UEFA U-21 Euros: Two European powerhouses collide when France face Spain in the semi-final


On Thursday, two country’s of esteemed footballing history come head to head in the battle to regain the under-21 European Championships.

In the Stadio Citta del Tricolore, France will lock horns with close neighbours Spain for a chance to get into the final of the tournament. Despite both showing vulnerabilities in this tournament, there is no denying the wealth of talent either side possesses. These two sides share five under-21 European Championships between them and are soon on track to add the sixth.


For Les Bleus, they qualified for the semi-finals as the best second-placed team finishing behind the tournament’s surprise package, Romania.  They needed only a point against the leader in their final group match to be sure of a spot in the semi-finals and secured that place with a goal-less draw.

Having only conceded one goal in the group stages, the lowest of any team in the tournament, France have a solid foundation to build upon and provide talented attackers such as Jonathan Ikone and Marcus Thuram to be able to exploit at the other end of the pitch.

Key Player: Moussa Dembele

FBL-EURO-U21-GBR-FRA : News Photo

Photo: MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

After missing the previous match against Romania, France will be hoping their star striker Moussa Dembele will be fit to play. The Lyon striker had been struggling with an ankle injury for some time but is expected to feature in the match.

With 19 goals in his debut season at the French club, Dembele has all the characteristics to be one of Europe’s most potent strikers and Spain will be wary of his threat.


A 3-1 defeat in their opening game to Italy meant Spain had a mountain to climb if they were to reach the knock-out stages of the competition. Heading into their last group game on tenterhooks and unsure of qualification, Spain knew they needed to pull out a vital performance against Poland, and that is what they did.

Their 5-0 win certainly proved they had the ability to win the European trophy, dominating a solid Poland team and plummeting themselves to top spot in Group A.

As often witnessed with a Spain side, they dominate possession of the ball with constant retention and control over their opponents. An average of 61% possession across their three previous matches is the most of any team in the tournament.

Key Player: Dani Ceballos

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Photo: EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

After rising to prominence in the previous under-21 European tournament, the Real Madrid star has once again reiterated the qualities he possess on the international stage.

With two goals and two assists during the group stages, there is no denying that Ceballos is the orchastreta in the heart of Spain’s midfield. Control the rhythm and tempo of the game, France will need to stay tight to the Spaniard to halt his influence in the match.

Prediction: France 1 – 2 Spain


About Author

Football, Boxing and Cricket correspondent from Hampshire, covering southern sport. Editor and Head of Boxing at Prost International. Accreditated EFL & EPL journalist.

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