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How Olmo became Spain's creative force at Euro 2024

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Dani Olmo did not start Euro 2024 as part of Spain coach Luis de la Fuente's first-choice side, but how the three-time champions finish will depend in no small part on him.

The 26-year-old RB Leipzig attacking midfielder replaced the injured Pedri against Germany early on in the quarter-final and contributed to both of Spain's goals in a thrilling 2-1 extra-time victory.

Olmo slotted home the first and created the second for Mikel Merino in a superb display in Stuttgart, and is set to start against France in the semi-final on Tuesday.

At the beginning of the group phase, with Barcelona playmaker Pedri fit and in form, De la Fuente opted for him as the team's central creator over Olmo.

In the past, the technically gifted Olmo has also operated on the left for Spain, but electric Athletic Bilbao winger Nico Williams has proven undroppable this summer.

Instead, Olmo waited patiently for his chances to come and made sure he took them, firstly in Spain's third group-stage match against Albania.

They won 1-0 and Olmo impressed, setting up Ferran Torres for the only goal of the game.

"Dani Olmo is a superb player, a fantastic footballer, I really value him," said De la Fuente.

"He thinks about the team more than himself as an individual."

The versatile playmaker tucked away Spain's fourth in the last-16 romp over Georgia as a substitute, and when he stepped in for Pedri against Germany after just eight minutes, he needed no time to acclimatise to the pace of the game.

Olmo forced a good save from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer before breaking the deadlock with a clinical finish after 51 minutes.

The midfielder then curled in a dangerous ball for Merino to head home when the game seemed set for the lottery of penalties.

'Bring on the semis'

"I'm exhausted but I'm so proud of the fantastic team we have, how we fought to the end, it's incredible, I'm so happy," said Olmo after he was named player of the match.

"It's everyone's tournament, that's what matters the most ... this win is for (Pedri) and everyone, and bring on the semi-finals."

Pedri suffered a knee sprain after a robust tackle by veteran Germany midfielder Toni Kroos and will be out for the remainder of the tournament.

De la Fuente has kept all his squad onside and ready to contribute, and Olmo is the best example of how that has paid off.

Pedri is not the only regular starter De la Fuente is missing for the semi-final clash against Les Bleus in Munich.

Right-back Dani Carvajal was sent off late in extra time against Germany and Robin Le Normand is also suspended.

Nacho Fernandez and Jesus Navas are the most likely candidates to fill in and the coach said he has full belief in any of his squad.

"I have 26 top players who are competitive for these matches. f one is absent, another will play," he explained.

"This group has exceptional human and footballing qualities. I know they won't let me down."

Olmo certainly did not against Germany, although his Berlin-born partner might have a different opinion.

Didier Deschamps' dull but durable France have proven hard to break down thus far, conceding just one goal in five matches, the best record out of the four semi-finalists.

Spain, by contrast, are the leading scorers and Olmo's job is to help them unpick the blue wall and take La Roja to the Berlin final on July 14.

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