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Five memorable clashes between Spain and France

Spain and France meet in the semi-finals of Euro 2024 this evening in a fixture with a rich history.

The teams are no strangers to meeting on the big occasion and ahead of their Euro 2024 semi-final, we’ve remembered five memorable clashes between Spain and France.

France 2-0 Spain – European Championship final (1984)

France felt as if a first major tournament was edging closer after reaching a World Cup semi-final in 1982 and a home European Championship two years later provided the perfect platform for success.

Les Bleus blitzed a route to the final on the back of the brilliance of Michel Platini, who scored eight goals in four games – including back-to-back group-stage hat-tricks – to book a decider against Spain in Paris.

Platini was the unstoppable face of the French team but the Ballon d’Or winner was supported by an all-star cast. Luis Fernandez had joined a midfield group containing Platini, Alain Giresse and Jean Tigana that became known as the carre magique or ‘magic square’.

In the final, Platini opened the scoring with his ninth goal of the tournament as Spain goalkeeper Luis Arconada spilled his effort, before a chip from Bruno Bellone late on sealed the trophy.

Iconic Performances: Peak Platini hits three in rout of Belgium at Euro ’84

Spain 1-2 France – European Championship quarter-final (2000)

Euro 2000 was a tournament packed full of quality with several star-studded sides competing for the trophy. Spain and France met in the quarter-finals, with the former having scored two stoppage-time goals to beat Yugoslavia 4-3 in their final group game to progress.

France had progressed as runners-up to the Netherlands but were among the favourites for the trophy after a maiden World Cup win on home soil in 1998.

A classic quarter-final saw Zinedine Zidane open the scoring as the midfielder’s fabulous free-kick flew past Santiago Canizares in the Spain goal. La Roja levelled six minutes later when Gaizka Mendieta scored from the spot after Lilian Thuram had brought down Pedro Munitis.

An end-to-end game saw France regain the lead before half-time, however, as Youri Djorkaeff smashed in a high finish at the near post.

Spain were handed a dream chance to level late on after being awarded a second spot-kick, only for Raul to blaze his effort over the bar to send Spain crashing out.

Euro 2000 – Zidane’s zenith as France reign supreme

Spain 1-3 France – World Cup last 16 (2006)

France continued their major tournament hold over Spain after eliminating La Roja from the 2006 World Cup.

Spain had progressed to the last 16 with a perfect group-stage record and took the lead in their quarter-final tie through David Villa’s penalty, after Lilian Thuram was penalised for a foul on Ibanez Pablo.

France fought back and Frank Ribery rounded Iker Casillas to level four minutes before half-time. Les Bleus completed their comeback when Patrick Vieira – who had set up Ribery’s equaliser – headed home a second and Zinedine Zidane completed the scoring in stoppage time.

The Frenchman broke away after Spain lost possession in a dangerous area and skipped past Carles Puyol before firing home.

Spain 2-0 France – European Championship quarter-final (2012)

Spain were football’s dominant force between 2008 and 2012 as La Roja won an unprecedented three major tournaments in succession.

The third of those saw Spain dump out France on route to European Championship success, as Xabi Alonso’s brace earned Vicente del Bosque a 2-0 win in Donetsk.

Alonso, celebrating his 100th cap for the national team, headed in an opener from Jordi Alba’s cross before keeping his cool with a stoppage-time second from the spot.

Spain were well worth their win with France a sorry second-best in Ukraine.

Spain 1-2 France – UEFA Nations League final (2021)

France became the second winners of the UEFA Nations League after coming from behind to beat Spain in the 2021 final.

Mikel Oyarzabal fired the Spanish in front after evading the challenge of Dayot Upamecano, though Karim Benzema’s brilliant response levelled for the world champions.

Kylian Mbappe decided the contest with a controversial winner, as the forward was deemed onside – following a touch from Spain’s Eric Garcia in the build-up – before firing past Unai Simon.

Read – Euro 2008 – Xavi and Spain’s pass masters finally end decades of underachievement

See more – 90s Hitmen: Raul – Real Madrid and Champions League royalty

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