Clash of the Titans

by Ben Ayuko

{image by Khel now}

Spain and France have been 2 of International Sports more successful sides in recent history

Spain, who are in a bit of a resurgence after their period of dominance between 2008 to 2012, will be looking to make up for their last Euros outing, where they crashed out of the Semi-Finals on penalties to eventual champions Italy. They have definitely gone some way into making sure of it as they have, easily been the most efficient, if not outright best, team of the tournament thus far. Having conceded just 2 goals in 5 games so far, they are the only team to have won every single game they have played. Their last time out against host nation, Germany, was one of the games of the tournament as they managed to weather the Berlin crowd and pinch the game in the last minute of extra time. Young talents like Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams will be looking to cement their standing in world football as they push to make a name for themselves, while seasoned players like Rodri and captain Alvaro Morata will be looking to bring back European glory for their national side.

Dani Carvajal, a key player in their run so far, will be suspended in this game after receiving a late red card in the quarter final against Germany. How costly this will prove to be remains to be seen, but this outcome definitely leaves the Spanish side weaker. And France has the players to take full advantage of it.

Players like Ousmane Dembélé and Antoine Griezmann will be looking to prove their quality after falling off the map for a couple of years while Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram will be battling to secure the centre forward position from legendary striker Olivier Giroud, who, at 37yrs of age, could very well be playing his last tournament for the national side. France’s all-time top scorer may very well have a part to play when linking up with French protege and now captain Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe, who has had an underwhelming tournament so far, may well pick his moment to strike at the hearts of the current favourites Spanish side. Their last outing versus Portugal ultimately ended up as a war of attrition as neither side really had it in them to take them, needing penalties to separate the 2 sides. France, obviously, emerged victorious over Ronaldo’s men and will probably be the happier side should it all come down to that again.

Mbappe’s lamentations about not playing with Paul Pogba in the national team could spur a rise in the likes of N’golo Kante to step up and show that they can compete without the mercurial player. In the event, however, that it has a detrimental effect, he could stand to rue those words.

Regardless of how it ends, it stands to be an intriguing clash between 2 of the tournament favourites.

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