England responding to their Euro 2024 heartbreak with success in the future will taste "even sweeter", according to Lionesses captain Leah Williamson.

The England Women's star launched a staunch defence of Gareth Southgate's men's side after their 2-1 defeat in the European Championship final to Spain.

Southgate's Three Lions are the first side in history to lose two consecutive Euros finals, while the England manager is the first to suffer defeat in two separate showpieces of the tournament.

Having lost the Women's World Cup final to Spain last year, Williamson can somewhat relate, but reminded England supporters of the good times under Southgate, whose future remains uncertain.

"Devastated, especially knowing some of them personally as well," Williamson told reporters ahead of Tuesday's clash with Sweden in qualifying for the Women's European Championship in 2025.

"What Gareth and his team have done over the last three, four years, reaching finals and bringing that dream closer to reality, we are very lucky as fans of England, men's and women's, to be in the position that we're in.

"They didn't quite get over the line to a fantastic Spanish team, I know they'll be devastated about it, it will take a while for them to get over it.

"But us as a country, we've been blessed with incredible tournaments. And when those wins come, which I do believe they will, then they'll be even sweeter."

England Women's boss Sarina Wiegman led her side to Euro 2022 glory against Germany before the agony against Spain the following year.

Therefore, Wiegman knows all too well about suffering from setbacks.

"Takes about three weeks, it took me three weeks to get over it," an honest Wiegman said on how Southgate and Co. will recover.

"It's very hard ... when you have given your everything, then you hope you win and when you don't, you are really disappointed.

"But then you start thinking: Okay, did we get everything out of ourselves? Did we do everything that we could that was in our control?

"And then you have to accept it. It's easier to accept a win than to accept a loss but yeah, for me that takes it took a while."

Olivier Giroud has sent an emotional message to France's players and supporters after his international career came to an end at Euro 2024.

Giroud had already confirmed he would retire from international football after the tournament in Germany, where France underwhelmed en route to the semi-finals before losing to eventual champions Spain.

The striker – who has agreed to join MLS outfit Los Angeles FC after leaving Milan – only played 59 minutes in four appearances at Euro 2024, all of them as a substitute.

He scored 57 goals in 137 appearances for Les Bleus, putting him clear of Thierry Henry (51) and Kylian Mbappe (48) in his country's all-time scoring charts.

In a statement posted to X on Monday, exactly six years after he helped France win the 2018 World Cup, Giroud wrote: "The dreaded moment has arrived: that of saying goodbye to the France team. 

"What a pride to wear this blue jersey and to represent France. By joining this team, I found a second family with the players and the staff. 

"We have always supported each other, we have experienced joy and disappointment, victories and defeats, laughter and tears but were always united and supportive.

"My career with the France team has not always been a smooth ride. I doubted sometimes, I also suffered from criticism but deep down, I never stopped believing.

"From now on, I become the number one supporter of Les Bleus. This France team that I served for 13 years will remain forever engraved in my heart. It is my greatest pride and my most beautiful memory."

Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz does not believe his convincing final victory over Novak Djokovic marks the start of a new era for tennis.

Alcaraz clinched his second Wimbledon title – and his fourth at grand slams overall – in mesmerising fashion on Sunday, thrashing seven-time champion Djokovic in straight sets.

The Spaniard needed just 73 minutes to take the first two sets before being pushed closer in the third, ultimately winning 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7-4).

Djokovic – who turned 37 in May – could now go a full calendar year without a major title for just the second time since 2010, and the first since 2017.

Alcaraz, meanwhile, is the third-youngest man to win back-to-back Wimbledon titles in the Open Era (21 years, 70 days), older only than Boris Becker (18 years, 227 days, 1985-86) and Bjorn Borg (21 years, 26 days, 1976-77).

However, asked by Spanish publication AS whether he was the figurehead of a new era for the sport, Alcaraz said: "I don't really feel that way. 

"I've seen a lot of people who have said it's a generational change, a new era, a changing of the guard after Sunday's match, but in the end I don't see it that way. 

"We try to work as hard as possible to put Djokovic in trouble, to try to be there as many times as we can, but I don't feel that there is a change of era, a generational change or a changing of the guard, not at the moment."

Sunday was a great day for Spanish sport as Luis de la Fuente's football team beat England 2-1 in the Euro 2024 final, with substitute Mikel Oyarzabal netting the winner.

Alcaraz believes the performances of 17-year-old Lamine Yamal and 22-year-old Nico Williams point to a bright future for football, and sport in general, in Spain.

