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Llanelli Town STRAIGHT UP RECORD

Llanelli Town STRAIGHT UP STREAK

1 WIN IN A ROW

Llanelli Town AGAINST THE SPREAD RECORD

Llanelli Town AGAINST THE SPREAD STREAK

1 WIN IN A ROW

Llanelli Town TOTAL OVER / UNDER RESULTS

Llanelli Town TOTAL OVER / UNDER STREAK

2 OVERS IN A ROW

Llanelli Town AVERAGE GOALS FOR (GF)

3.0

Llanelli Town AVERAGE GOALS AGAINST (GA)

0.9

Llanelli Town AVERAGE GAME GOALS TOTAL (GF+GA)

3.9

Related News (Soccer News)

Spain phenom Lamine Yamal has electrified Euro 2024. In hometown, family and friends not surprised

13h ago
Soccer News (AP)

Spain phenom Lamine Yamal has electrified Euro 2024. In hometown, family and friends not surprised

MATARO, Spain (AP) - In the working-class neighborhood where Spain's teenage phenom Lamine Yamal grew up, there are two soccer fields divided by a chain-link fence.

Next to the green carpet of the local soccer club, local lore has it that Yamal played with his friends on a small concrete slab where boys and girls now come daily to have a kickaround. Balls fly through the net-less goal frame and smack into a wall bearing the neighborhood's name in big graffiti-style letters: Rocafonda.

But Yamal's days of playing pickup games vanished as he blossomed into global soccer's newest rising star. Now instead of watching him from a bench, his neighbors will gather around televisions, smart phones, or a large screen installed in a park come Sunday to root for Yamal to lead Spain to victory over England in the final of the European Championship.

"He can no longer just take a walk down the street," said Juan Carlos Serrano, the owner of small bar where Yamal's father would bring him for breakfast before taking the 90-minute train ride south to practice with Barcelona, the club he joined at age 7.

"The people are just all over him, and he is just 16 years old. He is just a kid," Serrano said. "People are just now discovering him, but we knew long before that he was going to stand out."

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The fervor caused by Yamal has also swept up his father, Mounir Nasraoui, who made a visit to see Serrano before going to Germany to celebrate his son's 17th birthday on Saturday.

"I am proud and happy," Nasraoui told The Associated Press while sitting at a table under the framed shirt of Yamal's debut with Barcelona's reserve team, making him the youngest player to do so at age 15.

Yamal quickly topped that with precocious debuts and scoring milestones for Barcelona's senior team and for Spain.

"I always thought he would get this far, but I kept that to myself," Nasraoui said. "Every father thinks that his son will be the best. Whether that will prove true, that depends on the destiny of each one of us."

As for Sunday's final, his dad said: "We will win for sure."

Three-zero-four

Yamal holds up three fingers and makes a circle with his index finger and thumb, while extending four fingers on the other hand. Arms crossed over this chest, he flashes a smile - glimpse of braces included - to put the finishing touch on his particular goal celebration.

While undecipherable to millions of spectators, the peculiar hand sign Yamal made after scoring his first goals for club and country represented the last three digits of the postal code of Rocafonda: 304.

Rocafonda is home to 10,000 of the 130,000 people who live in Mataro, a coastal town north of Barcelona. From the streets of the hilly area a blue strip of the Mediterranean Sea can be seen in the distance.

The diversity of Rocafonda, and a patchwork of similar neighborhoods in cities across Spain, is reflected on the streets. Immigrants run several of the local shops. Kids from all backgrounds play soccer while men in Muslim gowns trickle past on their way to a nearby mosque.

Son of a Moroccan father and a mother from Equatorial Guinea, Spain's former colony in sub-Saharan Africa, Yamal helps represent a new, multicultural Spain, a country undergoing a demographic shift where people immigrate while Spain's birth rate plummets.

"The (304 hand sign) has become popular across all the city, not just the Rocafonda neighborhood," said Rocafonda alderman Jose Antonio Ricis. "People from different postal codes are equally thrilled that he remembers the city, his neighborhood, his people."

Anointed by Messi

After being spotted by a scout, Yamal entered Barcelona's famed La Masia training academy, where he would follow in the footstep of his idol, Lionel Messi.

The two players had already been linked by fate - or the soccer gods? - thanks to a photo shoot for a charity calendar that featured a long-haired Messi bathing a baby Yamal in a tiny plastic tub. The 2007 photo recently resurfaced after Yamal's father posted it online, causing a huge stir in both professional and social media with many fans seeing the chance encounter as a sort of anointing by Messi of his heir apparent.

"These are coincidences that happen in life, and later, it turns out this boy is good at soccer," Nasraoui called that twist of fate. "It is blessing from God."

Yamal went to live at Barcelona youth players' residence at age 13 while he quickly moved up through its underage sides despite facing opponents sometimes three years older.

And those slick, gliding moves, those dribbling details, precise crosses, that Yamal has used to dazzle rivals in Germany were already there.

No tears

Yamal's meteoric rise has actually been going on since he was old enough to kick a ball.

He spent his earliest years between Mataro and another town less than a half-an-hour away, where his mother went to live when he was a toddler.

Inocente Diez helps run the soccer program at Yamal's first club, La Torreta FC, near where his mother resided. She would bring him to practice, and when she couldn't, his father would. Or Diez said he would also pick him up sometimes because the child never wanted to miss practice.

Now the summer camp run by La Torreta bears the name of "Campus Lamine Yamal." Yamal's picture is on the poster for the camp, and one family stopped to take a photo of the field with Yamal's Spain shirt.

Diez said that in his 50 years in soccer he has never seen a talent like Yamal. The youngster played with kids two or three years older and was the leader of a team that won their league title.

"Lots of kids can at one given moment score a great goal or do something special, but he did it in every single game," Diez said. "He was a very quiet kid, very respectful, formal, and committed to playing with the ball.

"At that age it is normal for the kids to sometimes want to leave the field, then want to see their mom, they can sometimes cry. Not him. He only wanted to play and play."

Yamal was already one of the outstanding players of the Euro 2024 before he upstaged Kylian Mbappe - his soon-to-rival at Real Madrid next season - by scoring an exquisite curling strike from outside the area to help rally Spain past France 2-1 in the semifinals.

"Ahh. I teared up," Diez said about the goal that became an instant classic.

"It was very emotional. Because he is from here."

___

AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

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Article Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
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