Semi-Finalists Emerge In UEFA Germany Euro 2024 Soccer Playoffs

  • Steve Ogah
  • Sports
  • July 6, 2024

“The games were like brittle slices of biscuits, and it was tough to tell where exactly they would crack. But when they did crack, they still gave excitement.”

Yesterday’s results in quarter-final matches produced semi-finalists for the UEFA Germany 2024 European soccer tournament. Two games were played yesterday and another two will take place later today. Spain confronted Germany in the first clash of the day and triumphed 2-1 after the game stretched into extra time play. The other mouthwatering feast was between Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal and Kylian Mbappe’s France. The French prevailed 5-3 on penalty kicks. Both pulsating games were as engaging and intense as they were dramatic and spectacular.

Spain went into yesterday’s game in Stuttgart, Germany, on the back of a resounding group stage journey, scoring five goals and conceding none. An unbeaten run ensured they topped Group B. The German team rode on the crest of an intimidating home advantage as hosts of the competition. Both teams have soccer traditions that are tough to ignore, sharing a joint record for the highest tournament trophy wins. Specifically, there are six trophies between them.
The first half ended goalless after both teams threw all attacking options at each other. The second half resumed and the Spaniards drew first blood through a Dani Olmo strike in the 51st minute of play on the back of a Lamine Yamal assist.

Spain presented its armada of gifted players, headlined by the 16-year-old Lamine Yamal, a player of talent and promise. Nico Williams, Alvaro Morata, and Ferran Torres were also crucial players in the Spanish attack squadron. But they didn’t relish a rollercoaster on the pitch. They met their equals in the Germans who paraded outstanding talents in Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Kai Havertz, Emre Can, and more. The Germans leveled the score with a minute left in the 90 through a Florian Wirtz strike inside the 18yrd box. Play went into extra time afterward.

Spain sustained a tidal wave of relentless attacks and their persistence paid off in the 119th minute when Mikel Merino leaped to Golan Heights-like prominence and nodded past Manuel Neuer in the German goal. That dramatic and cleverly executed airstrike sealed the fate of the host country despite Spain’s Dani Carvarjal bagging a red card late into the game.

Soccer fans were served another superlative feast in the other match between Portugal and France in Hamburg. Both are tournament past winners, with France having two trophies while Portugal boasts of one. History and class were on display as Cristiano Ronaldo fetched from his bag of experience and masterstrokes, trying to wreak havoc on a cleverly organized French defense that conceded just one goal in the group stage. Joao Felix, and Francisco Conceicao were the other arrowheads in the Portuguese attack. Reuben Dias, Bruno Fernandes, and other players in the Portuguese team also proved a handful for the French. But the French also displayed assault power.

Kylian Mbappe had the opponent’s defensive areas to harass and show his dramatized skills the world is familiar with. But he met defensive firewalls in Pepe, Joao Cancelo, Nelson Semedo, and other Portuguese defenders.

Other players with match-deciding tricks in the French attack were Antoine Griezmann and Lucas Hernandez. France also had class and talents in William Saliba, Jules Kounde, Ousmane Dembele, Dayot Upamecano, and N’golo Kante. Overall, the French team was cleverly assembled and coached. The French counted on the immense tactical input of Coach Didier Deschamps, a World Cup winner both as a player and coach in 1998 and 2018, respectively. The game ended goalless after 120 minutes of open play and went into penalty kicks afterward.
All five French players converted their penalty kicks. A Joao Felix miss on the Portuguese side gave the day to France.

In sum, yesterday’s matches were clashes of the titans of world soccer. With world-class players on both sides of the pitch and almost an equal measure of tacticians on the coaching sides, soccer fans and analysts relished a night of exquisite quality in play and coaching instructions.

The games were like brittle slices of biscuits, and it was tough to tell where exactly they would crack. But when they did crack, they still gave excitement to soccer fans around the world. The games stayed true to soccer’s cultural bias as a pleasurable game of color, class, and chances.
England will play Switzerland in today’s first match while Netherlands takes on Turkey in the day’s second game.