Spain manager Luis de la Fuente reacts as England beat Netherlands to reach Euro 2024 final

Luis de la Fuente’s Spain side have been the standout team at Euro 2024 (Picture: Getty)

Luis de la Fuente is anticipating a ‘very tough’ clash with England in Sunday’s Euro 2024 final, though believes his Spain team have played the superior football in Germany.

The Spain head coach watched on with interest as England beat the Netherlands to a place in this weekend’s showpiece thanks to a stunning last-gasp winner from substitute Ollie Watkins.

Wednesday’s semi-final had appeared destined for extra time as both teams struggled in pursuit of a winner after Harry Kane’s penalty cancelled out a wondergoal from Xavi Simons in an absorbing first half.

But Gareth Southgate’s men prevailed to seal their spot in a second successive European Championship final, three years on from a painful penalty-shootout defeat at the hands of Italy at Wembley.

Southgate must now prepare England for a first ever final on foreign soil versus Spain, who swept past France on Tuesday to further cement their status as the most complete team at this summer’s tournament.

Asked how he viewed England’s dramatic semi-final defeat of the Dutch, De la Fuente told Spanish outlet La 1: ‘Both teams were very tough opponents.

‘We are going to complete the list of teams that have played against all the great teams in this competition and it couldn’t be any other way. The two best teams will make it to the final.

‘We had dinner and were watching the match and then, more relaxed, we were in our office, analysing it in a more relaxed way. Now our work day begins to analyse England in more detail.’

Watkins was England’s unlikely hero in Dortmund (Picture: Getty)

De la Fuente refused to reveal if he ideally wanted one team to prevail over another in Dortmund but said he was expecting a ‘demanding match’ against an England team hunting a first major title in 58 years.

Asked whether he had a preference between England and the Netherlands, De la Fuente replied: ‘There are opinions and tastes for all colours. They were two great teams.

‘At the start of the tournament they would be have been within that pack of teams that were candidates to win the title and that is what happened.

‘England are very powerful, with experienced and seasoned players. It is going to be a very tough and demanding match.’

Spain overcame France in Tuesday’s thrilling semi-final (Picture: Getty)

While De la Fuente is confident Spain have ‘played better’ than England at the Euros, he said his players would have to find another gear to come away from Berlin with victory.

Pressed on whether Spain are a more ‘frightening’ team than England, De la Fuente responded: ‘England have some great players and are very powerful.

‘We have played better than them but that doesn’t have any influence on the match.

‘I don’t have to name any player who stands out. They have a proven track record at international level, but we want to continue growing and improve the level we have played.

‘We will have to find an even better version of ourselves to win the final.’

Facing the media shortly after his side’s win, Southgate admitted that England’s next opponents had been the most convincing team at the entire tournament.

‘To be able to take this team to a first final overseas I am immensely proud off,’ the England head coach told reporters.

‘We play the team who have been the best in the tournament and have had an extra day to prepare. But we are still here and still fighting.’

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