Italy to out-Spain Spain en route to the final
The semi-final stage of Euro 2020 is finally here, and either Italy or Spain will meet Denmark or England for the trophy at the weekend. However, neither can afford to visualise that, and must overcome a huge obstacle to play at Wembley for a second time on Sunday. Roberto Mancini's charges edged Belgium in a thrilling quarter final 2-1, maintaining their record of winning every match up to this point. Meanwhile, their opponents on Tuesday evening came from behind in the penalty shoot out to dash Switzerland's dreams of being in the last four, but have looked more vulnerable defensively than most pundits would've predicted. Read our preview here:
Insigne in the brain
Theatrics aside, there was plenty to wax lyrical about regarding Mancini masterminding a victory over the Red Devils, which only further served to underlines their credentials. The midfield and front three, assisted ably by the overlapping full-backs (especially Leonardo Spinazzola, who had been a revelation this tournament), have been coached in a similar strategic vein to how Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola operates, importing much of the style the elite Spanish club and national sides of recent years were renowned for. The wider forwards in the triumvirate up top can exploit the weaknesses in a La Furia Rioja backline lacking leadership and the level of organisation most observers would normally associate with them. Lorenzo Insigne, much in the same vein as Arjen Robben, has very obvious go-to moves, but stopping these is another matter entirely. Neither César Azpilicueta nor Aymeric Laporte can afford to let him cut inside and aim for the far corner with this right. The midfield trio's movement is a huge cause for concern for their opponents, too.
Busq-ing for the big one
Luis Enrique will note well the loss of Spinazzola to a long-term injury, and perhaps surmise that the one area of weakness in Italy's likely XI will be at full-back, at least in the Azzurri's own third of the pitch. However, Pablo Sarabia is almost certain to be out of contention after suffering an abductor problem during their clash with Switzerland. Ferran Torres is not exactly a poor replacement, and will doubtlessly take full advantage of Emerson's relative rustiness if allowed to. Sergio Busquets' role is more important than at any recent juncture, and will keenly understand just how effective Italy have been in throttling opposing midfields to date. Neither Pedri nor Koke are naturally inclined to sit deep to mop up, but might have to on more occasions than they'd like.
Sea of blue
Neither team has significantly more pressure on them than the other to reach the final; Italy were largely ignored coming into the tournament, despite their long and storied unbeaten run. Spain were said to be in a transitional phase, and without a single Real Madrid player on the roster, any reason to point the finger at Enrique for not living up to slightly lower than sky high expectations would've been harnessed. betway have odds 2.40 for a win for the men in blue to remain in London for the final.
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