Euro 2020 is in the final stages of the tournament with the semi-final matches already decided and ready to deliver unmatched entertainment to viewers. The first semi-final will be played between Italy and Spain on Tuesday 6 July at Wembley Stadium in London, where two master tacticians and successful club-level coaches will battle to reach their first major international final.
EURO 2020 semi-final set ✅
🇮🇹🆚🇪🇸 Italy vs Spain
🏴🆚🇩🇰 England vs Denmark
– UEFA EURO 2020 (@ EURO2020) July 3, 2021
Needless to say, it will be a tactical attack from both sides, and as knockouts are likely to be, the outcome will largely depend on individual battles at key positions. Such close games need a moment of magic from that star player for the decision to be in favor of his team, be it Andrés Iniesta’s goal in extra time against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final or the two brilliant penalty saves from Iker Casillas in the final. Quarterfinals of Euro 2008 against Italy.
Italy and Spain share a great soccer history and are two of the biggest soccer entities in Europe. However, the two sides have not been at their best in recent years and this will be the perfect opportunity for them to come back to the top.
– UEFA EURO 2020 (@ EURO2020) July 4, 2021
As Roberto Mancini and Luis Enrique prepare their teams for what is expected to be a grueling but exciting encounter, we at FootTheBall, choose and analyze three key matches that can decide the outcome in favor of each side:
CIRO IMMOBILE VS AYMERIC LAPORTE
First, let’s take a look at the attack threats from Italy and the man leading the charge for the Azzurri – Cyrus immobile. The 31-year-old striker is the center of all Italian attacks and is one of the most trusted poachers on Mancini’s team. He started every Italy match at this year’s Euro Cup except for one dead rubber match against Wales and provided two goals and one assist in four matches.
Their direct challenge in the semi-final will be to beat the Premier League winner with Manchester City and a defensive wall behind, Aymeric Laporte. The French-born center-back changed nationality due to lack of opportunities and has helped Spain reach the semifinals. Despite a slight bump against Croatia, Laporte has had a good debut tournament so far.
The 27-year-old defender even scored on the scoreboard against Slovakia and is known for his brilliant ball skills. He is quite resistant to pressure and likes to catch the ball and move it around the field, which helps Spain maintain more possession in all their games. He posted a 96% passing accuracy, completing more than 500 passes in five games.
It’s going to be an intense battle as Immobile is a fast forward with a poacher instinct that always puts him in dangerous positions. He is always alert, with great conscience, ready to put pressure on the opposing defense and take advantage of any slip. It is also capable of long-distance shooting and must close in time.
MARCO VERRATTI VS SERGIO BUSQUETS
There is a theory about big games that the team that dominates the midfield is more likely to be victorious. And if there are two names in world football who can change the game on your face, they are Marco Verratti of PSG and Sergio Busquets of Barcelona. Both midfielders tend to take the ball and dictate the rhythm of the game, running up and down, and helping their teams on both offense and defense.
Verratti missed the first two games due to injury, but he has been the team’s driving force since his return, creating 12 scoring opportunities in the three games played. The 28-year-old midfielder is a great passer and has a great collaboration with his Italian teammates Jorginho and Nicolo Barella. Roberto Mancini would like him to be at his best against historical rivals.
Marco Verratti 🇮🇹 vs. #BEL
• 74 minutes played
• 103 touches
• 83 passes (94% accuracy) 🥇
• 4 opportunities created 🥇
• 1 assist
• 3 successful long balls
• 9 duels won
• 2 tackles
What. A. Player 🔴🔵 pic.twitter.com/6mIfyzXdpV
– PSGhub (@PSGhub) July 2, 2021
Sergio Busquets has been one of the world’s highest-rated midfielders since his debut in 2008. The Barcelona star is a hard-working player who thrives on interrupting the opponent’s attacks with his talented reading of the game and calculating tackles and interceptions. He’s also the key to many attacking transitions with his vision and long-range passing. The 6’2 ”midfielder is also skilled in the air and keeps his opponent in their shadows. The 32-year-old had 10 tackles and 19 ball recoveries, which is a very good number considering that Spain has dominated the ball in most games.
📊 | Sergio Busquets vs Croatia
• 100 minutes played
• 114 touches
• 87 accurate passes (89%)
• 1 key pass
• 5 long balls
• 2/2 successful dribbles
• 8 duels won
• 4 interceptions
• 4 tackles
• 4 recoveries
Master class! 🪄🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/FRUas6r0c4
– Barça statistics (@BarcaStats__) June 28, 2021
Marco Verratti, on the other hand, is a fast and agile playmaker who can find those gaps in midfield, turn around and carry the ball forward and his short build allows him to dribble past opponents before unleashing a juicy ball. end for the strikers. Verratti has registered two assists in three games, with a passing accuracy of 96%. He also works hard off the ball and helps his team recover, regroup and restart attacks. The PSG midfielder made 15 tackles and 18 ball recoveries in just three games.
There will be a lot of responsibility and hope on your shoulders to lead your teams to the final of Euro 2020.
FERRAN TORRES VS EMERSON PALMIERI
Lastly, we discussed the key attack threat from Spain and the fact that there will be no man of first choice for Italy to counter.
The young Spaniard Ferran Torres, who plays for Manchester City, has been crucial to Luis Enrique’s attacking outings in the tournament with his speed, creativity, technical ability and brilliant close control even when dribbling at a high pace. This allows him to take on the defenders and exploit the spaces against the sides that push his wings forward. He is a very athletic forward who usually operates from the right flank but can also play from both the center and the left.
Ferrán Torres has participated directly in 3 goals in 4 # EURO2020 games – scoring 2 and assisting 1.
What a talent. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/eDpZlm6fDf
– Dave Statman (@StatmanDave) June 28, 2021
Roberto Mancini is surely wondering about the 21-year-old winger and ways to stop him in his wake considering the absence of star full-back Leonardo Spinazzola. The 28-year-old fullback is out of the tournament and perhaps for the whole of next year with a torn Achilles tendon and will be replaced by Chelsea’s Emerson Palmieri, whose main responsibility will be to support the veteran defensive duo of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini on defense. . Young and fast forwards from Spain like Torres, Daniel Olmo and Mikel Oyarzabal.
Torres has already found the net twice in the tournament so far and Luis Enrique will have his hopes pinned on the Premier League winner to become the offensive threat once again. His opponent, 26-year-old left-back Emerson, is also a technically gifted player who is known for his offensive abilities and physique.
It will be an interesting showdown to watch, as both Italy and Spain use flanks to their advantage and tend to attack from wide areas with all their might.