La Roja Hold Nerve to Edge Past Germany and Book Semi-Final Berth

Spain continued their imperious march through Euro 2024, edging past tournament hosts Germany 2-1 in a pulsating quarter-final clash at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart. The victory sets up a mouthwatering semi-final encounter for Luis Enrique's men, who remain the only unbeaten team at the Euros.

Germany, buoyed by a passionate home crowd and fresh off a confidence-boosting win in the round of 16, started brightly. Jamal Musiala, the 16-year-old wonderkid, caused Spain's defense problems early on with his pace and trickery. However, Spain, with their patient and possession-based approach, gradually wrestled control of the midfield. Pedri, the young Barcelona maestro, orchestrated attacks with his calmness and vision, while the experience of Rodri and Fabian Ruiz provided a solid foundation in the center of the park.

The deadlock was finally broken just before half-time. A flowing move by Spain culminated in a pinpoint cross from Marcos Llorente, which Alvaro Morata met with a powerful header that cannoned off the crossbar. The rebound fell kindly for Nico Williams, who slotted the ball home from close range to send the Spanish contingent in the stands into raptures.

The second half was a tense affair, with both teams trading blows. Germany, desperate for an equalizer, threw on Leroy Sane for the ineffective Leroy Sane. The substitution paid immediate dividends as Sane injected some much-needed urgency into the German attack. Toni Kroos, in what could be his last major tournament for Germany, nearly leveled the score with a trademark long-range effort that rattled the woodwork.

Just when it seemed like the Germans were on the verge of finding a breakthrough, Spain doubled their lead against the run of play. A defensive lapse from Antonio Rudiger allowed Dani Olmo to race clear on goal. The RB Leipzig winger kept his composure and fired a low shot past Manuel Neuer to put Spain in a seemingly comfortable position.

However, the drama wasn't over yet. With ten minutes remaining, Kai Havertz rose highest to meet a teasing cross from Joshua Kimmich and headed the ball past Unai Simon to give Germany a lifeline. The remaining minutes were a nervy affair, with Germany piling on the pressure. Spain, however, defended resolutely and held on for a famous victory in a stadium hostile to their cause.

This win marks a significant moment for Spain, who are finally starting to reap the rewards of their long-term development project. Luis Enrique, who has instilled a possession-based philosophy and a winning mentality in this young squad, will be delighted with his team's performance. They now turn their attention to the semi-finals, where they will face either France or Portugal in what promises to be another epic encounter.

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