Preview: Spain vs. Germany

Two European juggernauts seeking to win an unprecedented fourth European Championship title do battle at the MHPArena in Stuttgart on Friday evening, as Spain lock horns with Euro 2024 hosts Germany in the quarter-finals.

The victors of this eagerly-anticipated contest will face the winners of the last-eight tie between Portugal and France in the semi-finals.

Match preview

After winning all three group games at a European Championship for the first time since 2008, Spain remain the only nation at Euro 2024 who boast a perfect record from four matches after coming from behind to beat Georgia 4-1 in the last 16 on Sunday.

Spain were stunned in the 18th minute when Robin Le Normand inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net to put Georgia ahead – the first goal that La Roja have conceded at Euro 2024. However, Rodri restored parity on the stroke of half time, before Spain went on to outclass a courageous Georgia outfit in the second half.

Fabian Ruiz, Nico Williams and Dani Olmo were all on the scoresheet to complete the turnaround in prolific fashion and extend Spain’s unbeaten run at the European Championship to 10 matches (excluding penalty shootouts).

Luis de la Fuente’s youthful and energetic side have dazzled their way into the quarter-finals, reaching this stage for the fourth time in their last five Euros appearances, and even Germany’s Joshua Kimmich has admitted that “Spain have been the most impressive side so far” at this summer’s tournament.

Ranked eighth in the world by FIFA, Spain head into Friday’s blockbuster battle having not lost any of their last six competitive meetings (W3 D3) with Germany dating back to 1998, most recently playing out a 1-1 group-stage draw at the 2022 World Cup.

La Roja are sure to reminisce about their 1-0 triumph over Germany in the Euro 2008 final, courtesy of a first-half strike from Fernando Torres, as well as their thumping 6-0 UEFA Nations League victory in November 2020 in which Fernando’s namesake – Ferran Torres – stole the headlines with a memorable hat-trick.

However, Spain have remarkably never beaten the host nation in the knockout rounds of a Euros or World Cup, failing to win any of their last nine such matches dating all the way back to 1934.

Hosts Germany remain on course to win their first European Championship title since 1996 after they battled past a competitive Denmark outfit to win 2-0 in the round of 16 last Saturday.

On a night of high drama, interrupted by a first-half thunderstorm including a fierce series of lightning strikes, and later marred by VAR controversy, Germany prevailed courtesy of second-half goals from Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala – the latter is now one of four players at the top of the Euro 2024 scoring charts with three goals.

After a “wild game” in Dortmund, Julian Nagelsmann claimed that his Germany players are “beginning to realise how good they really are” having now progressed to the quarter-finals of a major tournament for the first time since Euro 2016 – Friday’s clash with be Germany’s 19th quarter-final across the World Cup (14) and Euros (five), the most of any European nation at these two major tournaments.

Germany rank in the top three for the most goals scored (10), most attacks (265), most attempts on goal (71), highest average possession (62%) and goals conceded (two) heading into the last eight of Euro 2024, and with a vibrant home crowd behind them, Die Mannschaft have become a force to be reckoned with.

Languishing as low as 16th in the FIFA World Rankings amid their recent woes in the pre-Nagelsmann era, Germany have won only two of their last 11 meetings with Spain in all competitions – their last was a slender 1-0 friendly victory in November 2014 thanks to an 89th-minute winner from Toni Kroos.

Germany have reason to be optimistic of success on Friday, though, as they are unbeaten in their last eight games against La Roja on home soil (W5 D3), while no host nation has ever been eliminated from the quarter-final stage of a European Championship.

Team News

Spain boss De la Fuente is expected to name an unchanged starting lineup on Friday, with 16-year-old sensation Lamine Yamal and Athletic Bilbao star Nico Williams set to join captain Alvaro Morata in a three-man attack.

Both Olmo and Mikel Merino will be pushing to start ahead of Pedri in centre-midfield, but the latter is still expected to continue in the first XI alongside Rodri and Fabian Ruiz.

Nacho Fernandez has recovered from a minor foot injury to make himself available for selection, but the Al-Qadsiah man is unlikely to displace either of Le Normand or Aymeric Laporte in central defence, while Dani Carvajal and Marc Cucurella should continue as full-backs.

As for Germany, Nagelsmann could once again tinker with his starting lineup and will ponder whether to recall centre-back Jonathan Tah – who served a suspension in the last 16 – at the expense of Nico Schlotterbeck.

Left-back Maximilian Mittelstadt was dropped against Denmark, but he will be looking to force his way back into the first XI ahead of David Raum, while Florian Wirtz could return on the left side of attack at the expense of Leroy Sane, allowing Musiala to move over to the right.

Niclas Fullkrug scored an equaliser in the aforementioned 1-1 draw with Spain at the 2022 World Cup, but he is not expected to displace Kai Havertz as the central striker, while a midfield triumvirate of Kroos, Robert Andrich and Ilkay Gundogan is set to remain intact.

Spain possible starting lineup:
Simon; Carvajal, Le Normand, Laporte, Cucurella; Pedri, Rodri, Ruiz; Yamal, Morata, Williams

Germany possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Kimmich, Tah, Rudiger, Raum; Kroos, Andrich; Musiala, Gundogan, Wirtz; Havertz

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