Euro 2024 updates: France sneak into semis without Mbappé

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Euro 2024 is into the quarterfinals! Our daily files give you the latest reporting from around the tournament as well as betting lines, what to watch for and best reads.

Check in with ESPN throughout the tournament as we bring you the latest from Germany.

The lead: France sneak into semis without Mbappé

HAMBURG, Germany — This one is for Melbourne 2023. For Doha 2022. For Bucharest 2021. Even for Seville 1982. This is for all the other penalty shootout heartaches that French football, men’s and women’s, has suffered over the years.

On Friday in Hamburg, Didier Deschamps and his players avenged their demons. Without captain and talisman Kylian Mbappé — substituted at half-time of extra time after a close-range header struck his recently broken nose — but with confidence and calmness, France went a perfect 5-for-5 in bettering Portugal on penalties and putting to bed the nightmares of the past.

Unlike in Qatar, where Deschamps admitted that he didn’t make the team work on spot kicks and that he thought it was a lottery anyway, this time was different. France have been preparing for this moment, working on it before the Belgium game in the round of 16 and again before Portugal.

Mentally, the players were more prepared than ever. Eighteen months after falling into the trap of Emiliano Martínez’s mind games, guess who messed with the opposition’s heads this time? Mike Maignan. The Paris-born-and-bred keeper made the Portuguese wait while he was slowly getting to his goal.

Bradley Barcola is 21 years old, has 18 months of professional football behind him and had never taken part in a penalty shootout in his career, but he took his brilliantly. Ousmane Dembélé, whose entrance after 67 minutes definitively impacted the game, put France on the right path by scoring the first penalty of the night. The rest was history.

For the fourth time in the past five major tournaments, Les Bleus are in the semifinals. It’s an incredible achievement, one that makes Deschamps arguably the greatest national team coach ever, considering he won the World Cup in 2018 and reached two more finals (Euro 2016 and World Cup 2022). He is a winner like no other, and he knew what he had to do to win on Friday, keeping faith in his incredible defence carried by Maignan and William Saliba again. France have conceded only one goal all tournament, and that was a Robert Lewandowski penalty.

The celebrations among players were wild, while Deschamps had a hug and some words for Roberto Martínez. Six years after beating Martínez’s Belgium team in the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup, the French head coach knocked him out of another major tournament. And 40 years after an epic 3-2 win in extra time in the Euro 1984 semifinals, France have broken Portugal’s hearts again. — Julien Laurens

Even without Kylian Mbappé, France bettered Portugal on penalties to reach the semifinals of Euro 2024. FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Sights and sounds around Euro 2024

Olmo inspires Spain off the bench

STUTTGART — Dani Olmo will have been disappointed not to have started Spain’s quarterfinal win over Germany, but there is no way he won’t be in the side in the semifinal.

Olmo, 26, is well known in Germany, where he plays his club football for RB Leipzig, but there is sometimes a feeling he does not always get the appreciation he deserves in his homeland. That should change after he scored the opening goal and set up a 119th-minute winner for Mikel Merino as Spain knocked the hosts out 2-1 after extra time.

The reason for Olmo’s introduction — an injury to Pedri inside 10 minutes after a robust tackle from Toni Kroos — was one of several downsides to Spain’s progression. Overall all, though, this is a result which could take a blossoming young team to the next level.

Former Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann had called them “kids” and “a youth team lacking in experience” before the match. But Lamine Yamal, who turns 17 the day before the final and may have to postpone his birthday party back home, said Spain would respond on the pitch.

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