"When I finished my game I had a message from [Alvaro] Morata, who is the one I talk to the most, the one I get along with the best," he revealed. 

"One of the first people I called in the dressing room was him, who was walking to the stadium before playing the final. I wished him all the luck in the world. 

"Lamine, Nico are 17, 22-year-old boys, who have made the difference in this European Championship. It was the first time they played with the national team. 

"They have done it in an incredible way. It's great to see new players in Spain who fight like them, who give their all for the flag, for the country. 

"I think it's wonderful to have a national team and young athletes who are pointing the way, who are going up. Hopefully we will have many years of enjoyment."

 

Spain dominate Opta's Euro 2024 Team of the Tournament after Sunday's 2-1 final victory over England, a result that clinched a record-breaking fourth European crown.

Five Roja players find themselves in Opta's stats-based XI, but they also contribute the most surprising omission, with Player of the Tournament Rodri missing out.

England only have one representative despite reaching their first tournament final on foreign soil, with Harry Kane's share of the Golden Boot and Jude Bellingham's stunning overhead kick versus Slovakia not enough to warrant a place.

Here, we run through those that did make the cut, highlighting a couple of standout stats for each player.

Giorgi Mamardashvili (Georgia)

Georgia shot-stopper Mamardashvili conceded more goals than any other player at the tournament (eight), but four of those came in a last-16 defeat to the eventual champions, and he finds his way in between the sticks.

Starring as Georgia surprisingly escaped Group F, Mamardashvili made 30 saves and prevented 4.76 goals according to Opta's expected goals on target (xGoT) model – the best figure at the tournament.

Joshua Kimmich (Germany)

Germany were dumped out in the last eight by Spain, and winning their group via a last-gasp Niclas Fullkrug goal versus Switzerland may actually have harmed the hosts as they wound up on the more challenging side of the draw.

Kimmich was fielded at right-back by Julian Nagelsmann and was instrumental going forward. In fact, only Lamine Yamal (17) bettered his 16 chances created from open play in just five games.

Manuel Akanji (Switzerland)

Akanji's tournament ended in despair as he was denied by Jordan Pickford in Switzerland's quarter-final penalty shoot-out defeat to England, but he was crucial for one of the competition's best defences.

Switzerland faced just 2.4 shots on target per game at Euro 2024, fewer than any other side, and conceded less than one expected goal per game (0.95). 

 

Marc Guehi (England)

England's lone representative is a man who most would have deemed unlikely to start before the tournament began, Crystal Palace centre-back Guehi.

In for the injured Harry Maguire, Guehi contested (29) and won (13) more aerial duels throughout the tournament than any other England player and completed 93.5% of his passes.

Marc Cucurella (Spain)

When Luis de la Fuente named Cucurella in Spain's starting lineup for their opening game versus Croatia, there were plenty left open-mouthed by the exclusion of Bayer Leverkusen star Alex Grimaldo. 

However, just three defenders were involved in more open-play attacking sequences than Cucurella's 31, and it was his low cross that led to the tournament's decisive moment; Mikal Oyarzabal's 86th-minute final winner versus England.

Toni Kroos (Germany)

Kroos may not have enjoyed a dream send-off ahead of his retirement, but a series of metronomic midfield displays left many fans wishing he would extend his career.

He made the most line-breaking passes (141) of any player at the tournament, also completing 94.3% of his passes under pressure, the best rate of any player (minimum 100 passes attempted).

 

Fabian Ruiz (Spain)

Fabian contributed two goals and two assists throughout the tournament, his driving runs from midfield making him the perfect foil for enforcer Rodri and silky playmaker Dani Olmo.

No player won possession more often than the Paris Saint-Germain man (46 times), while he also recovered the ball seven times in the final third, setting the tone for De la Fuente's high press.

Lamine Yamal (Spain)

The Young Player of the Tournament, Yamal recorded four assists to go with his semi-final stunner against France, with no player on record (since 1980) ever teeing up more goals at a single edition of the European Championships.

One day after his 17th birthday, he surpassed Pele (17 years, 239 days) as the youngest player to play in a Euros or World Cup final, and he made his mark despite some solid work from England left-back Luke Shaw, teeing up Nico Williams' 47th-minute opener.

 

Dani Olmo (Spain)

Olmo is entitled to feel a little miffed at UEFA's decision to share the Golden Boot between all six players that managed three goals. Under the old tie-breaking method, his two assists would have earned him the prize outright.

His most telling contribution, like that of Yamal, came in the last four, a sumptuous first touch setting him up to finish across Mike Maignan for Spain's winner. 

