Home Uncategorized Paul Merson Forecasts Spain vs England Final in Euro 2024

Paul Merson Forecasts Spain vs England Final in Euro 2024

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I predicted an England versus France final at the beginning of the tournament and came close! Spain, however, have been exceptional, storming into the Euro 2024 final. To come back from being 1-0 down against a team like France is incredible; they’ve been a revelation these past few weeks.

Lamine Yamal, just 16 years old, is astonishing—16-year-olds should be in school! I can’t find the words to describe how impressive his goal against France was, but Dani Olmo’s goal was equally impressive. The touch to set himself up and the finish were top-notch. Olmo deserves full credit for that moment of brilliance. He’s been outstanding in the knockout stages, considering he didn’t even start the tournament. A truly remarkable footballer who could walk into most top teams across Europe.

Regarding the England game, they managed to scrape through in the dying moments, but Gareth Southgate’s team keeps finding a way. Substituting Harry Kane for Ollie Watkins proved to be the right move—what a goal he scored! If Messi had scored that goal, it would be the talk of the town this morning—an absolute world-class strike. He took the touch and hit it early; no goalkeeper could have saved it.

There’s been debate about the penalty decision in the first half, but in my view, it was a clear penalty. A challenge like that is a foul anywhere on the pitch, so it should be no different inside the penalty box. Denzel Dumfries didn’t argue, indicating he likely knew he was at fault. Kane’s performance tapered off as the game progressed, but he did well to convert the penalty. After missing against France in the 2022 World Cup, scoring a high-pressure penalty becomes even more challenging as the goal seems smaller.

England dominated in the first half and thoroughly outplayed the Netherlands, but credit to Ronald Koeman as his team improved significantly after the break. In fact, before Watkins’ winner, I felt the Netherlands were more likely to score as they grew into the game in the second half.

Spain won’t approach England like the Netherlands did—they’ll stick to their own style and aim to take control, as they have throughout Euro 2024. England has been solid with three at the back, but with Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams on the wings, Spain poses a serious threat against a back three. It’ll be a strategic battle—who will make the first move? It’s hard to explain, but I have a feeling England will edge it, unless Spain completely overwhelms them.

The midfield contest will likely decide the game. Jude Bellingham is a big-game player, but he struggled against the Netherlands and was fortunate not to be substituted. Nonetheless, he always steps up when needed, as evidenced by his crucial foul near the touchline to see out the game.

If the England team that showed up in the first half against the Netherlands appears, I fancy them to come out on top. Spain won’t change their approach, so it hinges on which England team turns up on the day. Luke Shaw got more game time recently, and I expect him to start. I hope England opts for a four-man defense to handle Williams and Yamal, while the center-backs neutralize Alvaro Morata’s threat.