The semifinals of Euro 2020 will be contested over two days starting on Tuesday when Italy face Spain. Here’s a look at the semifinal matchups and who’s likely to reach the final.
And then there were four.
The pandemic-delayed Euros marches onto the semifinal round with two tasty matchups at London’s famed Wembley Stadium: Italy will play against Spain on Tuesday, while England will be at home versus Denmark.
Italy and England, two teams who have had a very impressive European Championship over the past three weeks, are favored to advance — although Spain and Denmark have gone further than most had predicted on the eve of the tournament. One or both these nations could have more upsets in store for us.
“I’ve said it all along it’s all about peaking for the right time,” England striker Harry Kane told reporters. “We are on the right track.”
Here’s a look at the semifinal matches and who will advance to the final, scheduled for next Sunday in London.
Italy vs Spain: Azzurri playing great soccer at the right time
The Italians are playing some of their best soccer ever, riding a 32-game unbeaten streak that now includes 13 straight wins. The Azzurri had a small scare against Austria in the Round of 16, needing extra time to advance. In the quarterfinals, Italy held on for a 2-1 victory against top-ranked Belgium.
Italy’s fluent and cohesive attacking style will be hampered by the absence of left-back Leonardo Spinazzola, who ruptured his Achilles tendon against Belgium and is out for the remainder of the tournament. Nonetheless, manager Roberto Mancini has a deep bench and is relying on others to carry the burden on Tuesday versus Spain.
Striker Ciro Immobile will need a better game than he had versus Belgium, while Federico Chiesa could start again up front given his penchant for creating scoring chances. Ditto for midfielder Nicolo Barella, the engine of this team, and striker Lorenzo Insigne, who tallied the winning goal against Belgium with a blistering shot.
Spain, like Italy, are traditional heavyweights. Like Italy, they are also a young team that have persevered at this tournament. Manager Luis Enrique has brought many young players to these Euros and gotten further than most expected. La Roja pack plenty of scoring punch thanks to Alvaro Morata, defeating Croatia 5-3 in extra time in the round of 16 and needing penalties versus Switzerland in the quarterfinals after a 1-1 draw. They could very well push Italy to extra time, although fatigue could be a factor for them at this stage:
England vs Denmark: Three Lions heavily-favored for a reason
England have the talent and momentum needed to finally win a major tournament. The dry spell dates back to the 1966 World Cup, their last major trophy, and they went out in heartache in the semifinals at Euro ’96, which they hosted.
The Three Lions will once again be at home, but hoping for a different outcome than 25 years ago. Jordan Pickford in net has been perfect, as has the backline anchored by Harry Maguire and John Stones, and yet to concede a goal.
In attack, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane have been in top form, scoring three goals each, as England blanked Germany 2-0 in the round of 16 and Ukraine 4-0 in the quarterfinals. Look for all three of these players to have another big match against Denmark Wednesday before a home crowd in London.
Meanwhile, something is not rotten in the state of Denmark. The underdogs have pieced together a magical run and are inspired by the recovery of midfielder Christian Eriksen, who went into cardiac arrest during the team’s opening match. The Danes lost their first two games following that terrifying incident. Since then, they have been on a torrid pace, blanking Wales 4-0 in the round of 16 and edging the Czech Republic 2-1 in the quarterfinals. Denmark, led by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, will need another team effort to get past the English if they want the fairytale to continue.