Five goal involvements is the joint-most by a Spain player at a European Championship, along with David Silva in 2012, and all the more remarkable is the fact he only started three games.

Nico Williams (Spain)

The final Spanish representative, Williams opened the scoring in the final to become the second-youngest player to net in a Euros showpiece match (22 years, two days, behind Italy's Pietro Anastasi in 1968 at 20 years, 64 days).

Williams posted a higher expected assists (xA) total than any other player (2.06), and was La Roja's standout attacker when it mattered most against England.

Cody Gakpo (Netherlands)

The Netherlands may have suffered 90th-minute heartbreak against England in the semi-finals, but it was largely thanks to Gakpo that they made it that far.

Only Olmo and Yamal (five each) bettered his four goal involvements (three goals, one assist) as he earned a share of the Golden Boot. Only Yamal (15) and Kylian Mbappe (11), meanwhile, bettered his 10 chances created following a ball carry. 

 

Rodri believes that a member of Spain's Euro 2024 winning squad deserve to win this year's Ballon d'Or following their triumph over England on Sunday. 

Rodri, who won his fourth different player of the tournament award, was forced off during the final in Berlin at half-time after picking up an injury. 

Mikel Oyarzabal proved to be Spain's hero, scoring late to secure La Roja's fourth European Championship crown having seen Cole Palmer cancel out Nico Williams' opener.

The Manchester City midfielder also helped Pep Guardiola's side achieve a record fourth consecutive Premier League title ahead of the tournament in Germany. 

His performances on the pitch have him among the favourites to win the prestigious award alongside Real Madrid duo Vinicius Junior and Jude Bellingham. 

However, no Spaniard has won the Ballon d'Or since Barcelona's Luis Suarez in 1960, despite the award being dominated by La Liga players in recent years. 

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema have won the trophy 14 times between them during their time in Spain, while Messi claimed his eighth last year at Inter Miami for his performances at the 2022 World Cup with Argentina. 

"Spanish football deserves a Ballon d'Or winner," Rodri said. "I'm going to be honest, I would like for a Spaniard to win it, I don't care who. It would be great."

Asked about his chances of winning the award, Rodri said, "I've heard that (Champions League winners Real Madrid's) Dani Carvajal also deserves it.

"From an individual standpoint, I'm very proud of what I am doing and the recognition I'm getting. But someone else has to make that assessment."

Xherdan Shaqiri has retired from international football following the end of Euro 2024, having made 125 appearances in 14 years for Switzerland. 

Shaqiri played just twice at the tournament in Germany, featuring for 71 minutes for Murat Yakin's side in their group-stage win over Scotland and quarter-final defeat to England. 

The former Liverpool forward, who now plays his football in the MLS with Chicago Fire, scored 32 times for his nation, 10 of which came at major tournaments. 

His first appearance in an international tournament came at the 2014 World Cup, scoring the 50th hat-trick in the history of the competition against Honduras, becoming the second Swiss player after Josef Hugi in the 1954 World Cup to do so. 

Shaqiri would score one of the most iconic goals in European Championship history two years later, scoring a bicycle kick from outside the box against Poland, a game they would go on to lose on penalties. 

24 hours after England's defeat to Spain in the Euro 2024 final, Shaqiri took to Instagram to announce his departure from the international stage. 

"Seven tournaments, many goals, 14 years with the Swiss national team and unforgettable moments. It's time to say goodbye to the national team," Shaqiri wrote.

"Great memories remain and I say to you all, thank you."

 

 

Jamie Carragher believes Gareth Southgate should remain in charge of England despite their Euro 2024 final defeat to Spain. 

Southgate led England to back-to-back European Championship finals, but suffered the same outcome in both as the Three Lions' wait for an international honour goes on. 

Under his tenure, England have reached more major tournament finals in four attempts (two) than they did in their first 23 appearances at the World Cup and Euros (one). 

But the loss saw Southgate become the first manager in European Championship history to end on the losing side in two finals in what may be his final game in charge of the Three Lions. 

But for much of England's time in Germany, Southgate has come under fire for his defensive approach, though only Walter Winterbottom (383) and Alf Ramsey (224) have overseen more England goals than his 213.

It remains to be seen whether Southgate will continue in his role with the Three Lions moving forward, but Carragher insists he is the right man for the job. 

"I'd like Gareth Southgate to stay, but I'd understand if he walks away. You think of the criticism he gets, it's way over the top," Carragher told Sky Sports. 

"Who would want to take the England job? Considering you have to go and win the World Cup or next Euros to be deemed a success.

