Spain looks to have a slight advantage over France for the semi-final

MUNICH-. Spainwhich dreams of becoming the most successful team in the history of the Eurocupis measured on Tuesday with France in the semi-finals.

La Roja, one of the top scoring teams and the team that has played the best football in the tournament, faces an opponent that lacks punch because its star Kylian Mbappé is still having difficulty adapting to a protective mask.

Kick-off is at 9pm local time (1900 GMT) in Munich.

Here’s what you need to know:

THE BASICS

— The winner will play either England or the Netherlands in the final on Sunday in Berlin. Their semi-final is on Wednesday.

— Spain and France won their quarter-finals after extra time. Substitute Mikel Merino’s winner in the final minute of half gave Spain a 2-1 victory over hosts Germany, while France went to penalties to beat Portugal after the match ended goalless.

—Les Bleus have only scored two goals, one of which was scored from a penalty by Mbappé. Spain have scored 11 times.

— Mbappé, who will face several of his new Real Madrid teammates, will once again wear a protective mask after suffering a broken nose in France’s opening group game against Austria.

“It’s a new situation. He doesn’t have normal vision with the mask on,” said French coach Didier Deschamps. “He’s recovered from the blow, but it’s been a shock to adapt.”

—Spain were the only team to win all their group matches, while France could only manage draws against Poland and the Netherlands after a narrow victory over Austria.

NEWS

— Midfielder Pedri had to come off after eight minutes against Germany with a knee injury and has been ruled out for the rest of the Euros. He will be replaced again by Dani Olmo, who scored the first goal and assisted Merino.

— Dani Carvajal was sent off at the end of extra time for a second yellow card and will serve a one-match suspension against France, as will fellow defender Robin le Normand after receiving another booking. Veteran Jesus Navas is likely to be the man to mark Mbappe.

—Deschamps has no injury problems and Marcus Thuram returned to training on Sunday, easing concerns that he could miss the semi-final after taking a knock to the thigh late in the game against Portugal.

NUMBERS

— Spain and France have conceded just three goals in the tournament. The only time France goalkeeper Mike Maignan had to take the ball out of his goal was in Poland’s retaken penalty in the group stage, while Spain conceded goals against Georgia and Germany.

— The teams have met 36 times, with Spain winning 16 to France’s 13, including five of the last eight.

— This is Spain’s sixth Euro semi-final. They have only failed to advance to this stage in 2020, losing on penalties to eventual champions Italy.

— France have reached the semi-finals on five previous occasions, winning three.

— France have reached the final in three of the last four major tournaments, losing 1-0 after extra time to Portugal at Euro 2016 and to Argentina on penalties at the 2022 World Cup but beating Croatia to claim their second world title in 2018.

What they say”We are in the semi-finals and it is something we must not take for granted, even if we are used to it recently. Now we are going to win it,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.

QUOTES

“Very few people gave us a chance and going unnoticed helped us start the tournament with confidence. Spain is a team to be respected. I knew we had a great team and that’s how it turned out.” — Marc Cucurella, Spanish defender.

“It’s natural for him. He has the gift of leading the team, the group. He gives ideas, advice to the players. He was born for that. He was born to lift the group,” said French striker Randal Kolo Muani about Mbappé’s captaincy.

“My players are insatiable. There is always room for improvement, of course, but we cannot question their pride, quality and commitment.” — Luis de la Fuente, Spain coach.