Football News

Spain route to Euro 2024 final: Knockout stage run for record-winners

By Squawka News

Spain route to Euro 2024 final: Potential knock-out stage opponents in tough run

Published: 22:30, 9 July 2024

Spain are once again in the final of the European Championship, so we’re looking back at their route to the Euro 2024 final in Berlin.

La Roja — who are level with Germany on European Championship wins at three — were perfect in the group stage, finishing top in Group B with wins over Croatia, Italy and Albania all without conceding.

They then beat Georgia, Germany and France in the knockout stages, maintaining their strong recent record at the European Championship. They’ve now reached the final in three of the last five editions of the tournament, including winning the trophy in 2008 and 2012.

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Spain’s route as Group B winners

Last 16: Spain arguably had the sweetest draw in the last 16, facing Group F’s third-placed side Georgia, whom they beat 4-1.

Quarter-finals: Spain advanced as many expected and hosts Germany gave them a scare before running out 2-1 winners after extra time.


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Semi-finals: The route got even tougher for Spain, with France awaiting in the semi-final. But Spain came from behind to beat France 2-1, to reach a fifth European Championship final.

Final: Based on bookmakers’ favourites, England are the most likely opponent in the final. But the Three Lions haven’t hit their best form, so the Netherlands have just as much chance, setting up a repeat of the 2010 World Cup final.

Spain’s Group B results

3-0 vs Croatia – Spain kicked off their Euro 2024 campaign in style with a 3-0 thrashing of Croatia, thanks to goals from Alvaro Morata, Fabian Ruiz and Dani Carvajal. Lamine Yamal, aged just 16, became the youngest-ever player to play and assist in the European Championships, while fellow youngster Pedri — a senior citizen by comparison at 21 — also provided an assist and registered 100% returns for pass completion and dribble success.

1-0 vs Italy – This was arguably the most eye-catching clash in the entire group stage and Spain dominated.  They did need an own-goal from Italy centre-back Riccardo Calafiori to win but had a grand total of nine shots on target against the defending champions.

1-0 vs Albania – Spain were already guaranteed top spot when they faced Albania in their final game, so rotated slightly. Nevertheless, they managed to secure a 1-0 victory through Ferran Torres’ first-half goal. It made Spain just the second team to win all three of their group-stage games at a European Championship without conceding a goal, after Italy did so en route to winning the competition at Euro 2020.

Spain’s reasons for optimism

Spain have now lost just two of their past 28 games at the European Championship. They’ve won all six of their matches at Euro 2024, with their past two fixtures only serving to back claims that they’re champions in waiting.

On top of their bright history at the European Championships, Spain have also reached the last two UEFA Nations League finals, winning the most recent one.

There’s immense quality right across the pitch and arguably the most technical ability of any side at the tournament, so you can be sure Spain will be able to pass you to death if they get in front. There’s also an exciting young generation emerging, led by Barcelona wonderkid Lamine Yamal.

Spain’s potential roadblocks

Spain have arguably performed the best of all teams at Euro 2024 so far, but their failure to put chances away might cause some worries. Missing key chances has been a problem for Spain for some time, particularly when Alvaro Morata leads the line. No team has missed more big chances than Spain at Euro 2024 so far (16), but at least they’re creating them.

Luis de la Fuente tactical insights

There were some doubts when Luis de la Fuente took charge but he has worked with the U19, U21 and U23 sides, so he may be the perfect man to lead their younger squad. It’s been no surprise that Spain have gone with a 4-3-3 formation, with that set-up now ingrained in the nation’s DNA.

Unlike the 2022 World Cup, Rodri is back playing in his favoured position as the No.6, pulling the strings while flanked by Pedri and Fabian Ruiz. Alvaro Morata continues to lead the line for Spain, but he has capable support on the wings in Yamal and Nico Williams.

Marc Cucurella has also enjoyed a good tournament so far at left-back, looking to have found a run of form at just the right time for Spain. They are performances that have also seen Bundesliga winner Alex Grimaldo forced to settle for a substitute role.

For their semi-final against France, Spain were without Dani Carvajal and Robin Le Normand through suspension. But they will be back for the final and should come straight back in. Dani Olmo has thrived since replacing the injured Pedri.

For their semi-final against France, Spain will be without both Dani Carvajal and Robin Le Normand through suspension, so veterans Jesus Navas and Nacho should come in, while the impressive Dani Olmo should replace the injured Pedri — Olmo has scored in both of Spain’s knockout matches so far.

Fan and media perspectives

After reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2020, there was huge disappointment in Spain’s failure to make it past the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. However, two consecutive Nations League finals are more than enough to prove their pedigree.

Spain will always carry a degree of expectation at major tournaments, especially with so many exciting young players coming through, so anything less than matching their 2020 effort would not have been met kindly. But given how impressive they’ve been in Germany, you’d now suspect failure to bring home the trophy would be viewed through a harsh lens.

How Spain qualified for Euro 2024

Spain didn’t have it all their own way during qualifying, losing 2-0 to Scotland early on, but they still topped Group A with 21 points from a possible 24.

European Championship Qualification – Group A
Position Team Played Won Drawn Lost GF GA Points
1 Spain 8 7 0 1 25 5 21
2 Scotland 8 5 2 1 17 8 17
3 Norway 8 3 2 3 14 12 11
4 Georgia 8 2 2 4 12 18 8
5 Cyprus 8 0 0 8 3 28 0