Euro 2020: Semi-finals in Review
The Euros are finally here! Join us as FC Mangalore’s Technical team of Biby Thomas and Shailesh Karkera break down the matches.
With a place in the final of UEFA Euro 2020 at stake, there were some spectacular goals, unexpected shocks and national heroes who came to the fore over the course of the drama-filled ninety minutes.
FC Mangalore Media asked our very own team of Technical Experts Biby Thomas and Shailesh Karkera to pick the top moments that decided the ties and here’s what they had to say.
Italy edge past Spain on penalties
Italy *1-1 Spain (After Penalties)
Spain looked the stronger of the two teams in the opening exchanges and took control of the midfield early on with Dani Olmo and Pedri looking especially dangerous operating between the lines. However, Luis Enrique’s decision to leave out striker Alvaro Morata meant that Spain found themselves time and again in good positions inside the final third only to be foiled by poor finishing.
It took almost half an hour for Italy to actually muster their first real attempt on goal when Emerson smashed his shot against the post after a well-timed run. Spain’s tactics of pressing high up the pitch meant that Italy found it difficult to maintain possession and kept losing the ball in central areas.
On to the second half and the game finally came to life when Enrico Chiesa put Italy in the lead with a spectacular effort which arrived completely against the run of play. Picking up the ball at the edge of the box, the nimble footed Italian showed excellent technique to create a chance out of thin air – beating past his marker and unleashing a curling effort that smashed into the far corner of the goal – to give Italy the lead.
Spain responded by bringing on Morata and were finally rewarded ten minutes from time off a blistering counter-attack move. Olmo played a defence-splitting through ball for Morata to run on to and the striker held his nerve to place the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
On to extra-time and Spain came agonisingly close through Olmo and Morata however both teams were unable to find the winner, forcing the game to penalties. In a tense shootout, both teams started off poorly – Locatelli and Olmo missing for Italy and Spain respectively. The crucial moment arrived when Morata’s low placed shot was saved by Donnaruma, leaving Jorginho with the opportunity to win it for Italy with their fifth and final kick, which he did in spectacular fashion with the cheekiest of finishes to send Italy to the final of Euro 2020.
Italy (Road to Final)
Group A: Winners
Round of 16: 2-1aet vs Austria, 26 June
Quarter-final: 2-1 vs Belgium, 2 July
Semi-final: 1-1aet (4-2pens) vs Spain, 6 July
Final: vs England, 11 July
SK’s Moment of the Match: “Olmo’s through ball for Morata split open one of the most experienced and impressive defensive setups in world football. This particular Spanish team is full of exciting youth prospects and Olmo represents one of the very best. The weight and accuracy on the ball itself did most of the work for Morata, who had a simple tap-in.”
Kane sends England into first major final in 55 years
England 2-1 Denmark (after Extra Time)
England arrived in Wembley in front of 60,000 screaming fans and took on a very spirited Denmak team who pressed high and looked to stay organised in defence and break-away quickly on the counter. Remarkably, it was the Danes that opened the scoring in the 25th minute when Damsgaard scored the first direct free-kick of the tournament, a sublime effort that bended over the wall and dipped into the roof of the net – the first goal conceded by England at Euro 2020.
England responded brilliantly and launched a flurry of attacks into the Danish penalty area. ‘Keeper Kasper Schemiechel pulled off a spectacular goal-line save to deny Sterling in the 32nd minute however the English onslaught persisted and the equalizer arrived soon after, Saka redirecting Kane’s ball across goal for Kjær to clear into his own net with Sterling breathing down his neck.
The goal invigorated England to push forward and Denmark found themselves on the defensive for lenghtly portions of the second half. Schmeichel was the busiest player on the pitch, denying England on several occasions. Southgate introduced fresh faces but eventually it ended 1-1 at full-time.
On to extra-time and Sterling grew in confidence and started actively taking on the Danes in and around the penalty area and the diminutive winger was finally rewarded when he was brought down inside the box. Kane stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and despite the initial block by Schmeichel, blasted home the rebound to send England to their first major international final in 55 years.
England (Road to Final)
Group D: Winners
Round of 16: 2-0 vs Germany, 29 June
Quarter-final: 4-0 vs Ukraine, 3 July
Semi-final: 2-1aet vs Denmark, 7 July
Final: vs Italy, 11 July
BT’s Moment of the Match: “Sterling had an outstanding game and his effectiveness increased in extra-time as the minutes wore on and while it was Kane who will hog all the headlines, it was Sterling’s individual brilliance in that moment, weaving through the Danish defense to force the penalty which turned the tie for England.”
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.