Time for the semifinals of the Euro 2024!

Finally, it's time for the semi-finals of this European Championship. First up tonight is Spain against France, followed by the Netherlands against England tomorrow evening, both matches starting at 21:00 CET (20:00 UK time).

We will review the status before both semi-finals and also dare to predict the outcomes, believing that we will see a replay of the 2010 World Cup final on Sunday.

Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams in the Spanish national team
Can the youngsters Lamine Yamal och Nico Williams bring down France tonight?

Semi-final 1: Spain vs. France

Before the European Championship, France would surely been the favourite in this match, but given that Spain has been the best-performing team throughout the tournament, the Spaniards are slightly favourites in this semi-final.

However, looking at the squads, France has the advantage. Spain is forced to rotate two players in the defence due to suspensions: centre-back Robin Le Normand, who received his second yellow card in the tournament in the match against Germany, and right-back Dani Carvajal, who was sent off in the final minutes when Spain was fighting off a German equalizer. Additionally, Spain will be without Pedri, who was injured early in the quarterfinals after being brought down by Toni Kroos.

The natural replacement for the injured Pedri is Dani Olmo, who was the match-winner against Germany with his goal and assist after coming on for Pedri. There was already speculation before the quarterfinals that Olmo could start instead of Pedri, so this change in the starting lineup is likely to balance out.

The replacements in the defence could be Nacho as centre-back and Jesús Navas to the right. If this happens, it will be interesting to see how the 38-year-old Navas handles Kylian Mbappé, who has a significant speed advantage. On the other hand, Navas has an abundance of experience, which could be crucial in a match like this.

France's squad is fully intact, but there is still concern over Kylian Mbappé's status. In the quarterfinal against Portugal, he was substituted in extra time as he seemed troubled by his broken nose and could not perform at 100%. He has had a few more days to recover, and he is certainly the player Spain needs to watch out for in this match.

Our Prediction - Spain Advances

Even though Spain has been the best team and France's offense has been a shadow of its former self compared to recent championships, the outcome of this match is uncertain. Spain is forced to make three changes to their starting line-up, while France can choose from all their players, and France's defence has been very solid.

However, if any team can unlock France's strong defence, it is Spain. With Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal on the wings in the attack, the French defenders will have to work harder than before. Spain also have Álvaro Morata in central attack, who is always dangerous and skilled at creating space for others, along with Dani Olmo and Fabián Ruiz, who are constant threats from the midfield.

What could favour France? Well, a lot actually. As mentioned, their defence is very stable, and even though Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann have been weak in this tournament, everyone knows what they can do on a good day. They also have a lot of championship experience, having gone far in several recent major tournaments, and many of today's players were part of those teams.

Our prediction still goes to Spain. If Spain can score relatively early against France, the French will be forced to step up and attack, thereby loosening their defence a bit. And even if they don't score early, Spain always keeps pressing forward and has shown good patience in their attack earlier in the tournament. At some point during the match, we believe Spain will score a goal.

Whether one goal will be enough for Spain remains to be seen, but we think it will be, so our prediction is 1-0 to Spain. Hopefully, Lamine Yamal will score his first goal in the European Championship and thus set the record as the youngest goal scorer ever in the tournament, which he deserves considering how well he has played so far.

Memphis Depay, Netherlands
Memphis Depay have been one of the best Dutch players so far

Semi-final 2: Netherlands vs. England

That England has made it to the semi-finals is surprising considering the weak play they have shown in Germany. Sure, their defence has worked fairly well, but offensively they have displayed an impressively uninspired game. The highly profiled offensive players Harry Kane and Phil Foden have both underperformed significantly and have rightfully received a lot of criticism. There have even been calls to bench Kane, which many saw as impossible before the tournament started, but wouldn't actually be shocking if it happened (though it probably won't). Even Jude Bellingham hasn't been particularly good, to be honest, but he has scored two great and important goals, which somewhat "saves" him.

The Netherlands, on the other hand, have gone from strength to strength as the tournament has progressed. They also showed strong fighting spirit and morale against Türkiye in the quarterfinals, coming from 0-1 down at halftime to win after scoring two goals in the second half. Above all, the Dutch attack has improved compared to the first matches in the group stage. Cody Gakpo has been the Netherlands' best player and should even be in the discussions for the tournament's best player, and Memphis Depay has also worked hard up front.

Neither team has any suspensions, and all the players expected to start for each team are fit and available to play.

Our Prediction - Netherlands Advances

Normally, England are the favourites in a meeting with Netherlands, and so they are according to the bookmakers, but we have a hard time seeing why. To be honest, they have had enormous luck to even be here in the semi-finals, having won their group with just one win plus draws against Denmark and Slovenia. Against Slovakia in the round of 16, they were saved at the last moment by a brilliant performance from Bellingham, and against Switzerland in the last match, they were again saved by a strong individual performance when Bukayo Saka scored for England's out of nowhere, and then won an uncertain penalty shootout.

In other words, England has played five matches in this tournament without impressing in any and without getting their attack to work. It's also worth remembering that they lost 0-1 at home to Iceland in their last friendly match before the European Championship. In other words, after six games in a row without a functioning play, one must realize that how England is playing under coach Gareth Southgate right now simply isn't working, for sure not offensively.

So no, we believe England's luck ends here and that the Netherlands will advance. We predict they will do so with a 2-1 win, with Gakpo scoring at least one of the goals, taking a big step towards becoming the tournament's top scorer and the Golden Boot title.
Andrea Sugler has followed football his whole life and above all the Swedish national team. As Andrea lives in Stockholm, she sees most of the international matches on site, but has also been to most of the European Championships and World Cups in recent years when Sweden has participated, the first time already back in 1992 during the European Championship in Sweden. Andrea also likes to write about football and games, sometimes with successful results.