16th July 2024
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Lamine Yamal, aged 16, makes history at Euro 2024: ‘I only ask to win, win, win.’

ALSO READ: Spain beat England 2-1 to win Euro 2024 – and Carlos Alcaraz wins Wimbledon.

Lamine Yamal – at the age of 16 years, 11 months and 26 days old – became the Euro Championship’s youngest ever goalscorer as Spain came back to beat France 2-1 in Munich on Tuesday night, to reach the final.

‘I only ask to win, win and win,’ said the Barcelona winger Yamal, who was voted player of the match. ‘I will celebrate my [17th] birthday in Germany with my team.’

‘I don’t know if it is the best goal of the tournament, but it is the most special goal for me because it is my first goal with the team at a European Championship,’ he said.

The previous youngest scorer at a European Championship was Swiss player Johan Vonlanthen (18 years, 141 days), against France at Euro 2004.

‘We are very happy to reach the final. Now comes the most important part — winning the title,’ Yamal said. ‘We were in a difficult stretch after not expecting to concede so early. I just took the ball and wanted to put it right there.’

‘I don’t try to think about it too much, just enjoy myself and help the team, and if it goes my way, then I am happy (for the goal) and for the win,’ he said.

Yamal came to Euro 2024 with a bunch of ‘youngest’ records, and has inevitably set more. He became the youngest player to feature at a men’s Euro when he started in Spain’s opening 3-0 win over Croatia.

The Barcelona teenager was already the youngest player to debut and score in the Spanish league at 15, the youngest player to start in the Champions League and the youngest to score for Spain.

‘We saw a touch of genius by a great player who we all know and have to nurture forward,’ Spain coach Luis de la Fuente said. ‘And I can only advise him to keep going forward with the same humility and work ethic and with his feet firmly on the ground.’

‘He will keep improving with the same attitude, professionality and maturity that he shows during games, despite being so young, which makes him look older and more experienced than he really is. But above all he should enjoy playing for us. Hopefully we can enjoy him for many years,’ said the Spanish coach.

Early life of Lamine Yamal

Lamine Yamal Nasraoui Ebana was born on 13 July 2007 in Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona) to waitress Sheila Ebana and building painter Mounir Nasroui. His mother was born in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, and his father was born in Larache, Morocco. His grandmother, Fatima, first moved to Spain from Morrocco in 1988, making Lamine of Equatoguinean and Moroccan descent.

Lamine’s parents separated when he was three, although remained close through his childhood. He moved with his mother to Granollers from Mataró, where his father stayed, and started playing football at the local club La Torreta at the age of four. He would frequent between both towns to spend time with both his parents.

At six years of age, Lamine was scouted by FC Barcelona and was invited to training sessions at their Youth Academy, where he would sign for the club in 2014. He recently extended his contract with Barça until 2026, and reportedly there is a buyout clause of €1 billion.

Match report – Spain 2 France 1

Trailing after Randal Kolo Muani headed in a Kylian Mbappe cross in the ninth minute, Spain turned the match around in a four-minute period, scoring twice against a side who had only conceded once in five previous games in this tournament.

Yamal, who turns 17 a day before Sunday’s final against either the Netherlands or England in Berlin, equalised with a superb strike from outside the box, curling a long-range effort into the top corner and past the fingertips of an airborne Mike Maignan.

Spain took the lead on 25 minutes, Dani Olmo expertly gathering a loose ball and firing a low shot into the net with the aid of a deflection off Jules Kounde.

Masters of midfield game management, Spain shut up shop after taking the lead, frequently holding possession rather than attack on the counter, controlling the match and claiming the win.

Three-time champions Spain became the first team to win six games at a Euros and are one game away from a record-breaking fourth crown.

Finalists in three of the past four major tournaments, questions will be asked of how France failed to click up front despite boasting enviable attacking riches.

France had only scored three goals heading into the match, none of which were scored by a French player from open play and coach Didier Deschamps reacted, benching forward Antoine Griezmann for Ousmane Dembele.

Yamal created the first chance of the match four minutes in, lofting a curling cross to an unmarked Fabian Ruiz, who headed over from point-blank range.

Four minutes later, Mbappe skated down the left flank and sent in a carbon copy of Yamal’s cross, but Kolo Muani’s header was on target to give France the lead.

While the pre-match doubts focused on Spain veterans Jesus Navas, 38, and Nacho, 34, who replaced suspended duo Dani Carvajal and Robin Le Normand, the younger Aymeric Laporte and Marc Cucurella were at fault for Kolo Muani’s opener.

France’s strike seemed to take the wind out of Spain’s sails but it was the youngest player on the pitch who produce a piece of sublime brilliance to level the scores.

Collecting the ball well outside the box, Yamal cut inside, took one look at the goal and unleashed a perfect curling strike into the top left corner.

The goal made Yamal, who already has three assists at Euro 2024, the youngest scorer in the competition’s history, beating the previous record by a year and a half.

Lamal’s goal, 13 minutes after France’s opener, ignited Spain’s attack and La Roja took the lead four minutes later through Olmo.

Olmo leapt acrobatically to collect a cleared cross, shed a defender and smashed goalwards, his shot taking a deflection off Kounde before bouncing in.

France’s best chance to force extra time fell to their captain with five minutes remaining, but Mbappe blasted well over with only goalkeeper Unai Simon to beat.

ALSO READ: Spain to play France in Euro semi-final, after knocking out hosts Germany.

ALSO READ: Spain beat Georgia 4-1 to now play Germany in Euro 2024 quarter-finals.

ALSO READ: Spain advances to Euro knockout round after beating defending champions Italy.

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