The quarter finals of the European Championship 2020, were mostly good matches of a high standard. Italy beat Belgium 2-1 in the quarter final in a great match of football. Italy scored two fantastic first half goals from Nicoló Barella and Lorenzo Insigne. Belgium managed to find a way back into it, through a penalty on the verge of half time, from a slight push in the back on the outstanding Jérémy Doku from right back, Giovanni di Lorenzo. The penalty was soft, but it was a foul.
Belgium had two great chances for an equaliser. Lukaku’s shot was blocked by Spinazzola from close range. Italy’s defensive veterans, Georgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonnucci did well on Lukaku. Italy’s left back, Leonardo Spinazzola, one of the players of the tournament so far, had to go off injured and will miss the remainder of the tournament.
Spain, got past Switzerland on penalties in the quarter final, in a match that should never gone to extra time, let alone the shoot out. Spain took the lead through a shot from just outside the penalty area from Jordi Alba, that deflected in off midfielder, Denis Zakaria.
Switzerland levelled in the 68th minute through Xherdan Shaqiri, following a mix-up in the Spanish backline. Swiss midfielder, Remo Freuler got sent off in the 77th minute, quite harshly. Spain missed a bag full of chances to put this match away before penalties. Spain once again showed sloppy game management, losing a lead and not taking chances to put a team away.
Italy vs Spain.
Wembley Stadium, London, 6th July 2021. 8:00 pm.
Italy were once again quite impressive at both ends against Belgium. Italy scored two great goals in the match, and in the second half showed both tight control of possession and solid defending, two hallmarks of keeping a lead. Italy also produced a last ten minutes of pure cynicism. Most teams try to kill matches, holding a lead against a good team, so it’s bad for neutrals, but if Ireland were doing it, it would be cute play. Italy’s marauding full back, Leonardo Spinazzola is out injured, which is a massive loss for the Italians.
Italy have been the most impressive team of the tournament, both in attack and defence. Their main strengths are that in Jorginho, Barella and Verratti, Italy have the best midfield of the tournament, and Italy’s teamwork for an international team is truly outstanding.
Spain have went to extra time two matches in a row, meaning that Italy could be fresher. Spain play a very attacking game to watch, and when they move the ball quick, look outstanding at times. There is a caveat though. Spain creates a lot of openings and chances with their attacking style, but their finishing is poor. Alvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno, are not truly top strikers, who need a lot of chances to score goals. Spain’s game management is also sloppy. Spain have lost leads three times in five matches. This is simply not tournament winning form. Spain’s midfield of Busquets, Pedri (only 18), and Koke is among the best midfields of the tournament. Spain’s wingers/attacking midfielders have been able to create chances.
Verdict: Italy 2 Spain 1. This match truly has the ability to be the match of the tournament with two of the best teams to watch playing each other, and both will attack each other. Italy’s superior experience, defence and game management should see an Italian victory.
England vs Denmark.
Wembley Stadium, London, 7th July 2021. 8:00 pm.
England have been in their way quietly impressive in this tournament, with no concession of goals in the five matches that they played so far. England’s last match against Ukraine, was a complete mis-match. The evidence of how good England are was shown in the group stages and against Germany, where a team that keep clean sheets against good teams, and in attackers, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, plus a rotated player (Sako, Grealish or Sancho), enough attacking power to make and take chances. Whilst Italy have based their success thus far on the ability of their midfield to control matches, England control matches through their organisation and teamwork.
Denmark have made it to the semi finals through a run of three consecutive wins against Russia, Wales and Czech Republic, scoring ten goals and conceding two. Even so, Denmark don’t have individual attacking players as good as Kane or Sterling. Denmark have an in form striker of their own in Kasper Dolberg, with three goals in the knock out stages. Denmark play a very attacking style of football, that is quite direct and based on speed. Denmark’s wing backs, Stryger Larsen and Maehle stretch defences, with Maehle’s assist to Dolberg being an outstanding bit of skill. Denmark won’t fear England, beating England 1-0 last year in Wembley.
Verdict: England 2 Denmark 1. I don’t think that this will be an easy match for England with Denmark are proving to be a formidable team in this tournament who play with pace and width. It has to be said that neither Russia, Wales and Czech Republic are anywhere near as good as England. I think that Denmark will get at least a goal against England. England have however, both home advantage and better individual players. England are also a highly organised team in this tournament, going on a good run. England’s main striker, Harry Kane, has had a good knockout stage, after a poor group stages and maybe the difference in the match.
(C). Ferdia O’Mahony 2021.
England 2 Germany 0. Round of 16. European Championship 2020.
3 thoughts on “European Championship 2020. Semi Final Previews.”
good summary and I agree with your predictions, ps I am never correct!