Euro 2024 heartbreak for Germany as former Borussia Dortmund midfielder nets 119th minute winner

Spain v Germany: Quarter-Final - UEFA EURO 2024
Spain v Germany: Quarter-Final - UEFA EURO 2024 / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Germany were knocked out of the European Championship in devastating fashion as a dramatic late winner from Mikel Merino helped Spain claim a 2-1 win.

In the end, it just wasn’t to be for Germany as their dream of winning Euro 2024 on home soil ended at the quarterfinals stage. Despite dominating proceedings and creating the better chances, Julian Nagelsmann’s side fell to a 2-1 defeat against Spain on Friday evening.

It was former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mikel Merino who came up with the decisive goal in the 29th minute of extra time, breaking the hearts of the Germany fans at the Stuttgart Arena and throughout the country.

RB Leipzig attacking midfielder Dani Olmo was the star of the show for Spain, as he scored the opening goal in the 51st minute before setting up Merino for the winner. Niclas Füllkrug had the opportunity to score a late equaliser for Germany, but the Borussia Dortmund striker failed to keep his header on target in the 123rd minute.

Dubbed as the most anticipated match of Euro 2024 so far, Spain vs. Germany certainly lived up to the billing as both teams played with excellent tenacity and at a high tempo. The opening goal of this breathless encounter came in the 51st minute, with Olmo finding the bottom corner after coming on from the bench to replace the injured Pedri.

It appeared that Olmo’s goal would prove to be the winner as Germany missed chance after chance in the second-half. Füllkrug came off the bench and hit the post, and Kai Havertz fired just over the bar with a chip from long range. But Florian Wirtz pulled Germany back on level terms with a minute left in normal time with a fine finish off the post.

Germany were then controversially denied a penalty in the 106th minute as the ball struck Marc Cucurella's hand inside the box. And just when it looked like the game would be decided on penalties, Merino stepped up and scored to send Spain into the semifinals, where they will face France.

Plenty of tears were shed in the Germany camp as their promising Euro 2024 campaign came to a rather abrupt and heartbreaking end. The DFB team played a very good game, but a lack of cutting edge and some poor refereeing proved to be costly against a strong Spain side.