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Spain out to keep long run against France



Didier Deschamps says people who are bored with his France team’s style of play can watch something else instead of Tuesday’s Euro 2024 semi-final with Spain.

Les Bleus have been criticised by some for a lack of entertainment in their matches, with BBC pundit and former Premier League striker Chris Sutton last week saying he would “close the curtains” if they were playing in his back garden.

It comes after France have reached the last four of the tournament in Germany with none of their players scoring a goal from open play.

Their three goals at the Euros have been two own goals and a penalty scored by Kylian Mbappe in the 1-1 draw with Poland in the group stage.

In Monday’s pre-match news conference, Deschamps was asked about playing “boring football” by one journalist, to which he responded: “If you are bored, watch another game – you don’t have to watch us, it’s fine.

“Maybe it’s not the same as it was in the past, but we do have the capability to spark emotions and make lots of French men and women happy with our results, especially after a difficult period in our country.”

Spain boss Luis de la Fuente dismissed the suggestion that France are boring, saying at this stage it is all about the result.

“We all try to build a gameplan that will help you win,” he said.

“Spain are an eye-catching team, I won’t deny that, it’s our DNA, but in the end, here it’s about winning. We want to play, but we want to be practical.

“Our way to get the result is to try to be eye-catching. But at this stage it’s the result that counts because it is how your job will get judged and evaluated in the end.”

By contrast Spain have been in excellent form at Euro 2024, winning all five games and scoring the most goals with 11.

They also have two of the most exciting youngsters at the tournament in Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams.

But despite their impressive results, Spain were pushed by hosts Germany in the quarter-finals, before Mikel Merino’s 119th-minute header sealed a 2-1 win.

Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella has been particularly impressive for Spain at this European Championship, and he will be key to ensuring France’s forward line are frustrated once again.

“We are a group of players that give everything for our team-mates and that’s one of the secrets,” Cucurella said.

“I think we have created a great group. We have a mix of veterans and very young players and that makes it all very enjoyable. The key is to be like a family.

“We may not have superstars, but as a team we are good, we are doing well and I hope we keep it that way.”