Italy await as England seek history and Denmark’s Euro 2020 story continues

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The stage is set and a remarkable chapter will be written this evening – but will it be celebrations on home soil or the most remarkable turnaround in European Championship memory?

Italy await one of either England or Denmark, with the second Euro 2020 semi-final taking place tonight.

The Azzurri came through a penalty shootout against Spain after a 1-1 draw on Tuesday, and all eyes remain on Wembley to see which nation will face them on Sunday.

Will it be the Three Lions, and a first-ever appearance in the final of the Euros? This is already a joint-best effort but one more win and it will be history rewritten for Gareth Southgate and co.

Or will it be the pride of Parken, and a second-ever final for the Danes with an improbable story to rival even that of their first and only European Championship win?

 

Semi-final talking points

  • Bukayo Saka is reported to be a consideration to recall for Gareth Southgate, who may leave his team otherwise unchanged from the win over Ukraine
  • Denmark‘s big call is who to play up front – three from Mikkel Damsgaard, Yussuf Poulsen, Kasper Dolberg and Martin Braithwaite will start
  • Alvaro Morata scored the equaliser for Spain to send their semi to extra time and penalties, then saw his spot-kick saved to lose the tie anyway
  • Emi Martinez saved three penalties for Argentina in their Copa America semi-final and they’ll face Brazil in the final after knocking out Colombia

 

Today’s fixtures

  • England vs Denmark, Euro 20202 semi-final, 8pm on ITV

 

Expectations on…

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 22: Raheem Sterling of England celebrates after scoring their team's first goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between Czech Republic and England at Wembley Stadium on June 22, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Morton - UEFA)

Raheem Sterling.

He has been England’s best attacking player by a distance at the tournament, netting three and assisting once to guide the nation through when they struggled for goals early on.

Now Harry Kane is back in scoring form he’ll likely take more attention from the Danish centre-backs – so Sterling must keep that consistency in his game and clinical touch in the final third.

The right flank has been swapped around according to need, but Sterling is an undroppable starter and has showed why throughout the summer.

 

Key battle to watch

Denmark’s best outlet against England’s less-performing full-back. Joakim Maehle has been absolutely unreal all tournament from left wing-back, racing forward at will, carrying the ball, crossing it brilliantly and being a goal threat himself. He’ll cut inside, look to combine and get in the box…or, apparently, cross it like Quaresma.

Kyle Walker has the pace to match him but must be positionally excellent to stop Denmark’s best supply line to the front three, while also offering some support to the attack himself from deep.

It might get lonely at times for Saka, Sancho or whoever plays right wing, without too many overlaps from full-back tonight.

 

Fans are talking about…

Martinez’s penalty shootout heroics, Chiellini throwing Alba around like a teddy bear and Bonucci apparently being a fan rather than a player!







 

Reds in action

You may have heard of him: Jordan Henderson. Might not start, but will play a big role nonetheless – we know what kind of man he is.

 

Predictions

England to just about edge out Denmark in a super stressful encounter.

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