Euro 2024: Merino dumps Germany, Joao Felix retires Cristiano Ronaldo

Spain and France advance to Euro 2024 semifinals after thrilling quarterfinals. Late goals and penalty drama seal wins over Germany and Portugal.

Euro 2024: Merino dumps Germany, Joao Felix retires Cristiano Ronaldo
Mikel Merino celebrates after heading Spain into the semifinal of the ongoing Euro Championships in Germany. La Roja won it 2-1 after extra time. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)


Host Germany got to the end of the road at the ongoing 2024 Euro Championship after a sleek Mikel Merino header in the last minute of extra time on Friday.

La Roja saw their one goal lead chalked off with only one minute left to play in normal time in the second half of the keenly contested encounter through Florian Wirtz, and, with everything pointing to penalty shootouts, Merino rose the highest to leave Manuel Neuer flat-footed.

Both sides went into the encounter knowing it would be tough. History stood behind Germany, but form was very much on Spain's side, having gone through the group stages unscathed and also past Georgia with a clinical 4-1 success.

The early scare for Spain saw Pedri taken off after a collision with veteran midfielder Toni Kroos. Dani Olmo came on for him and fired in the opener just six minutes after the restart. Germany knew that they had to score, and they threw everything forward.

Wirtz levelled with one minute left on the clock, and the game went into extra time. Germany had their chances, but substitute Mikel Merino had the final say in a game that produced sixteen yellow cards and a red card for Dani Carvajal, who would miss the next game.

In the day's other major match, Joao Felix scored a penalty that sent Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe into retirement, and advanced France to the semi-final of the 2024 Euro Championship in Germany.

The cagey game saw both sides sizing each other up for the entirety of the game, managing possession and keeping things safe to avoid costly mistakes. It was always going to be tough for either side as they looked to book a date in the semifinal against Spain.

In the 2016 edition of the competition, France lost to Portugal in extra time of the final, leaving Le Bleus with revenge on their minds, but Portugal wasn't giving anything away easily. Both sides had chances, but none could find the breakthrough.

Mike Maignan and Diogo Costa both stood firm, making nine saves between them and shutting out the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Kolo Moani, Bernado Silva, Bruno Fernandes, and most notably, Nuno Mendes with the last kick of the game.

The match proceeded to penalties, and France performed flawlessly from the six-yard line. Ousman Dembele, Youssouf Fofana, Jules Kounde, Bradley Barcola, and Theo Hernandez took the final kick. It was 100% for France, who had planned to bring on Olivier Giroud for the shootout, but the full-time whistle denied them.

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Footballnus | Stay updated on the latest football news, analysis and betting predictions: Euro 2024: Merino dumps Germany, Joao Felix retires Cristiano Ronaldo
Euro 2024: Merino dumps Germany, Joao Felix retires Cristiano Ronaldo
Spain and France advance to Euro 2024 semifinals after thrilling quarterfinals. Late goals and penalty drama seal wins over Germany and Portugal.
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