"We aren't a nation that wins trophies, we aren't Brazil. We're not a team with a history - yes, we want to change that.

"But I can't see many managers licking their lips and saying 'oh I'd like to take this on'.

"The top managers in the game are managing in the Champions League, that's where they want to be," Carragher continued. 

"International football is about the players, you can't go and buy players for your country, you have to work with what you've got.

"Maybe a different manager could get more out of this group but you would have to win a tournament - something we've done once in about 100 years.

"The best managers don't manage at international level. The Spain manager is a perfect example, most people would never have heard of him before this tournament. 

"The problem Southgate has got, is people see him as an FA guy with no background of being successful or winning things.

"The England job is not the ultimate. The top jobs are in the Premier League - that's where the money is.

"Southgate knows international football, he's brilliant with the media, he knows the players - I'm not quite sure who this manager is that everyone is crying out for."

Harry Kane has penned an emotional message to England supporters following their Euro 2024 final defeat to Spain on Sunday. 

Kane captained his country to back-to-back appearances in the showpiece fixture at the European Championships, but experienced the same outcome as he did at Wembley three years ago in Berlin. 

Nico Williams had given La Roja the lead two minutes after the restart, only for Cole Palmer to level with England's fastsest ever goal from a substitute at the Euros.

But it proved in vain as Mikel Oyarzabal netted his fifth conescutive goal from the bench late on to secure a record fourth title for Spain. 

England became the first nation in European Championship history to lose consecutive finals, losing to Italy at Euro 2020 and Luis de la Fuente's side this time around.

Despite sharing the Golden Boot with three goals, Kane endured an underwhelming tournament and was replaced on the hour-mark in the final by Ollie Watkins. 

In the 181 minutes he played across both the Euro 2020 and 2024 finals, Kane had just one shot, one touch in the opposition box and had just 58 touches of the ball.

The Bayern Munich striker's wait for a first trophy in his professional career goes on, having been a part of the Bundesliga club's first season without a trophy in 11 years. 

Kane expressed his dissapointment of losing another major tournament final, posting to X a tribute to his teammates and England fans for their support in Germany. 

It read: "Heartbroken we couldn’t achieve what we worked so hard to. It was a long tough tournament and I’m so proud of the boys and staff for getting to the final.

"Ultimately we fell short of our target and will have to live with that but as we always do we will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and be ready to fight again in an England shirt.

"Thank you to all the fans that believed in us and supported us to the very end!"

Thomas Muller has retired from international football following the end of Euro 2024, having represented Germany 131 times in 14 years.

Muller played a minor role at Germany's home tournament, coming off the bench for a total of 58 minutes in their group-stage win over Scotland and their quarter-final defeat to Spain.

The Bayern Munich legend, who turns 35 in September, scored 45 times for his country, winning the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Four years later, Muller netted five times as Germany won the 2014 World Cup, including a group-stage hat-trick versus Portugal and a goal in Die Nationalelf's memorable 7-1 semi-final rout of hosts Brazil.

One day after Spain's final victory over England brought the curtain down on Euro 2024, Muller took to social media to announce the end of his international career.

Alongside a video displaying his best moments in a Germany shirt, Muller wrote: "Hello, thank you very much for your fantastic support during my time with Germany."

The German Football Association (DFB) also posted a montage of Muller's best moments on X, alongside the caption: "Unique on and off the pitch! We will miss you… Thank you for everything!"

Muller is the second Germany great to exit the international arena in the wake of Euro 2024, with Toni Kroos retiring from all forms of football at the tournament's conclusion.

Spain are Euro 2024 champions.

La Roja got the job done on Sunday in Berlin, with Mikel Oyarzabal's late effort seeing off England in a 2-1 victory.

But with the tournament now done and dusted, which teams and players really stood out and, conversely, which ones disappointed?

Here, with the help of Opta data, we take a look.

THE TOPS

Spain

An obvious one, but where else to start but with the champions? La Roja crashed out of the 2022 World Cup, losing to Morocco on penalties, but what Luis de la Fuente has done since replacing Luis Enrique is outstanding.

While Luis Enrique had a possession obsession. De la Fuente has added a direct aspect to that possession-based build-up. Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal (more on him to come) were fantastic, while Rodri and Fabian Ruiz dovetailed brilliantly in midfield.

Dani Olmo surely put himself into the shop window for Europe's elite with some superb individual displays, first from the bench and then as a starter. He shared the Golden Boot, scoring three goals.

