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Spain 2-1 Send Past Germany Out of Euro 2024 as Merino Delivers Late Winner

by: EdwardB


The second summer fairy tale of Germany has come to an end, while Spain’s continues. After a thrilling Spain 2-1 Germany encounter, Stuttgart was stunned in the dying embers of extra time. With 65 seconds remaining, penalties loomed, and players were dropping like flies, barely able to walk, when Dani Olmo clipped in a glorious ball. Merino appears deep within the penalty area. A movement of the head, a rotation of the neck, and the selección head to the semi-final, close to achieving victory over a tournament host for the first time in ten tries.

However, their journey wasn’t over yet. They still had to endure a moment of anxiety – how could it be otherwise after such a tense evening on the edge? This occurred when Niclas Füllkrug scored past a post one minute into extra time. Another nerve-wracking moment occurred four minutes after the 120-minute mark, when, with the very last kick of the game and Toni Kroos’s entire career, they faced one final delivery into their box. Manuel Neuer and Unai Simón both went for it, with Unai Simón ultimately clutching the ball and securing Spain’s place in the next round.

The evening was exhausting and demanding, with 41 attempts on goal and 16 instances of players receiving yellow cards throughout the match. The game even had a dramatic moment when Dani Carvajal, as desperate as everyone else, fouled Jamal Musiala and received a red card at the end. It could have gone to either team, but Spain ultimately won as they withstood both the modern and traditional Germany.

A Battle of Equals

This quarter-final clash was billed as a meeting of equals, two of the tournament’s best sides looking in the mirror. Luis de la Fuente and Julian Nagelsmann both emphasized the similarities between their teams: good in possession and transition, employing a high press and the counter-press. What Nagelsmann anticipated was a game “as fascinating as everyone imagines,” while it turned out to be quite a challenging match as well.

From the opening whistle, the intensity was palpable. Emre Can, Marc Cucurella, and Pedri all went down within the first three minutes, setting the tone for a physical encounter. The first of those fouls led to Spain’s first chance: Can’s cynical challenge allowed Spain to advance, with Fabián Ruiz, Nico Williams, and Álvaro Morata setting up a shooting position for Pedri. Kroos fouled Pedri, resulting in an early exit for the Spain midfielder, who left the field in tears after the German player sent him flying.

Toni Kroos was lucky not to receive a yellow card in the situation. A few minutes later, he accidentally stepped on Lamine Yamal, showing the intensity that Nagelsmann had mentioned, although the coach had made it clear that his team did not intend to harm Lamine Yamal. De la Fuente was seen talking to the fourth official on the sideline. Meanwhile, on the field, the players were swiftly engaging with each other, with Antonio Rüdiger positioned next to Olmo as he made his way through.

Spain 2-1 Germany Toni Kroos

Key Moments Decide the Fate

The match consisted of a sequence of intense moments, with gaps appearing only occasionally and opportunities arising hastily. Kroos was unable to maintain control and lost possession. Amidst the confusion, Rodri remained composed, with Ruiz also making an appearance. Williams was unstoppable, although he had not yet made a decisive impact. Spain were eager to take shots, at times too eager. Germany created a couple of opportunities for Kai Havertz: a header that Simón saved, followed by a misdirected shot from the edge of the box.

Spain came close to scoring when Lamine Yamal passed to Morata, who turned and shot over the goal. They managed to score when the 16-year-old player got involved again. Once more, the opposition felt the pressure, as David Raum was hesitant to get too close. As a result, Lamine Yamal slowed down and set up Olmo, who remained calm and composed. Olmo’s timing on the run from a deeper position was as precise as Lamine Yamal’s pass, allowing him to sneak past Neuer and score.

Füllkrug entered the field, acknowledging the fans with hand gestures. The volume of the crowd increased as the team’s playing style changed. Florian Wirtz skillfully maneuvered the ball past the goalpost. Spain found themselves under pressure, indicating the resistance implied by De la Fuente’s substitutions. Füllkrug became the focal point, exerting his own significant influence. He assisted Robert Andrich in taking a shot, which Simón saved brilliantly. He assisted Havertz with another opportunity that was blocked by Carvajal with a dive, and then he failed to score with a header. When Wirtz broke free and delivered a cross, he directed a shot towards the post.

Simón then provided Havertz with a chance, and he lofted the ball over the goalkeeper but missed the target. Nevertheless, Germany continued to attack. This is characteristic of Germany. Kroos found a brief moment of calm, Mittelstädt delivered an excellent cross, and Kimmich’s header teed up Wirtz with a minute left then struck the ball off the post to equalize and force extra time.

Spain 2-1 Germany: Florian Wirtz

Extra Time: A Final Push

Germany dominated the match. The field appeared to be large, and covering it would require a significant amount of work. Mikel Oyarzabal missed narrowly, and Thomas Müller created an opportunity for Wirtz, but his shot veered past the goal post. Cucurella blocked Musiala’s effort with his hand, Füllkrug and Oyarzabal both missed wide, and Simón made a superb save on Füllkrug’s diving header. Finally, Merino made history with his decisive moment.

Aftermath: Spain Marches On

Spain celebrates their victory and advances to the semi-finals, their dream of Euro 2024 glory still alive. Germany’s tournament ends in heartbreak, their second summer fairytale coming to a close.

The match will be remembered for its intensity, drama, and quality of play. Both teams gave everything they had, but in the end, it was Spain who emerged victorious, thanks to Merino’s late heroics.

Now, Spain looks ahead to the semi-finals, where they will face another tough challenge. But after this victory, they will be full of confidence and belief that they can go all the way.

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