The second last step to the Finals of UEFA Euro 2020 has been taken. The teams have finally booked a spot in the finals after a month-long journey of UEFA Euro 2020. The semi-finals on the other hand have kept us on the edge of our seats. Both the teams showed grit and courage. None of them was backing out and none of the matches was one-sided in any way.
Both the matches went into extra time as the teams kept fighting for the win and were relentless till the last minute.
Italy VS Spain
Italy won the match in penalties but it started with Spain pressuring Italy massively. Luis Enrique’s tactics worked beautifully as Spain dominated the first half with higher possession and more chances. The midfield combination of Pedri, Busquets and Koke worked flawlessly to prevent Italy from having too much possession which could have been a serious problem for the ’La Roja’ considering the speed of the Italian attack. They had to keep higher possession just to have a chance at winning this game.
The part where Luis Enrique’s Spain lacked was the attacking third. Despite creating so many chances in the first half, the finishing was not up to the mark which rendered the midfield’s performance moot. These missed chances were surely going to come back at them one way or another.
In the second half, Federico Chiesa scored the opener in the 60th minute as Italy countered with enormous speed. Chiesa curled the shot from between Aymeric Laporte and Eric Garcia as Unai Simon tried to reach the ball but couldn’t. The ball curled into the side netting giving ‘The Azzurri’ the lead.
Luis Enrique stirred things up with substitutions and after the goal, Dani Olmo pumped up. He was dribbling and was at the source of every attack since then. He started to pose problems for Italy as he was dodging everything they were throwing at him. It was his assist to the substitute Alvaro Morata which gave Spain the equalizer. Alvaro Morata and Dani Olmo became the heroes of Spain who gave them a fighting chance and an opportunity to take the game to extra time.
Extra time was filled with both sides still attempting to get the upper hand and get a goal to seal a spot in the final but none of them was successful to do it. So the game went into the penalties where the goalkeepers had a chance to become heroes for their country.
The players of ‘La Roja’ who gave them a chance to be in the penalty shootouts were the ones who ruined it for them. Dani Olmo and Alvaro Morata both missed their penalties, thus pushing Italy forward to the Finals of UEFA Euro 2020.
They became Heroes and Zeros in the same match.
England VS Denmark
Football matches always had some moments which reek of controversies. This match was one of those. The Three Lions and the Danes were relentless in the match.
The Danes took an early lead in the 30th minute as Mikkel Damsgaard scored a wonderful and the first free-kick of UEFA Euro 2020. Gareth Southgate’s players had to turn up their game after this. Just after 9 minutes, Denmark conceded an own goal through the knee of Simon Kjaer. After this England was relentlessly trying to score a goal and finish the game within 90 minutes. Kasper Schmeichel on the other hand was a wall in front of the goal. England kept on throwing themselves but he stopped every one of those shots and took the game into extra time.
This was the time when it got controversial. England saw through the match by a 2-1 win but the way they got the goal was a bit dicey. In the 104th minute, Raheem Sterling was tackled inside the 18yard box and was given a penalty which Harry Kane took. Kasper Schmeichel blocked the initial shot but deflected the initial shot onto the path of Harry Kane who scored on the rebound.
The controversy at hand is that the foul which Raheem Sterling conceded did not look much. The contact did not seem enough to go down. The VAR officials checked the penalty but did not ask the referee to have a look at the monitor. Maybe if he would have had looked at the screen, he could have had overturned his decision. But who knows right? That’s how controversies began as fans flooded the social media with quotes of Denmark being robbed of a chance to win the trophy.
Anyways, England booked a spot in the finals which is going to be the first final of a major tournament for England since 1966 when England won the World cup. Since then they haven’t been able to reach a single final of a major tournament.
Is it finally going to “Come home”? Or will it go to Rome?
This question will be answered on 12th July 2021 in the Final of UEFA Euro 2020 where Roberto Mancini’s ‘The Azzurri’ and Gareth Southgate’s ‘Three Lions’ will compete for the crown. We don’t know who’ll take the trophy home but it will be one hell of a match.