Who will win Euros? Insiders from last four give their verdicts

A split image of England's Jude Bellingham, France's Kylian Mbappe, Netherlands' Virgil van Dijk, Spain's Lamine YamalGetty Images

Four teams are preparing for the semi-finals of Euro 2024, with Spain set to face France on Tuesday while England take on the Netherlands the following day.

Spain are seeking to win the tournament for the fourth time, having most recently triumphed in 2012.

France last won it 24 years ago while the Dutch triumphed in 1988 – and England are of course hoping to end their wait for a first European Championship.

So who is looking in the best shape for their semi-final, and who could win it all?

BBC Sport asked experts from each country for their views, and you can vote for who you think will lift the trophy at the end.

Spain players celebrate their victory against Germany

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Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague:

Spain played in three different ways against Germany. While we were superior to the previous four opponents, we were not against Germany. However we did not give up and got the victory, so it was a different test and we came out of it well.

It was a different test because it was very physical; it was the most amount of fouls in a game in a European Championship since 2016, but we showed we are not now scared of a physical battle.

We played with wingers, then without wingers and no striker and then finally 4-2-4 in extra time, which means we have layers. The main thing is we adapted to everything Germany threw at us. Yes we could have lost, but we were never far away from winning it either.

Against France we know we will have to take the initiative, like we had to do against Italy, Albania and Georgia. We will have to be careful against counter-attacks.

I know for France to win they do not have to play well, but we are also able to win without playing well.

Perhaps we are not as efficient as we should be with our shots, but because we press so often, eventually we tend to crack the nut and that will happen against France.

We have suspensions while Pedri was injured in the last game, and we will also have to be careful against France’s pace in the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe.

But it will go down to what Spain does without the ball – and we are the best team at pressing high, even ‘though there are tired legs – and with the ball.

I think we will beat France and will meet England in the final.


‘Despite modest performances England are contenders’

England players celebrate their penalty shootout win against Switzerland

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BBC Sport’s chief football writer Phil McNulty:

England must harness the resilience they have shown in the face of adversity and the individual brilliance from Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka that has put them in the semi-final into a more cohesive team performance to beat the Netherlands.

Gareth Southgate’s side have struggled in Euro 2024 against sides who have defended deep, so the more attacking approach of the Netherlands might just suit them and give England’s creative players more room for manoeuvre.

England will need to be at their best defensively because the Dutch pose a serious threat in attack, with Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo having a fine tournament and the unpredictable Memphis Depay always dangerous.

If England get it right they can trouble a Netherlands defence that has looked vulnerable under pressure, with the potential battle between the respective captains Harry Kane and Virgil van Dijk a key component.

Kane struggled desperately in England’s quarter-final against Switzerland, looking physically short and off the pace, but you would still not bet against him taking the big chance if one comes along.

England are now, despite indifferent performances so far, in a position where they are serious contenders to win Euro 2024. They have reached the semi-finals almost in spite of themselves, but confidence must surely be growing and teams often get a sense of destiny being with them at this stage of major competitions – think Greece in 2004 and Portugal in 2016.

If England were to win their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup, this would not surprise me – but while a sixth sense says England, the head says Spain.

Spain have looked the best team in what has been a mixed Euro 2024 although they could still come unstuck against a hugely talented but regimented France under Didier Deschamps.

None of France’s players have scored a goal from open play while Spain have been fluent with Lamine Yamal, who is not 17 until the day before the final, a revelation in a side that also boasts world-class talent in the shape of figures such as Manchester City’s Rodri.

Spain have a potent mix of youth and experience, are growing into the competition and have looked the most impressive team from the start – but I believe they will have to get past England to win Euro 2024.


‘Mbappe will become Mbappe again’

Kylian Mbappe gestures during a Euro 2024 game

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French football journalist Julien Laurens:

We have seen the best of France defensively, certainly. This is what they do, it is their style and it is their DNA. It is also how you win tournaments, being solid defensively.

Where they have perhaps not been at their best is with the ball. They do not play sexy football, it is not what they are about – but they have been lacking in terms of creating chances. They are usually more effective in the opposition’s box.

Along with Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe has possibly been the biggest disappointment at this tournament.

There are a few explanations, the first being the mask he has had to wear after breaking his nose against Austria. In that game he had looked quite sharp. He also had a few fitness issues before the Euros, so I do not think he is fully fit – but the mask is also really bothering him.

If there is one team that can frustrate Spain more than any other here, it is France.

For me, with Spain’s problems in midfield as a result of Pedri’s injury it will be a case of who wins the battle in the middle. The physical impact the France midfield has is incredible and that is where the game will be won.

This will be a big game for Antoine Griezmann considering he has spent more of his career in Spain than in France, so we need him and Mbappe to raise their games.

I want a France-England final and I think France, of the four semi-finalists, have the ruthlessness and the experience of this level. I also think at some point Kylian will become Kylian again and will be unbeatable.


‘Time running out for England & Netherlands’

Wout Weghorst celebrates as the Netherlands beats Turkey

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Dutch football writer Jesper Langbroek:

The Turkey game I think showed the Netherlands have a good Plan B – using Wout Weghorst as a striker with Memphis Depay just behind.

England played with five defenders against Switzerland, so it made it very compact in that area. I think this is the way we need to play if we are going to do it.

The thing I have noticed with this team is they need a wake-up call to get going. They had that against Austria and then against Romania they were good. Then they had another wake-up call when Turkey took the lead in the quarter-final.

There is more in both these teams but they are not coming out yet – and that is a similarity between the sides.

I think the winner will come from the other side of the draw. England and the Netherlands have not yet been tested really; they have faced some good teams but not played the big countries as they are on the other side of the draw.

I think Spain will win because they are playing good football as a collective. England, France and the Netherlands are still waiting to get everything together, but time is running out.


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