Semi-finals Preview: Thoughts and predictions: Euros 2020
July 5th, 2021 | Football
England v Denmark
A tough game to call. Both teams are currently in good form, playing good football and defending well. England have been consistent throughout the tournament, but in addition to that have begun to score more goals, scoring six in their last two games and importantly have an in-form Harry Kane. After a difficult start to the tournament, losing their opening two games, and having to deal with the unbelievable trauma of the Christian Eriksen incident, Denmark have recovered brilliantly. They were unlucky in defeat against Belgium in that second game and have been free-scoring and winning ever since. A 5-2 demolition of Finland was followed by the round of 16 4-0 hammering of a decent Wales side. They only scored the two goals last time out, edging the Czech Republic 2-1 in a tense game with little chances.
So how do I think the game will pan out? I think both teams will have spells of possession throughout the game. The Denmark midfield of Thomas Delaney and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are defensively sound and will keep things ticking, but I think England have better players in possession and will have slightly more of the ball, possibly around 59%-65% possession. I think the midfield battle will be a close one, possibly coming down to tactical decisions from the managers. Both teams are really solid defensively with Denmark having a solid back-three lead by the impressive Kjaer, and England having the established centre-back of the rejuvenated John Stones and world-class Harry Maguire. Both goalkeepers, Kasper Schmeichel and Jordan Pickford, are of a really high quality, although both looked a bit nervy last time out for their respective countries. So with those three areas of the pitch looking fairly even, it comes down to the final-third. I know Dolberg, like Harry Kane, has begun to get chances and score the goals in the last few games. However I look at those front three positions and feel as though it’s noncomparable. Although Martin Braithwaite is a threat and Mikkel Damsgaard has impressed, the quality each team has at left and right wing is far apart. While Denmark have those mentioned wide-players, England have a pool of Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish to pick from. And while the mentioned Dolberg has started firing, Harry Kane is, in my opinion, the best striker in the world and is at the peak of his powers.
Denmark will cause problems. Joakim Maehle at left wing-back has been a standout performer and they have the players to make life hard for England. But the quality Gareth Southgate has at his disposable in those attacking areas, along with a solid backline and good form it all points towards an England win. Of course, it’s a game of football and anything can happen, but I can’t see Denmark scoring against that England defence, whereas I can see England scoring one or two at the other end. I think it will be tight, it’s a semi-final after all, but I feel as though England will be patient, get their goal and seal the win with another.
Prediction: England win. Score Prediction: 2-0
Italy v Spain
An interesting game to look at. Both teams got through nervy quarter-finals to get here.
Italy have been brilliant so far. Italy’s defence is a throw-back in terms of enjoying defending and having that desire to keep the ball out of their goal. Their midfield has tenacity off the ball whilst being more than comfortable on it. This helps them progress the ball from defence to attack with intensity, pace and quality. Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile will always cause problems and the recently impressive Federico Chiesa will also be a threat, having played his way into the side on the right-hand side.
Spain have had a mixed tournament. They deserve to be here as much as any of the other teams, but I personally feel they’ve got lucky with some decisions and margins. I’m yet to watch Spain and be convinced by them as a team. Their midfield keeps and progresses the ball well, but the rest of the side is questionable. The defence looked better with Laporte and Garcia as a centre-back partnership, but when forced to play a partnership of Pau Torres and Laporte, they haven’t looked comfortable. But it’s their attack that hasn’t impressed me. The build-up play is good and they create plenty of chances, but their finishing has been wasteful.
I think the game will be edgy and close at times. I can’t see Spain scoring past that Italian defence and goalkeeper so I think the win is there for Italy if they play to their full potential. I don’t think it will be convincing as both teams will be up for it, but I think Italy will edge it.
Prediction: Italy win. Score Prediction: 1-0
Please note: The football articles that feature on this site are being written by Jack Dixon as part of his work experience. He is a teenager and looking for work experience within the football industry. He is currently studying for his media and art A-levels.