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Euro 2024: Lamine Yamal becomes the youngest scorer in the history of the European Championship

MUNICH (AP) — Lamine Yamal became the youngest player ever to score at the European Championships when the 16-year-old scored a stunning goal for Spain in the semi-final of the European Championship, winning 2-1 over France on Tuesday.

Yamal will turn 17 on Saturday, the day before the final in Berlin, in which he will face either England or the Netherlands.

“I only ask for a win, win, win,” said Yamal, who was named player of the match. “I will celebrate my birthday in Germany with my team.”

Spanish footballer Lamine Yamal (center) scores his team’s first goal during the semi-final match between Spain and France at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Yamal scored in the 21st minute, firing the ball from around 25 yards past France goalkeeper Mike Maignan into the top left corner of the goal.

“I don’t know if it’s the most beautiful goal of the tournament, but for me it’s the most special goal because it’s my first goal with this team at the European Championship,” he said.

Yamal is 16 years and 362 days old. The previous youngest scorer at the European Championship was Swiss Johan Vonlanthen (18 years, 141 days) against France at Euro 2004.

“We are very happy that we reached the final. Now comes the most important part – winning the title,” Yamal said. “We were in a difficult situation, not expecting to concede a goal so early. I just took the ball and wanted to put it there.

“I don’t try to think about it too much, I’m just happy and helping the team, and if everything goes my way, I’ll be happy (with the goal) and with the victory.”

Yamal came to Euro 2024 with many “youngest” records and inevitably set more. He was youngest player to play at the men’s Euro when he started in Spain 3-0 victory over Croatia.

The Barcelona teenager was already the youngest player to debut and score in the Spanish league (at the age of 15), the youngest player to start a game in the Champions League and the youngest to score a goal for Spain.

“We saw a touch of genius in a great player that we all know and must nurture going forward,” said Spain coach Luis de la Fuente. “And I can only advise him to continue with the same humility and work ethic, with his feet firmly on the ground.

“He will continue to develop with the same attitude, professionalism and maturity he shows in matches, despite being so young, which makes him look older and more experienced than he actually is. But above all, he should enjoy playing for us. Hopefully we can enjoy him for many years to come.”

Jamal’s goal on Tuesday cancelled out Randal Kolo Muani’s first goal for France – the goal was crossed by Kylian Mbappé, who play without mask.

Spain turned the game around four minutes after Yamal’s equaliser when Dani Olmo’s goalbound shot was headed into the net by French defender Jules Koundé. UEFA initially ruled it an own goal, but later awarded Olmo the goal.

“They scored first, but we planned the game well and stuck to our plan. Lamine scored a great goal,” Olmo said.

Yamal came close to scoring another spectacular goal nine minutes before the end of the match, with a powerful shot that flew just over the crossbar.

“When there was only half an hour left, I thought we were going to the final,” Yamal said. “That was all I could think.”

“And when the referee blew the final whistle, I was very happy because I always remember the last European Championship that I watched with my friends in a shopping mall,” he said, recalling the last time he had to watch it as a spectator. “It’s a dream come true to reach the final with the national team.”

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The introduction and headline of the article have been corrected to indicate that Yamal is the youngest player to score in the European Championship, but not in all major international tournaments.

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AP reporter Joseph Wilson in Barcelona, ​​Spain, contributed to this report.

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UEFA Euro 2024: