EURO 2020 Semifinals – Italy vs. Spain Preview
Spain has an opportunity to win a record fourth European Championship. La Roja have survived two scares in the knockout rounds, and now they will take on their toughest opponent yet in Italy. The Azzurri have arguably been the most impressive team in the tournament. That’s why the Italians are slight favorites to advance over the Spanish in the first semifinal match of Euro 2020 on Tuesday at Wembley Stadium in London, England. This match will kick off at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.
EURO 2020 Semifinals Betting Odds
Over/Under 2 and 2.5
Italy was one of the top teams in the Group Stage. The Italians didn’t allow a goal in any of their three wins over Turkey, Switzerland, and Wales, and they beat their first two opponents 3-0. They survived a scoreless first 90 minutes against Austria to beat the Austrians 2-1 in additional time, and Italy proved it was up to the task against Belgium with a 2-1 win over the No. 1 ranked team in the world by FIFA.
As for Spain, they weren’t that impressive in the Group Stage. They had to settle for draws against Sweden and Poland before blasting Slovakia out of the water to ensure a spot in the knockout rounds. They surrendered a late two-goal lead against Croatia before eventually winning 5-3 in additional time, and Spain was forced into penalty kicks by Switzerland in the quarterfinals even though the Swiss went down a man in the 77th minute.
What to Watch
The biggest issue with Spain at this tournament has been the lack of consistency up top. While Spain scored five goals against both Slovakia and Croatia, they found the back of the net just twice total in their other three matches. Alvaro Morata has frustrated the fans and has been on the receiving end of more than a few boos for his performances.
However, Spain doesn’t have any other forward to rely on at this competition. Ferran Torres, Mikel Oyarzabal, and Dani Olmo are all young and inexperienced, and neither Gerard nor Adama Traore has seen much playing time. That has led to Spain increasingly relying on Sergio Busquets and the back line against their opponents. They have yet to see a better attack than the one presented by Italy.
This isn’t your father’s Italy. While the Azzurri will still dive and resort to other theatrics, there is more talent in the attacking third than at any time in recent memory. Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile, and Andrea Belotti are all solid options, although Immobile has been held in check in the last couple matches as opponents have keyed on him always trying to go to his right.
The midfield has been extremely good at Euro 2020. Nicolo Barella, Manuel Locatelli, Marco Verratti, and Jorginho have all provided Italy with beautiful play and moments of brilliance. However, the back line and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma might be the biggest difference makers in this match. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci have been a wall working in tandem as center backs.
Italy is a great bet on the three-way line. The Italians are much more talented than their continental rivals, and they will be able to continually parry the Spanish attack.