In defence, Marc Cucurella was picked ahead of Bayer Leverkusen's excellent Alejandro Grimaldo, but more than repaid De la Fuente's faith with some tenacious performances, while he then teed up Oyazarbal's winner in the final.

 

Spain were simply the best team at this tournament, winning all seven of their matches without needing penalties.

Since the 2002 Champions League final, Spanish teams and the Spanish national team have played in 23 major finals (Champions League, UEFA Cup, Europa League, World Cup, European Championship) against non-Spanish teams and won the trophy on all 23 occasions.

La Roja are now the first team to win the Euros on four occasions, too. Vamos!

Lamine Yamal 

A special word for Williams, who became the second-youngest player to score in a Euros final, but Yamal was the star of the show.

Having turned 17 on Saturday, Yamal is now the youngest player to appear in a Euros or World Cup final, surpassing Pele's record from 1958.

The Barcelona winger curled in a sensational equaliser against France in the last four to become the youngest player to score at the Euros, while he also supplied four assists throughout the tournament.

He is the first Spain player to register four assists in a single European Championship. It is also the joint most any player has ever assisted at a Euros that Opta has on record (from 1980 onwards).

This kid is special.

Niclas Fullkrug

Julian Nagelsmann's free-flowing, attacking football caught the eye as the host nation impressed, and German football looks to have a bright future following a few years in the wilderness. But for all the flair of youngsters Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, and the neat and tidy build-up play, Germany were arguably more potent when they had a classic number nine on the pitch.

Fullkrug was that man, coming on from the bench to score twice, including a last-gasp equaliser against Switzerland in the group stage that ultimately landed Germany in the tougher half of the draw, while he also went agonisingly close to sending the tie against Spain to penalties.

Fresh from helping Borussia Dortmund to the Champions League final, Fullkrug has now scored seven goals under Nagelsmann for Germany, more than any other player.

The main debate is probably whether he should be leading the line from the off, rather than having to settle for a super-sub role, given that of any player to score at least twice at the tournament, Fullkrug had the best minutes per goal ratio (80.5).

Giorgi Mamardashvili

Mamardashvili actually conceded more goals at Euro 2024 than any other goalkeeper (eight), but it is worth noting that four of those came in the last 16 against Spain.

And Georgia's shot-stopper deserves his place on this list of the standout performers.

After a fantastic season in LaLiga with Valencia, Mamardashvili finished as the goalkeeper with the most goals prevented (4.67) based on Opta's expected goals on target (xGoT) conceded model.

Mamardashvili made 30 saves in total, with a save percentage of 78.95%. Could he now be in for a big move ahead of next season?

 

Turkiye

It came three years later than many expected, but Turkiye - supposedly dark horses at Euro 2020 - finally impressed this time around.

Vincenzo Montella gave youth a chance in Germany, where Turkiye were buoyed by their fanatical support, giving six starts to teenagers – three for Kenan Yildiz and three for Arda Guler – a joint-record in a single edition of the finals, along with Spain at Euro 2020.

Guler was a standout performer. He became one of only three teenagers to both score and assist a goal at a single Euros, after Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo (both at Euro 2004).

The Real Madrid youngster provided his second assist as Turkiye came unstuck against the Dutch in the quarters; there had been just two occasions on record (since 1968) of a teenager providing multiple assists at a single tournament in each of the 14 previous editions combined (Enzo Scifo 1984, Ronaldo 2004).

Ultimately, the Netherlands had too much for Turkiye, but their last-16 defeat of Austria and Montella's front-foot approach saw them win admirers, and make up somewhat for losing all of their matches at Euro 2020.

THE FLOPS

France

Didier Deschamps is the most successful French coach in terms of wins - indeed, Les Bleus' victory over Austria on matchday one meant he brought up a century of victories.

But it is fair to say France, World Cup runners-up in 2022, did not impress in Germany. Indeed, it was not until the semi-finals that one of their players even managed to score a goal from open play, with their strikes before then having come via two own goals and a Kylian Mbappe penalty.

Mbappe did break his Euros duck with that successfully converted spot-kick against Poland, but the broken nose he suffered in the opening game seemed to knock France's focus, and they never got back on track.

And their 2-1 loss to Spain in that thrilling semi-final showed that a team cannot just bundle its way through a tournament without playing well; eventually, it will catch up with you.

The pre-tournament favourites could point to some bad fortune, as they did record the fourth-highest non-penalty xG figure of any team at Euro 2024 (8.38), but Deschamps' team looked short of ideas at times, with Antoine Griezmann also struggling to wield his usual influence.

