21st September 2021
Sport

This week: Italy v Spain and England v Denmark EURO semi-finals

The week ahead sees the two semi-finals at the Euro 2020 taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday, before the final next Sunday 11 July. All matches will be played at London’s Wembley Stadium, kicking off at 9pm (Spanish time).

Italy v Spain

The teams to play in the first Euro 2020 semi-final were determined on Friday after Italy beat top-ranked Belgium 2-1 in Munich and Spain defeated Switzerland in a penalty shoot-out in St. Petersburg. It will be the fourth tournament in a row that Italy and Spain meet.

Italy is Europe’s hottest team, having extended its unbeaten run to 32 matches and its winning streak to 13 after Friday’s result. By contrast, Spain is on a 12-match unbeaten run and drew its opening two group matches.

The match will be a face-off between the tournament’s top-scoring teams. Spain has found the net 12 times after opening with a scoreless draw against Sweden, while Italy has 11 goals.

The goals have been shared throughout the teams with neither having a player who has scored more than twice. Ciro Immobile, Matteo Pessina, Manuel Locatelli and Lorenzo Insigne have two each for Italy, and Pablo Sarabia, Ferran Torres and Alvaro Morata have the same amount for Spain.

Their most recent meetings came in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Italy’s loss and draw against Spain contributed to the team failing to qualify for the tournament for only the second time.

The last time either team reached a major tournament final was in 2012, when Spain beat Italy 4-0 to defend its European title.

Only two players from that match are in the line-ups at Euro 2020. Spain still has midfielder Sergio Busquets, while Italy has veteran defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.

Italy prevented Spain from winning a third consecutive European Championship by beating the defending champions 2-0 in the round of 16 at Euro 2016. The Spanish beat Italy on penalties in the Euro 2008 quarter-finals before ending their 44-year trophy drought.

England v Denmark

Meanwhile, England beat Ukraine 4-0 in Rome on Saturday to set themselves up for the other semi-final against Denmark on Wednesday night.

Harry Kane scored twice and Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson added the others. It was the only match of Euro 2020 that England had to play away from Wembley Stadium and it was the team’s most dominant performance of the tournament. England has not conceded a goal in all five of its matches.

Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg scored a goal each to give Denmark a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic and their spot in the semi-finals. Denmark has developed into a surprise contender at the Euro 2020 after its tournament began with midfielder Christian Eriksen suffering cardiac arrest on the field in the team’s opening game. Denmark hasn’t reached this far at a major tournament since winning the European title in 1992.

England and Ukraine fans needed a lot of paperwork to enter the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Not only did they have to have a ticket, but also a negative Covid-19 test and proof of residency either in Italy or a country for which no quarantine was required to enter the country.

Travellers from the UK are required to self-isolate for five days upon arrival in Italy. Italian authorities warned before the match that anyone who had arrived from UK this week would not be allowed into the stadium even if they had a ticket to the game.

What are your predictions for the results of the semi-finals, and who will win the tournament? Post your comments below!

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