The first semi-final of Euro 2020 will represent Italy with a chance to exact revenge after Spain’s 4-0 win in the final of 2012 event.
Things have certainly changed since Spain’s triumph over the Azzurri nearly a decade ago. While Spain had the football world at their feet, it is now Italy who are playing the best heading into this final four showdown at Wembley.
Following the win over Belgium, Italy have won 13 in a row to take their unbeaten run to a staggering 32 matches.
“We scored two [against Belgium] and we could have scored more,” said a confident Roberto Mancini ahead of this encounter.
“I think the victory was fully deserved. Spain are next, but the more you progress, the more difficult it becomes.”
Up front, Federico Chiesa impressed against Belgium and his speed will no doubt be central to Mancini’s plans to put pressure on Spain’s No 1, Unai Simon.
Marco Verratti has shrugged off any fitness concerns and was another to star in the quarter-final win.
For Spain, Pablo Sarabia is unlikely to feature. His absence comes as a cruel blow for Luis Enrique’s plans as the PSG winger was in fine form. With the likes of Alvaro Morata misfring, Sarabia has already scored against both Slovakia and Croatia and provided two assists and his absence will be missed.
Spain limped into the semi-finals via penalties after being unable to beat Switzerland in regulation time. That compared to Italy’s sensational run of form and number of players red-hot should equal a place in July 11 final for Italy.
The match kicks off at 9pm.