Lamine Yamal’s wonder goal leads Spain past France and into Euro 2024 final

Maybe this is how new empires rise. Out of the ruins of the old, with fresh visions and fresh blood, a supremacy that creates its own logic as it goes, until it begins to feel inevitable. Spain have taken the hardest possible road to Berlin, conquered Italy and Croatia and Germany and now France: their longest winning streak since 2010, a first final since 2012, and perhaps the strongest indication yet that this is a team worth remembering.

Indeed to anoint Spain as worthy finalists is to damn them with crushingly faint praise. In a way they have made this tournament, perhaps even saved it: shown that amid a fatberg of low blocks and tired, malfunctioning attacks it is possible for football to express as well as extinguish. Their women are already world champions and on Sunday the men have a chance to emulate their model: a little craft, a little graft and just a sprinkling of magic.

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