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Italy’s Leonardo Bonucci (l) celebrates a goal that was disallowed due to an offside position. Italy’s Ciro Immobile on the right. (Photo : Federico Gambarini/picture alliance via Getty Images))
After two heart-stopping days in the quarterfinals, the semifinals now beckon for the four remaining teams in the Euro 2020 tournament, contested from July 6 to 7 at the Wembley Stadium.
Opening things off on July 6 is the much-anticipated clash between European heavyweights Italy and Spain. On July 7, it is England and Denmark’s turn to wage their semifinal clash. The kick-off time for both matches is 9 p.m. CEST (Central European Summer Time).
Spain, Italy renew fierce rivalry
For the fourth successive Euro tournament, Spain and Italy will square off in the knockout rounds of the competition. Tuesday’s match will also be Spain and Italy’s seventh meeting at a European Championship (the most of any opponents), and the ninth time they will face each other at a major tournament (World Cup/Euro).
Spain has fared well against Italy of late, winning five of their last 14 matches since 1998. Italy, on the other hand, has won just twice during that span.
However, one of those two victories came in their last major tournament meeting against Spain in Euro 2016, with Italy prevailing 2-0 behind goals from Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle.
Italy will head into this matchup as the in-form team, having won each of their last 15 matches in the Euro 2020 competition, qualifying included, establishing a new record for successive wins in the European Championship in the process.
The Azzurri swept past Turkey, Switzerland, and Wales in the group stage as they did not concede a single goal in those three matches. The Italians then recorded a pair of 2-1 wins against Austria and Belgium in the knockout stages to set up this semis showdown with Spain.
On the other hand, Spain started the tournament slowly; recording draws against Sweden and Poland in their first two group matches. The Spaniards qualified in style, however, beating Slovakia 5-0 in their group finale. They scored five goals again in their thrilling round of 16 win against Croatia before edging past Switzerland in penalties in the quarterfinals.
England, Denmark collide for a finals berth
There’s no better time for England to break its major title drought than now. The Three Lions have home-field advantage for the duration of the tournament, with Wembley Stadium hosting the semifinals and finals of the Euro 2020 competition. Their defense has been impeccable in this tournament as they are the first team to keep five consecutive clean sheets at the start of a Euro finals campaign.
After a sluggish start in the group stage, England turned it up a notch in the knockout stages, defeating Germany 2-0 in the round of 16 before blasting four goals past Ukraine in their quarterfinal clash in Rome.
They will need to be at their best, though, against a Denmark side that’s playing some inspired football at the moment. After losing their first two matches in the tournament and with star player Christian Eriksen sidelined after suffering a cardiac arrest in the opener, many expected Denmark not to reach the knockout stages.
That wasn’t the case as Denmark embarked on a remarkable winning run, scoring ten goals in their last three matches to book a spot in the semifinals.
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