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France advances to Euro 2024 semifinals without scoring a single goal in open play

France advances to Euro 2024 semifinals without scoring a single goal in open play

On Friday, France advanced to the Euro 2024 semifinals with a penalty shootout win over Portugal. But the win also came with an unusual historic milestone: With the victory, France becomes the first team in Euros history to reach the semifinal without any goals scored in open play.

In five games so far in the tournament, all of France's goals have come either from own goals or penalty kicks. Les Bleus have also had two games where they went scoreless, with a 0-0 draw against the Netherlands in the group stage and Friday's 0-0 (5-3) shootout win over Portugal.

In a Euros where the own goal is having a generational tournament, France has benefited its fair share. An own goal in the group stage gave Les Bleus a crucial three points in a 1-0 win over Austria, while another against Belgium allowed France to advance to the quarterfinals with the 1-0 win. So far, nine own goals have been scored in the tournament — an unprecedented number.

France, however, has also not conceded any goals in open play. The only goal allowed by Les Bleus so far was a penalty kick from Polish captain Robert Lewandowski in a group stage game.

Lewandowski's penalty equalized France's only non-own goal goal so far this tournament, a penalty kick from captain Kylian Mbappé. With the 1-1 draw, France just barely edged out the Netherlands to advance to the knockout stage.

It's tough to see France, the No. 2 team in the world based on current FIFA rankings, struggle to score. The problem, however, doesn't seem to be shooting: France has outshot all of its opponents so far, racking up 87 shots over five games, with 20 shots on target.

For now, France has held on despite troubles with getting the ball in the net, but it won't be so easy going forward. The French will now face Spain in the semifinals on Tuesday. Spain is a team that has had little trouble finding the net, with 11 goals in its five Euro games. All but one, an Italian own goal, came in open play.

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