Four teams are one win away from the EURO 2020 Final, with two huge Semi Finals in store at Wembley Stadium. The standout side of the tournament Italy take on Spain in a mouthwatering clash on Wednesday morning. On Thursday Wembley will be roaring as England face off against Denmark. It’s going to be a massive couple days of football, and we’ve got you covered with tips and previews for the Semi Finals!
Wednesday 5:00am AEST, Wembley Stadium
The Azzurri outlasted world number one Belgium 2-1, in a gripping Quarter Final extending their unbeaten streak to 32 matches. Spain once again were pushed to the brink, going to extra time for the second game in a row. However it went to penalties against Switzerland, and they produced the goods to set up a rematch of the Euro 2012 final. Leonardo Spinazolla’s achilles injury has been the only blemish in what has been an outstanding campaign for the Italians. The balance Roberto Mancini has brought since his appointment in 2018 was profound in their victory. Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini nullified Romelu Lukaku’s influence in general play, Marco Verratti, Jorginho and Nicolo Barella controlled the tempo of the game through midfield. The control upfield saw Insigne, Immobile and Chiesa wreak havoc as they have done all tournament.
Although the 2-1 scoreline caused a tight finish, Italy were the better team and will have full belief that they are the best side remaining. The midfield battle looms as the key in this match with the two of the best midfields in world football going head to head. Spain (73%) and Italy (57%) are ranked first and third for time in possession at the tournament, with their midfield dominance allowing them to control games. Sergio Busquets, Koke and Pedri going head to head with Verratti, Jorginho and Barella will play a huge role in the outcome of this game. Spain’s inability to convert goals is a massive concern, especially against a ruthless Italian side. Spain have had 19 non penalty big chances this tournament, and 15 expected goals at Euro 2020, yet have only scored 12 goals, with 10 of those coming in two games against Slovakia and Croatia.
They had an expected goal tally of 3 against a ten man Switzerland, yet could only muster one goal and needed penalties to win. Italy have shown they’ve got an excellent spread of attacking weapons with six different goal scorers, and four of those (Insigne, Immobile, Pessina and Locatelli) scoring multiple goals. Both teams won’t have the midfield dominance they’re used to, so being able to convert chances will be crucial in this clash. Spain have played 120 minutes in their last two matches and that will eventually have an effect on them. Italy have been perfect with five wins from five games so far this tournament, and Spain have struggled for consistency throughout the tournament. Italy to win a tough encounter.
Thursday 5:00am AEST, Wembley Stadium
England produced their best performance of Euro 2020, with a dominant 4-0 win over Ukraine in the Quarter Final. After losing their opening two games at the tournament, the fairytale run for Denmark continued on the back of a 2-1 victory against the Czech Republic. England head back to Wembley with not only the huge advantage of playing home, but the advantage of the lack of travel they’ve done in this tournament compared to the other three sides remaining. England are peaking at the right time of the tournament, with the worries that surrounded the team early in the tournament seeming like distant memories.
Harry Kane has bagged three goals from his past two games, Raheem Sterling has three goals and an assist from five games, and has caused chaos for opposing defences. Gareth Southgate has defied the critics, producing outstanding tactical performances throughout the tournament, and now has England within two games of their first piece of silverware in 55 years. England’s stoic defence has been remarkable. From Harry Magurie’s aerial dominance, to Luke Shaw’s remarkable redemption story, this England defence is firing. Shaw’s three assists shows that this defence is not only thwarting opponents, but they’re creating English attacks. Shaw is ranked number one for England in chances created and assists at Euro 2020. They’ve gone seven games without conceding, and became the first team ever to record five clean sheets from its first five games at a European Championship.
Denmark have done an incredible job to recover from the shock of Christian Eriksen, however they face a massive task against England. The Danes were unconvincing against the Czech Republic, with the Czechs having more possession and shots on goal. With England’s defence in outstanding form, they won’t get the clear cut chances they took advantage of against the Czech Republic. England’s ability to score from set pieces will be a huge factor in this game, with it likely to be a slow game given the strength of both teams' defence. This is going to be a tight, cagey affair, but England have the attacking quality to break the game open. With 60,000 fans at Wembley, there's going to be a huge home ground advantage. It just might be coming home.
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