UEFA 2020 Euro Championship – Day 26

Italy v Spain (Wembley Stadium, London)

The first of the Semi-Finals, from the half of the draw that has undoubtedly been the more challenging of the two. A game that will bring back memories of when Italy faced Spain in the Euro 2012 Final in the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine. Having already faced each other in the group stage in a game that ended 1-1, the two teams met again to decide the 2012 winners. Spain were the reigning champions having beaten Germany 1-0 in 2008. Four years later the result was much more emphatic in a game the Spanish controlled from the start. La Roja went on to secure a second successive European title with a 4-0 win with goals from David Silva (14′), Jordi Alba (41′), Fernando Torres (84′) and Juan Mata (88′)

Italy on the evidence of the games they have played in this tournament, must be considered favourites to overcome Spain and indeed win the competition overall. They went unbeaten in the group stages without conceding a goal with all their games in Rome. On their travels to face Austria, at Wembley and in Munich to play Belgium, they have come through both games 2-1, but were less fluent than in the group games. As detailed in my reflections on the Quarter- Final game with Belgium, I was sickened by the antics of Immobile in the lead up to the Italian’s first goal. So whilst I expect the Azzuri to go through, I will be rooting for La Roja in this first Semi-Final.

The Spanish have dominated their games in the competition so far, but have been wasteful in front of goal, even in the Round of 16 game against Croatia, where despite scoring five, chances went begging. It nearly cost them in the Quarter-Final, as it required penalties to see off the brave efforts of Switzerland. For Spain to overcome Italy, they have to take their chances that they will undoubtedly create. Defensively apart from the three goals against Croatia have been pretty thrifty at the back. Have Italy peaked too early? Will Spain simply deny Italy the ball and find a killer touch in front of goal? All will be revealed tonight.

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Posted July 6, 2021 by Editor in category "UEFA 2020 Euro Championship

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