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Spain 2-1 France: Jesús Navas and Lamine Yamal's joint enterprise

UEFA technical observers Ioan Lupescu, David Moyes and Aitor Karanka enjoyed seeing a 38-year-old and a 16-year-old showcasing inter-generational understanding with Spain.

Jesús Navas and Lamine Yamal celebrate Spain's equaliser against France
Jesús Navas and Lamine Yamal celebrate Spain's equaliser against France Getty Images

Spain progressions down the left have been a recurring feature of their run to the final of UEFA EURO 2024, yet it was from the other side of the pitch that the decisive moments came during their Munich semi-final against France.

The source of the finest moment of all was Lamine Yamal, whose magnificent equalising goal provided the platform for Spain's comeback win and earned the 16-year-old winger a place in the history books as the youngest scorer in a EURO final tournament.

It features in the video analysis below, which also highlights Yamal's work with Jesús Navas, the 38-year-old full-back who, stepping in for the suspended Dani Carvajal, combined impressively with the teenager.

Along Spain's route through this tournament, UEFA's technical observers have noted more than once the understanding between Marc Cucurella and Nico Williams on the left, but this time it was the duo on the other flank who were singled out, with Navas's presence in advanced positions allowing Yamal to drive inside more than in previous games.

Tactical analysis: Yamal's starring role

Clip one features his spectacular goal, and in the lead-up we see the areas of the pitch he occupied most frequently – the lightest square being where he popped up most often.

As the sequence unfolds, we see Yamal move inside and pick up a loose ball more than 25 metres from goal. With a drop of the shoulder, he steals space from Adrien Rabiot before unleashing his wondrous strike, sending the ball arcing into the top-right corner of Mike Maignan's goal. The xG of the shot was just 0.023.

The match as it happened

If France coach Didier Deschamps felt his players were "too far" from the scorer, he did declare the goal "magnificent". The UEFA technical observer panel of Ioan Lupescu, David Moyes and Aitor Karanka offered a different superlative – "fantastic" – and went on to praise the youngster's all-round game: "At such a young age, he works hard defensively and is a threat on the ball, impressing with his positioning and forming a productive partnership with Jesús Navas on the right."

The data underlines his defensive contribution: he was joint-second among the Spain players for ball recoveries (four) and joint-first for tackles (three). He also made 18 pressures.

As for his combination with Navas, this is prominent in the second clip. With the right-back progressing on the outside, we see Yamal move inside once more and his movement disrupts the France defence, left-back Theo Hernández passing him on to Kylian Mbappé in order to watch the run of Navas.

Yamal continues to advance on a horizontal run – one of 12 ball carries from him overall – and it ends with him feeding Dani Olmo between the lines. From there, Olmo returns the ball to Navas on the right and, though the clip ends here, the ensuing cross will lead to Olmo's excellent winning strike.

If Yamal, who turns 17 on Saturday, made history as the youngest-ever scorer in EURO history, Navas, at 38, achieved his own milestone as the oldest player to appear in a UEFA European Championship or FIFA World Cup semi-final.

Despite the age difference, the combination bore fruit. For Navas’s part, in his 59 minutes on the pitch he made five clearances – joint-first among the Spain players – while his total of three crosses from open play matched Carvajal’s highest figure from any of his four appearances.