Spain's 16-year-old Lamine Yamal becomes youngest-ever scorer at European Championship

MUNICH (AP) — Lamine Yamal became the youngest player ever to score at the European Championship when the 16-year-old netted a stunning goal for Spain in its European Championship semifinal 2-1 victory over France on Tuesday.

Yamal will turn 17 on Saturday, a day before the final in Berlin against either England or the Netherlands.

“I only ask to win, win and win," said Yamal, who was voted player of the match. "I will celebrate my birthday in Germany with my team.”

Yamal struck in the 21st minute, curling the ball past France goalkeeper Mike Maignan from around 25 yards and into the top left corner.

"I don’t know if it is the best goal of the tournament, but it is the most special goal for me because it is my first goal with the team at a European Championship," he said.

Yamal is 16 years and 362 days old. The previous youngest scorer at a European Championship was Swiss player Johan Vonlanthen (18 years, 141 days), against France at Euro 2004.

“We are very happy to reach the final. Now comes the most important part — winning the title," Yamal said. “We were in a difficult stretch after not expecting to concede so early. I just took the ball and wanted to put it right there.

“I don’t try to think about it too much, just enjoy myself and help the team, and if it goes my way, then I am happy (for the goal) and for the win.”

Yamal came to Euro 2024 with a bunch of “youngest” records, and has inevitably set more. He became the youngest player to feature at a men’s Euro when he started in Spain’s opening 3-0 win over Croatia.

The Barcelona teenager was already the youngest player to debut and score in the Spanish league at 15, the youngest player to start in the Champions League and the youngest to score for Spain.

“We saw a touch of genius by a great player who we all know and have to nurture forward," Spain coach Luis de la Fuente said. "And I can only advise him to keep going forward with the same humility and work ethic and with his feet firmly on the ground.

"He will keep improving with the same attitude, professionality and maturity that he shows during games, despite being so young, which makes him look older and more experienced than he really is. But above all he should enjoy playing for us. Hopefully we can enjoy him for many years.”

Yamal's goal Tuesday canceled out Randal Kolo Muani's opener for France — that was set up by Kylian Mbappé, who was playing without a mask.

Spain turned the match around four minutes after Yamal's equalizer when Dani Olmo's goal-bound shot was turned into the net by France defender Jules Koundé. It was originally adjudged by UEFA to have been an own-goal but was later awarded to Olmo.

“They scored first but we planned well for the game and stuck to our plan. Lamine scored a great goal,” Olmo said.

Yamal almost nabbed another spectacular goal nine minutes from time with a powerful strike that flew narrowly over the crossbar.

“When there was only half an hour to go I was thinking that we were going to the final,” Yamal said. “I could only think that.”

“And when the referee blew the final whistle I was very happy because I always remember the last European Championship that I saw with my friends in a shopping mall,” he said, recalling the last time he had to watch as a spectator. "This is a dream come true to reach the final with the national team.”


The lead and headline of this story has been corrected to show that Yamal is the youngest player to score in the European Championship, but not in all major international tournaments.


AP writer Joseph Wilson in Barcelona, Spain contributed to this report.


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