The first semi-final at Euro 2020 is now clear as Italy earned a 2-1 victory against Belgium and will face fellow powerhouse Spain at Wembley on July 6. Luis Enrique’s men were rather lucky to survive the penalties lottery after failing to break down a 10-man Switzerland for nearly 45 minutes.
Where and when: Wembley – 6 July, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Italy vs. Spain: BBC
Last time: The last time Italy and Spain met was during the World Cup qualifiers in 2017, with La Roja thrashing the Azzurri 3-0 in Madrid. Isco netted a brace, while Alvaro Morata, who is expected the lead the line in the semi-final, wrapped up the scoring.
Italy v Spain Predictions and Preview
A clash between Italy and Spain has always been a treat and it’s hard to imagine that Euro 2020’s semi-final between these two former world champions being anything different.
Both teams had to dig deep to book their place in the final four, as Italy edged a 2-1 victory against one of the pre-tournament favourites, Belgium, while Spain had to go to penalties to see off Switzerland.
The Azzurri seemed to have their quarter-final under control after taking a 2-0 lead in the first half, but Romelu Lukaku converted from the spot after a dubious penalty decision. Nevertheless, Roberto Mancini’s men solidified their reputation as one of the best teams at Euro 2020 by keeping the Red Devils at bay after the break and registering their fifth victory in the competition.
Despite Ciro Immobile having his worst game this summer, Italy created 1.7 expected goals and scored twice thanks to Nicolo Barella and a Lorenzo Insigne screamer. In defence, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci were as imperative as ever, as the Juventus pair celebrated tackles like goals and set the tone for a memorable night.
However, the Azzurri paid a hefty price as Leonardo Spinazzola, who has been named man of the match, ruptured his Achilles tendon and will be out for many months. Alessandro Florenzi is also a doubt, so Italy might be without their first-choice full-backs against Spain.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
Italy to qualify
Over 2.5 goals
Both Teams to Score
La Roja, meanwhile, returned to their lethargic mode against Switzerland, after scoring five goals in two consecutive games for a first time in the history of the competition.
Luis Enrique’s side had 72% of possession, but created just 1.02 expected goals and only scored thanks to a fortunate deflection. Xherdan Shaqiri equalised, as Switzerland were arguably the better team until a very controversial red card saw Remo Freuler leave his country with 10 men in the 77th minute.
Despite this, Spain failed to find the back of the net again, as the game ended 1-1, so La Roja had to go through penalties. One wonders in what kind of condition their players will be after completing 120 minutes in two consecutive games.
With three wins, two draws and just one defeat in their past six meetings, Spain boast a superior record against the Azzurri in recent years. However, Italy won 2-0 in Euro 2016’s round of 16 and the Azzurri seem in better shape before their semi-final clash on Tuesday.
That said, at 6/4 Italy are slight favorites to win within 90 minutes, while they are 8/11 to qualify via any method. Spain are 2/1 to win in regular time and 11/10 to qualify, while the draw is priced at 11/5.
One to watch for Italy: Lorenzo Insigne has been excellent for Italy this summer and his sublime curler against Belgium was his second goal in the tournament. The Napoli forward will be one of the main threats for Spain and is looking attractive at 13/2 to break the deadlock in the semi-final.
One to watch for Spain: Jordi Alba has arguably been Spain’s best player this summer and there is no doubt he’s been the most consistent one. Despite some shaky moments throughout the season, the Barcelona left-back remains truly world class and with Italy missing both of their first-choice full-backs, Alba can make a real difference.
Long shot: Giorgio Chiellini has always been a threat from set-pieces and Spain know that very well, as the Juventus captain opened the scoring against La Roja during the 2-0 Azzurri victory at Euro 2016. While a Chiellini opener might seem like a really long shot, 33/1 odds certainly look tempting. Another risky, but still safer bet would be to back up Chiellini to score anytime at 14/1.