Spain's Last-Minute Heroics Send Germany Crashing Out of Euro 2024

Toni Kroos’ comeback spoilt as Spain knockout hosts Germany in Extra Time

In a dramatic and tightly contested quarter-final of Euro 2024, Spain eliminated co-hosts Germany with a last-minute goal in extra time on Friday, July 5. Spain emerged victorious with a 2-1 win at Stuttgart’s MHPArena, dashing the comeback dreams of German veteran Toni Kroos.

Spain’s attacking prowess was on full display as Dani Olmo and Mikel Merino scored the crucial goals. Despite Germany’s relentless efforts to overturn the score, the Spanish side demonstrated exceptional resilience, particularly in the face of intense second-half and extra-time pressure from the Germans.

The match was rife with controversies, keeping referee Antony Taylor busy from the outset. Within the first ten minutes, a contentious moment arose when Kroos collided with Pedri, who was forced off due to a shin injury. Surprisingly, Taylor opted not to book Kroos, a decision that raised eyebrows among fans and analysts alike.

Just a few minutes later, Antonio Rudiger received a yellow card for his first challenge of the game, further fueling the tension on the pitch. The game saw a total of 15 yellow cards, culminating in a dramatic moment during extra time when Marc Cucurella’s handball in the penalty box was waved off by both the referee and VAR, much to Germany’s frustration.

Germany’s attacking efforts were marred by missed opportunities, with key players like Niklas Füllkrug, Florian Wirtz, and Kai Havertz failing to capitalize on golden chances. Havertz’s missed lob over an off-line Unai Simon drew gasps from the crowd, highlighting the fine margins in this high-stakes encounter.

Spain’s youthful energy was evident throughout, with Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams making significant impacts on the flanks. The breakthrough came in the 51st minute when Yamal’s incisive run and pass set up Olmo for the opening goal. However, Germany found a lifeline in the 89th minute, as substitute Florian Wirtz, fresh off a stellar season with Bayer Leverkusen, fired in a dramatic equalizer from Joshua Kimmich’s header.

As the match seemed destined for a penalty shootout, Spain’s Mikel Merino headed home the decisive goal from an Olmo cross in the 119th minute, sealing Germany’s fate. In the dying moments, Spain’s Dani Carvajal received a second yellow card for a tactical foul on Jamal Musiala, ensuring he will miss the semi-final along with Robin Le Normand.

Spain’s victory sets up a tantalizing semi-final clash with the winner of the Portugal-France encounter, scheduled for later on Friday.