 

Italy

The holders were hardly well fancied ahead of Euro 2024, but it really was a forgettable attempt at defending their title from Italy. The Azzurri fell behind to the earliest goal in Euros history, after just 23 seconds, in their opening match against Albania, and while they came back to win that match, it was the only triumph they managed.

Indeed, Italy were heading out until Mattia Zaccagni curled home in the 97th minute against Croatia, sealing a point that sent them through, but they had been comfortably beaten by Spain and subsequently capitulated without much of a fight against Switzerland in the last 16.

Luciano Spalletti only took over in September 2023 after Roberto Mancini's sudden departure, but there's plenty of work for the former Napoli boss to do.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Euros' record goalscorer could not add to his tally, not that it was down to a lack of trying. Indeed, Ronaldo had 23 shots without scoring at Euro 2024, with only another Portuguese great, Deco, having more attempts without registering at least one goal in a single edition of the Euros (24 at Euro 2004).

 

This was surely Ronaldo's final Euros. He has played at six of them, becoming the only player to do so, but it is time to bow out.

Portugal flattered to deceive the whole way through, one emphatic win over Turkiye aside, and never got back on track after losing 2-0 to Georgia at the end of the group stage. Roberto Martinez's team staggered past Slovenia on penalties, before ultimately losing by the same method to France.

Now, it should be time for Ronaldo, who was the biggest expected goals underperformer at the tournament, failing to score from 3.6 xG, to pass the baton over to the next generation. But will he want one more shot at the World Cup?

Harry Kane

Unlike Ronaldo, Kane did score. Indeed, the England captain ended up sharing the Golden Boot, as one of six players with three goals to his name.

However, that does not wholly tell the story of what was a frustrating tournament for the 30-year-old.

Kane was taken off 60 minutes into the final, having also gone off in the semi-final and quarter-final when England were level.

Across his seven appearances, he had just 27 touches in the opposition box (3.8 per game). Indeed, a startling statistic for England fans is that, across the last two Euros finals, Kane had just one touch in the opponents' area.

Scotland

Going up against the hosts in the opening game was never going to be easy, but that 5-1 hammering in Munich set the tone for a dismal tournament for Scotland.

Steve Clarke's team had peaked in qualifying, and though an admirable performance in a 1-1 draw with Switzerland gave them some hope, they came unstuck at the death against Hungary.

They exited the competition having had just 17 shots, nine fewer than any other team, and mustering an xG of just 0.95, the lowest figure in the competition.

Romelu Lukaku

It was another tournament to forget for Belgium, and one has to wonder why Domenico Tedesco's team were so lacklustre against Ukraine in their final group game, when a win could have ensured they would fall into the easier half of the draw (albeit they would have faced the Netherlands, rather than France, in the last 16).

But matters might have been different had Lukaku had his shooting boots on, too.

It is quite extraordinary that Lukaku did not manage to find the net. VAR was the bane of his existence in Belgium's shock loss to Slovakia.

Based on his xG (1.7), Lukaku should have netted at least once, probably twice, but instead, he headed home without a goal to his name.

Marc Cucurella says Spain "suffered like a family" on their way to Euro 2024 glory, while Alvaro Morata paid tribute to former team-mates Andres Iniesta and Bojan Krkic.

La Roja captured their record-breaking fourth European Championship crown on Sunday, as Mikel Oyarzabal's 86th-minute strike sealed a 2-1 victory over England in Berlin.

Although not initially among the pre-tournament favourites, Spain went from strength to strength in Germany, winning all seven of their matches.

After topping Group B with maximum points, Luis de la Fuente's side swept Georgia aside 4-1 and edged out Germany 2-1 in extra time, before coming from behind to beat France by the same scoreline in the quarter-finals.

And Cucurella highlighted the togetherness demonstrated by the group, as they delivered their nation's first piece of silverware in 12 years.

"Nobody gave us a chance," the Chelsea defender said. "We just kept quiet and, in the end, we won the Euros.

"We showed that we know how to play, but also how to suffer. We suffered like a family. When we arrived, we were a group of players. Now, we are a family.

"This is incredible, and it's already history."

Meanwhile, Morata became only the third Spain captain after Ferran Olivella (1964) and Iker Casillas (2008 and 2012) to lift the Henri Delaunay trophy.

The skipper scored just once in seven games, but worked unselfishly for the good of the team.

The forward, who has spoken of his mental health challenges in the past, said he may not have even been in Germany but for the help of some former colleagues. 

"Andres and Bojan are people that I can only thank," he said. "They've been through what I've been through, and there's always the light at the end of the tunnel.

