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Germany, Spain scoreless after physical first half from Stuttgart

Rodri Spain Ilkay Gundogan Germany Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan - The Canadian Press

With both teams intent on attacking, Germany and Spain played to a scoreless first half of their UEFA Euro 2024 quarter-finals tie from Stuttgart.

A physical first 45 minutes saw both teams throw their full weight behind challenges in an, at times, chippy encounter.

In the game's first minute, Nico Williams found Alvaro Morata right at the penalty spot. The Atletico man teed up for the trailing Pedri, but his low shot was directly at Manuel Neuer.

It would be one of Pedri's last acts of the match. In the fifth, Pedri went down after a thundering challenge from Toni Kroos. While the former Real Madrid midfielder did initially make contact with the ball, he crunched into Pedri with the follow-through. The Barcelona man attempted to play on, but he was forced to come off for Dani Olmo in just the eighth minute.

In the 13th, Antonio Rudiger took Olmo down outside the area and referee Anthony Taylor presented him with a yellow card. The booking means that the Real Madrid central defender will be suspended for the semi-final should Germany reach it. From the subsequent free kick, Lamine Yamal's shot was deflected by the wall and went harmlessly wide, sparing the blushes of Manuel Neuer who appeared to be caught flat-footed by it.

Unai Simon got his first real test of the match in the 20th. Joshua Kimmich whipped a cross into the area with Kai Havertz leaping to meet it, but he sent his header directly into the arms of the Athletic goalkeeper.

Minutes later, Aymeric Laporte came forward with little resistance and took a pop at Neuer from distance that the Bayern Munich keeper dealt with easily.

Laporte's partner in central defence found himself in a spot of bother in the 30th. Robin Le Normand was booked for a foul on Ilkay Gundogan that will rule the Real Sociedad centre-back out of the semi-final should Spain reach it.

In the 34th, Havertz did well to cut inside Le Normand to latch onto a deep ball from Rudiger, but his shot on goal was another tame one that didn't trouble Simon.

Only seconds later, Williams danced behind Kimmich to get in on Neuer and sent a shot to the near post that was parried away for Neuer's best stop of the match. The flag went up right afterwards, but replays showed that Williams might have been onside.

Then a shot from Olmo from distance toubled Neuer, who was only able to parry into the path of Morata. After an awkward first touch, Morata wasn't able to do anything with his opportunity, which might have been ruled out for offside if anything did come of it.

The winner of the match will meet the winner of Friday's other quarter-final, Portugal versus France, in the final four.