Euro 2024: Spain beat Germany in overtime thriller to book semis

by IANS |

Euro 2024: Spain beat Germany in overtime thriller to book semis Berlin, July 6 (IANS) Mikel Merino's 119th minute winner sent tournament host Germany packing and booked Spain a semifinal ticket at the Euro 2024 in Stuttgart's MHP-Arena on Friday. The two sides drew 1-1 in regular time and the match was dragged into overtime where Olmo's pinpoint cross to the near post allowed Merino to nod home the decisive goal, reported Xinhua. Both sides needed some time to gain a foothold into the clash, as many fouls disrupted the flow of the game. Spain assumed control as the match progressed and created chances through long-range efforts. However, Nico Williams and Fabian Ruiz lacked in accuracy while Lamine Yamal pulled a free-kick just wide. Germany remained on the back foot but Aymeric Laporte as well as Dani Olmo couldn't overcome goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from the distance. Kai Havertz produced Germany's first clear-cut opportunity in the closing stage of the first half after forcing Spain custodian Simon Unai into action. Spain started brightly into the second half as Alvaro Morata missed the target with a turn shot from inside the box, before Olmo eventually broke the deadlock in the 51st minute when the Leipzig player finished off Yamal's low pass with one-timer from 14 meters into the bottom left corner. Julian Nagelsmann's boys tried to respond quickly but either the final pass was missing, or Spain's defense cleared the ball in the last nick of time. The Germans increased the pressure as Simon had defuse Robert Andrich's shot on target before Niclas Fullkrug smacked the woodwork. Havertz should have leveled the scores but chipped the ball over the empty target from 22 meters. Spain couldn't get out of their territory and was punished later on as Joshua Kimmich headed from tight angle into the path of Florian Wirtz, who slotted home the equalizer with great assistance of the inside the left post to force La Roja into the overtime. "Congratulations to Spain for reaching the semifinals. We were better in the second half and from the 60th minute onwards, we were clearly the better team. Our late leveller was well-deserved. We conceded the winner with the last chance. It is a painful one," said Germany coach Nagelsmann. --IANS hs/

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