"If it wasn't for him and Bojan, I wouldn't have played in this European Championship.

"I've put on my overalls at this [tournament], I had to free up and generate space for my team-mates. For me, that is worth more than having scored 20 goals."

Mikel Oyarzabal proved the late hero as his winner saw Spain down England 2-1 on Sunday.

Spain became the first team in history to win the European Championship on four separate occasions as Oyarzabal's smart finish four minutes from time sealed a historic victory in Berlin.

Substitute Cole Palmer had earlier cancelled out Nico Williams' second-half opener, only for Real Sociedad's Oyarzabal to break English hearts in the Three Lions' second consecutive Euros final.

Gareth Southgate's side almost levelled in the final minute, but Unai Simon and Dani Olmo were the defensive heroes for Spain as England became the first team to lose back-to-back Euros finals.

A tentative first half was devoid of gilt-edged opportunities as Spain dominated possession without reward against England's well-drilled defence.

Phil Foden spurned the best chance before the break, but he volleyed tamely straight at Simon.

The injured Rodri was removed at half-time for Martin Zubimendi in a huge Spanish blow, yet that mattered for little as La Roja cut through England with ease immediately after the interval.

Yamal ghosted inside from the right flank before sliding across towards the left of the area for an unchallenged Williams to caress a left-footed strike into the bottom-right corner.

Williams found space once more just minutes later, arrowing a left-footed drive wide from a similar angle to the opener.

Stones was required to clear off the line from Alvaro Morata, while Williams hammered off target from range and Jordan Pickford superbly denied Yamal.

Spain's failure to capitalise was punished eight minutes later. A sweeping Three Lions break saw Bukayo Saka roll inside for Jude Bellingham before his offload teed up Palmer, whose guided left-footed finish from outside the box found the bottom-left corner just three minutes after his introduction.

Pickford was once again equal to Yamal eight minutes from time, parrying away another strong two-handed save after Olmo and Williams combined to set up their teenage team-mate.

Yet Pickford had no answer when Marc Cucurella whipped low across for Oyarzabal, who prodded into the bottom-left corner for the decisive goal.

There was time for one more twist, but Simon and Olmo stood firm to thwart Rice and Stones respectively as Spain clung on for glory.

Wing wizards pave way for La Roja success

Barcelona winger Yamal, aged just 17 years and one day, surpassed Brazil's Pele – at the 1958 World Cup – as the youngest-ever player to feature in a major tournament final.

Yet another piece of history was not enough for Yamal, who has been involved in more goals for Spain in all competitions than any other player since his debut in September 2023 (10 – three goals, seven assists).

His deft assist for Williams added another memorable moment for his embryonic career, and Spain supporters may be relishing the partnership of their two star wingers in future years.

But it was La Real's Oyarzabal who proved the hero, sneaking in past Pickford to inflict further heartbreak on Southgate's England as two substitutes scored in the final of the Euros or World Cup for the first time.

Familiar fate for Three Lions

England suffered heartbreak in the delayed Euro 2020 final after penalty shoot-out failure against Italy, and though they battled all the way, failed to make amends in their first international showpiece away from home soil.

The Three Lions did themselves no favours immediately after the interval, conceding the fastest goal in the second half of a Euros final, continuing a concerning trend overall.

England have now conceded the first goal in four consecutive matches for the first time since May/June 1985, and those defensive fragilities were exposed once more when Oyarzabal found a pocket of space for the winner.

Oyarzabal's magic moment may forever haunt Southgate, who could soon depart as England manager as the first head coach in European Championship history to lose two finals.

England are also the first side to lose two consecutive Euros finals, and a new era could await after the Three Lions went so close without reward once again.

Harry Kane admits he would "swap everything I've done in my career" to win Euro 2024 with England, who face Spain in Sunday's final.

The Three Lions, who were runners-up to Italy in the delayed Euro 2020, are appearing in their second successive European Championship show-piece, and aiming to go the extra step by claiming their first major tournament silverware since lifting the 1966 World Cup.

Kane has already made history at this tournament, becoming the record goalscorer in the knockout stages of both the European Championship (six) and major tournaments overall among European players (nine).

England and Tottenham's all-time leading scorer, the Bayern Munich striker is still seeking the first team trophy of his impressive career, and he is desperate to end that wait in Berlin.

"It's no secret that I haven't won a team trophy," he told reporters during the pre-match press conference. "Every year that goes by, you are more determined and motivated to change that.

"I have the opportunity to win one of the biggest [trophies] you can ever win and make history with my nation.

