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Host Germany crashes out of Euro 2024 as Spain secures spot in semi-finals

Germany’s hopes of reaching the Euro 2024 semi-finals were dashed on Friday when Spain clinched a dramatic 2-1 victory over the tournament hosts with a late goal from Mikel Merino in extra time.

Spain secured their spot in the semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Germany, thanks to Mikel Merino’s decisive goal in the final minute of extra time.

After a tense and goalless first half, Spain’s Dani Olmo capitalized on a precise pass from young talent Lamine Yamal to score and give La Roja the lead in the 51st minute.

Germany’s Niclas Fuellkrug hit the post with 14 minutes left on the clock, but just as the hosts faced elimination, Florian Wirtz equalized in the 89th minute with a goal from Joshua Kimmich’s header, sending the match into extra time.

As the game headed towards penalties with just a minute remaining in extra time, Dani Olmo delivered a cross that Mikel Merino headed into the net, sealing Spain’s place in the semi-finals and putting them on course for a potential record-breaking fourth European Championship title.

Germany’s exit ends their dream of a fairy-tale Euro victory on home soil after a decade of disappointing performances in major tournaments, and also marks the conclusion of Toni Kroos’ illustrious career.

The clash between these two historically successful Euro nations, each with three titles to their name, was anticipated as a final before its time, with Spain’s in-form team facing off against Nagelsmann’s resurgent hosts.

Spain identified Kroos as Germany’s primary threat before the match, but the midfielder inadvertently impacted the game early on by colliding with Pedri, who was substituted due to a leg injury, making way for Olmo.

Germany, boasting the oldest squad at Euro 2024, struggled against Spain’s speed in the first half, frequently arriving late to challenges. Despite this, the hosts had the best chances of the half, with both falling to Kai Havertz.

After a goalless first half, Nagelsmann made tactical changes, including bringing on Robert Andrich for surprise starter Emre Can, and replacing Leroy Sane with Wirtz, who proved instrumental in Germany’s comeback.

The turning point came with Olmo’s goal early in the second half, slicing through Germany’s defense to score from Yamal’s pass. Wirtz and Fuellkrug had opportunities to score later on, but Fuellkrug hit the post under pressure from Spain’s defense.

In the dying moments of regular time, Wirtz’s header from Kimmich’s assist leveled the score, pushing the match into extra time. Both teams had chances to score in extra time, with Germany appealing vehemently for a penalty after Jamal Musiala’s shot hit Marc Cucurella’s hand.

Ultimately, it was Olmo’s cross to Merino in the closing minutes of extra time that settled the match, sending Spain through to the semi-finals and ending Germany’s Euro 2024 campaign.

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