Spain’s Lamine Yamal, 16, ‘Genius’ In Euro Record Evening

Spain coach, Luis de la Fuente praised Lamine Yamal’s “genius” after the 16-year-old became the youngest player to score at a men’s European Championship. Yamal’s spectacular goal helped Spain secure a 2-1 semifinal victory over 2018 World Cup champions France.

Yamal equalized Randal Kolo Muani’s opening goal with a stunning 21st-minute shot from 25 meters that sped past French goalkeeper Mike Maignan at 102 km/h (60 mph). Dani Olmo added Spain’s second goal four minutes later, completing the comeback and setting up a final in Berlin against either England or the Netherlands on Sunday.

“We witnessed genius today,” De la Fuente said in a news conference. “We need to take care of him, advise him to maintain his humility, and keep his feet on the ground. He will continue to grow, but his maturity and attitude are already impressive for his age. We are fortunate he is Spanish and can enjoy his talents for many years.”

Yamal’s first goal of the tournament, adding to his three assists, made him the youngest scorer in Euros history at 16 years and 362 days old, surpassing the previous record set by Switzerland’s Johan Vonlanthen in 2004. Yamal also became the youngest player to appear in the Euros at 16 years and 338 days old during Spain’s Group B win over Croatia.

“I’m thrilled we made it to the final, but our main goal is to win it,” said Yamal, who will turn 17 on the eve of the final. “After conceding early, scoring was a moment of pure joy. I aimed for the top corner, and it felt incredible when it went in. I try to stay focused, enjoy myself, and help the team. I want to win all the matches and celebrate my birthday in Germany with my teammates.”

Yamal appeared to respond to comments from France midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who had suggested before the game that the youngster needed to prove himself further to reach the final. In a social media post, Yamal hinted at his response, saying, “Speak only when it’s time to say checkmate.” After the victory, he told the camera, “Speak now, speak now,” indicating the message was for Rabiot.

Spain has won all six of their matches at the Euros, with their style of play earning praise compared to the more defensive approaches of pre-tournament favorites France and England. “We provide the players with a model and a strong idea to follow,” De la Fuente said. “Our team’s characteristics allow us to be versatile. Knowing our players helps us play to their strengths and adapt our tactics. Football is about conviction in your ideas, not chance.”

De la Fuente also downplayed concerns about captain Álvaro Morata, who was accidentally knocked over by a steward during celebrations. He assured that Morata should be fit for the final, with Dani Carvajal and Robin Le Normand also returning from suspension.