"I am extremely proud to be English so, no question, I'd swap everything I've done in my career to have a special night and a win tomorrow evening, but that's not the case.

"[There will be] a lot of hard work from now and until that moment. I'm ready to go and to make tomorrow night a special one."

It will certainly not be easy for England against the most impressive team of the tournament in Spain, who have won all six of their matches while scoring 13 goals for the loss of just four.

La Roja have put host nation Germany and France to the sword along the way, and are widely regarded as the favourites to lift the Henri Delaunay cup at the Olympiastadion.

Asked if he thought that was the case, Kane added: "That's not for me or the players to decide. That's for the media, the fans to think of favourites.

"But Spain have had a fantastic tournament. They have probably been the best team, consistency-wise throughout the tournament, so they probably earn that right, but as we know in football, in one game, anything can happen.

"We back ourselves against anyone we play against. We've been through difficult spells in this tournament, but we've come through the other side. That builds a tremendous amount of belief and resilience, which is everything you need in a final.

"We expect a tough game. We're in a European final, so we expect nothing less, and Spain will be difficult tomorrow night."

Gareth Southgate believes England must win Euro 2024 on Sunday if they are to earn "the respect of the footballing world".

The Three Lions face Spain in the tournament's climax at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, aiming to land only the second major silverware of their history - 58 years after their World Cup triumph on home soil.

Runners-up to Italy at the delayed Euro 2020, England are only the fourth different nation to appear in successive European Championship finals - along with Spain, Germany and the Soviet Union.

Southgate, who has led his nation to their first major tournament final on foreign soil, has also guided them to the 2018 semi-finals and 2022 quarter-finals at the two World Cups he has overseen.

And the Three Lions head coach acknowledges all that is missing is a trophy.

"We tried to change the mindset from the start," he told reporters during his pre-match press conference. "We tried to be more honest about where we were as a football nation.

"I've travelled to World Cups, European Championships watching as an observer and watched highlight reels of matches on the big screens - and we weren't in any of them.

"We needed to change that. We had high expectations, but they didn't match where we were performance-wise. Now, the high expectations are still there, but we've had consistent performances, certainly over three of the last four tournaments and a quarter-final in the fourth.

"In the end, you have to be in the latter stages of tournaments to learn how to win the big games. A lot of records we have broken, but we know we have to do this one, to get this trophy to really feel the respect of the footballing world."

England endured an underwhelming start in Germany, topping Group C despite winning just one of their three games and scoring just two goals.

Jude Bellingham's stoppage-time strike and Harry Kane's extra-time header rescued them in their last-16 tie against Slovakia, while a penalty shootout was required to see off Switzerland in the quarter-finals.

Southgate switched from a 4-2-3-1 formation to a 3-4-3 in the latter contest, and stuck with that in the semi-finals, where England produced their best performance of the tournament as they saw off the Netherlands thanks to Ollie Watkins' last-gasp winner.

"We've had to find a different way of playing as the tournament progressed," the Three Lions head coach added. 

"We've been trying to find the right blend and balance for our attacking players because we've got super talent, but a lot who like to operate in similar areas.

"We feel we've started to find that balance. We've looked dangerous, like we could score goals again, and I'm happy with where the team were at going into this game."

Jesus Navas confirmed he will retire from international duty following Spain's Euro 2024 final showdown with England on Sunday.

The 38-year-old, who will bring the curtain down on an international career spanning 15 years, is the last remaining member of La Roja's 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship-winning sides.

Navas has appeared three times for Spain during this tournament, captaining the side in their final Group B game against Albania, while deputising for the suspended Dani Carvajal at right-back in the semi-final win over France.

The Sevilla wing-back, who will call time on his professional career later this year, admitted he has played through the pain barrier in recent years.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's final, Navas highlighted similarities between Spain's current crop and the side that won three successive major international honours from 2008 to 2012.

Although, he only lifted the lid on his international future following a conversation with skipper Alvaro Morata. 

"[Morata] told me that it was time for me to speak since it is my last game with Spain!" he told reporters during the pre-match press conference.

"I have been having a problem with my hip for four or five years, but playing for my country is everything for me.

"I just want to leave everything on the pitch. You have to die for every moment here, for your team and your country. It is the biggest thing, and I am so proud of that.

"Afterwards, everything hurts, but it is about giving it all you have on the day, to be the same person with the same kind of humility.

"I am excited about everything that I have done in football and in the national team. Being here as a 38-year-old is unique and incredible.

"In those years of success, we were a team both on and off the pitch. That was noticeable when we played, and it is the same here."

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