With an incredibly entertaining Euro 2020 set to come to an end, we have our two finalists, and several Manchester City stars remain in contention to lift the continent’s title. The semifinal stage delivered drama, with both matches going beyond 90 minutes, and in the end will see Italy battle for its first European crown since 1968, while England aims to win their first final since the famed 1966 World Cup, which was also on home soil.
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Italy 1-1 Spain (4-2 Pens): Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Ferran Torres
Spain’s exciting run at Euro 2020 came to an end, but La Roja should hold their heads high despite the immense disappointment of a semifinal defeat on penalties. Spain produced arguably their best football of the tournament against Italy, who have looked like the Euros’ strongest side right from the start. Spain fully controlled the match, but Italy produced a brilliant moment of quality through Federico Chiesa to take the lead in the second half. Just as they did after being pegged back by Croatia, however, Spain refused to quit, as substitute Álvaro Morata came on and scored a dramatic equalizer.
Spain pushed harder than their opponents to find a winner across extra time, but were ultimately unsuccessful. In the shootout, the two creators of their crucial goal ended up being their downfall, as Dani Olmo blasted his penalty over the bar, while the much-maligned Morata had a “one step forward, two steps backwards” moment as his poorly struck penalty was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma before Jorginho calmly put away the winner. Overall, it was a fantastic tournament performance by Spain, and Torres and Laporte were excellent in key roles for the team, while Rodri was also solid across more limited minutes.
England 2-1 Denmark (AET): Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden
On home soil, England, the largest single group of City players at Euro 2020, have advanced to their first major final since 1966. The expectation to “bring football home” is in full swing, although they had to come from behind and only beat an inspired Denmark in extra time. Stones, Walker, and Sterling all started and continued their excellent run of form, while Foden came on at the beginning of extra time. Sterling won England’s highly controversial penalty, and they will need him to continue his play this tournament in their toughest challenge yet. England are man-for-man better than Italy in terms of talent, and having played every match at home on the weaker side of the bracket, reaching the final should be no surprise. Nevertheless, for a country with a history of international heartbreak, this will be a truly massive moment, and the pressure will be firmly on Gareth Southgate’s men to win their first-ever European crown.