Emanuele Guilianelli’s Italy v Spain preview: Concentration will be key for the Azzurri
Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering Italy throughout Euro 2020
The unexpected semi-final could be the right title for the Tuesday evening match at Wembley between Italy and Spain.
While the Azzurri were one of the fancied sides on the eve of Euro 2020, the draw seemed to be setting up a clash between them and France for a place in the final.
However, Switzerland blew up the bank and eliminated Kylian Mbappé and his teammates, giving an unexpected opportunity to a Spanish side that has looked not up to the standards of previous editions.
After the great achievement of the victory against Belgium, there’s been a serious setback to the Italian side: Leonardo Spinazzola broke his Achilles tendon during the quarter-final clash and will be out of action for at least six months.
Roberto Mancini has the difficult task to replace his left-back, who has been one of the best players of the tournament and attracted the interest of Real Madrid.
Emerson Palmieri should be the natural alternative, in order to not disrupt a well-oiled XI too much. However, the Chelsea player only made two Premier League appearances last season, so the Italian coach could decide to switch Giovanni Di Lorenzo to the left and restore Alessandro Florenzi on the opposite flank, where he started in the opening match against Turkey.
Italy against Spain will be a clash between two sides that love to dominate ball possession, even if it’s with two different philosophies. Luis Enrique’s side are speculative, while the Azzurri are pragmatic.
It’s not easy to make a prediction but I think that Italy have already faced and defeated the toughest opponent in their path, winning against Romelu Lukaku and his Belgium teammates. If they can keep their concentration levels high again, they will be able to go to Sunday’s final.