin Le Normand are both suspended, while a tearful Pedri limped off early in the quarter-final with a medial collateral ligament knee sprain, ruling him out of the rest of Euro 2024.

Experienced options Nacho and Jesus Navas are likely to fill the gaps in La Roja’s back four, while Dani Olmo’s impressive showing as a substitute against Germany could see him replace Pedri in midfield.

Up front, captain Alvaro Morata will continue to be flanked by Nico Williams. Look out for 16-year-old Lamine Yamal too – despite his young age, he’s already created 14 chances for his teammates at these finals, the most by a Spanish player at any major tournament since Xavi’s 25 at Euro 2012.

France vs Spain Prediction

With history beckoning, Spain will be desperate to break their duck against France in major tournaments. Their sixth meeting at this level presents a tantalising opportunity, especially considering La Roja’s current form. While France’s resolute defence may initially frustrate their attacking flair, Spain’s relentless approach should eventually see them carve a path to the final.

We expect Spain to beat France by 1-0 after extra time.