“It’s the same problem for everyone,” suggests Luis de la Fuente ahead of EURO2024 semifinal

As he prepares to ready Spain for their EURO2024 semifinal against France in Munich on Tuesday, Luis de la Fuente suggested that recovery has been hampered by the short turnaround times between games – though he accepts every team has the same problem.

What did Luis de la Fuente say?

“Like against Germany, this could be the final,” the Spaniard admitted at the very start of his press conference. The magnitude of the task ahead is not lost on Luis de la Fuente, entering his first major tournament with la Roja after taking the head coach role in December 2022.

That Germany match was a thriller. Dani Olmo opened the scoring at the start of the first half, with Florian Wirtz spectacularly forcing an equaliser with just a minute of regulation time remaining. It would all end in heartbreak for Germany though, with Mikel Merino finding the back of the net in the dying seconds of extra time to ensure die Mannschaft crash out of their home tournament.

Reflecting on Spain’s style, de la Fuente suggested that “our model is close to that of a beautiful spectacle. We are a very showy team, but here it’s about winning. We have to be eye-catching, but we also have to be practical.”

(Photo by Jasmin Walter – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

“Fortunately, I have solid support: the coaching staff, the players…. Those of us who make up this family. We have enjoyed a lot. Today we are where we wanted to be, preparing for the semifinals. We are full of happiness, but with the ambition that we want to reach the final. Whatever happens tomorrow, we will be very happy,” he noted.

Despite that outburst of optimism, the 63-year-old found time to bemoan the preparation window that his Spain side have been forced to work with. “It’s just a few days – travel [and] stress doesn’t help us to recover completely, but it’s the same problem for all of us,” he added.

“We’ll see how we are tomorrow, and as the match develops, we’ll see how they are. I think we are ready to play this match. France are one of the strongest teams in the tournament, but we know how we have to fight them.”

Didier Deschamps’ France have been criticised for their ‘boring’ approach to football at EURO2024, but de la Fuente won’t make the mistake of underestimating les Bleus, he insisted.

“I only value the potential of the team,” he explained, adding that players of Kylian Mbappé’s ability “can afford the luxury of not appearing in a match and then deciding it in two actions.”

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