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The Roar's Euro 2020 expert tips and predictions: Semi-finals

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Expert
5th July, 2021
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What a ride it has been and one in which Texi Smith or the voice of the crowd will claim the Euro 2020 tipping crown.

The event has been nothing but stunning and it comes to a climax with two cracking matches to decide the teams destined to fight for the title this Sunday.

The might of Italy does battle with the flair of Spain in London, while 24 hours later, England reaches for history at the same venue against Denmark.

Apparently it is coming home and I for one am sick to death of hearing about it. Only joking, good luck Englanders and the other three teams involved.

And good luck with your tips for the penultimate matches in the tournament and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say as the ever important voice of the crowd, still in the hunt for victory.

Here are the panel’s thoughts on all the semi-final action.

Mike Tuckerman
Italy, England

If you’re judging purely on momentum, Italy would surely have to start as favourites in their semi-final with Spain. The Spaniards have largely flattered to deceive throughout the tournament and have relied on goalkeeper Unai Simon to bail them out more than once.

That being said, Spain have done well to battle their way through to the semis. This one could be close, but I’m going to have to back the Italians on recent form.

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Jorginho of Italy controls the ball

(Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

A tournament that started so disastrously for Denmark could end up with them reaching the decider. Unfortunately for the Danes, they come up against an England side enjoying the distinct advantage of running out in front of a passionate Wembley crowd.

Like the other semi-final, this game could be closer than first anticipated. It’s just hard to see how England bottle the chance to win a trophy when they’re so close to the finish line.

Stuart Thomas
Italy, Denmark

There is something about the poise and mood in the Italian Euro 2020 campaign that makes me think they will advance to the final.

Spain have found better form of late and are never to be underestimated. However, Italy look likely to be one of the two sides involved at the death and whoever does face them will need to produce something special in order to beat them.

I’ve been tipping against England lately, despite growing up supporting them in my formative years. Texi Smith has been roasting me quite hard as the Three Lions have roared their way into the last four, reminding me constantly of the might and power of the British empire.

While I acknowledge its influence, I’m hoping the emotional Denmark continue their fairy tale, after what loomed as a nightmare tournament early on. There are more than enough football reasons to suggest the Danes could well produce the upset. #doitforChristian

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Christian Eriksen

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Texi Smith
Spain, England

The Italians have given us so much entertainment this tournament that we just want it to continue. They could have blown tournament favourites Belgium off the park in the first half, but instead let their opponents back in the game and made it tough for themselves.

Spain were taken all the way by the surprise package Switzerland in the quarter-finals and will need to be much better to give themselves any chance of making it through this top-billing semi-final.

This game promises to be an encounter between two teams who are desperate to show their people that they are worthy of adoration and single-minded support and defeat is unthinkable. While the big money will be on Italy, the smart money will be on Spain and I’m going for what sounds like an upset, but in reality is just a recalibration of the natural pecking order in European football.

Spain to soak up enormous pressure and Pau Torres to leap the highest to power home a header from a rare corner. The rest of the game will be a niggly affair. The increasing play-acting and professional time-wasting from the Spanish will prompt the Italians to take the higher moral ground (as if they wouldn’t do the same thing).

A late send off for Spain will allow Italy to take off the shackles for one frantic final push, but it won’t be enough as Dani Olmo comes off the bench to sneak a second in injury time on the break. Cue weeping from the blue corner and pure ecstasy from the red corner.

Spain fans

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

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The England versus Denmark game has English fans and media poised to write another moment in history. They will be expecting joy and disappointment in equal measure in the lead up to this game, but the sheer weight of the nation and the casting aside of COVID-19 rules to make Wembley a cauldron will give England the lift they need in this home fixture.

There will be signs of a repeat of the Scotland game, where expectation is eclipsed by reality and workmanlike hassling in midfield. Martin Braithwaite will blaze over when well placed and an unkind deflection will see the unusually floppy-haired England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford stranded as a Thomas Delaney shot whistles past the post.

A murmur will be heard around Wembley and the fans will be calling for Jack Grealish as the hour mark passes with no goals. The knight in shining armour will duly arrive and take the game by the throat and take a tight hold of the midfield.

Raheem Sterling will be the first to benefit, drilling home from a cute pass from the Villa hero, before a clever one-two frees Kyle Walker to race half the length of the field to cap off a stunning second-half performance. England through to the final!

Pandemonium in London, riots in Scotland and Ireland and a severe spike in COVID-19 cases as the Viking armada retreats across the North Sea. What a final we have in store.

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Pablo Bateson
Spain, England

London’s calling and the first of two semi-finals at Wembley Stadium is the clash between two giants of world football.

Italy have won all five of their games in the tournament, although they were far from convincing in their round of 16 victory after extra time. They subsequently held on to prevail over Belgium and are slightly favoured by most observers to reach the final at the expense of Spain.

It’s worth remembering that at the Euro 2012 final, La Roja demolished the Azzurri 4-0 and then four years later at the round of 16 in a reversal, the latter won 2-0.

Spain struggled early in the group stage and then found their mojo with 12 goals in three winning matches. However, defensively they have been vulnerable and will need to tighten up to withstand their opponents’ fluent attack led by Lorenzo Insigne.

In a very close and potentially fiery encounter, I’m looking forward to some Alvaro Morata and Ferran Torres sweet finishing on the way to ultimate victory.

England are now in devastating form and with confidence sky high and home advantage, it’s hard to tip against them in their quest for a first major tournament final since 1966.

Harry Kane celebrates with Jordan Henderson.

(Photo by Chris Ricco – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

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The Danes have delivered one of the most remarkable sustained comeback sequences of any team at a European finals in the tournament’s 60-year history. Any further progression will be an absolute bonus and their bid for a second Euro title should not be underestimated.

De rød-hvide will relish the opportunity to upset the current competition favourites on their home turf. However, they’ll need to successfully absorb plenty of pressure from the Three Lions and then take full advantage themselves from limited clear-cut chances on goal.

Raheem Sterling is already in the running for player of the tournament, in his role as a goal scorer and provider. His partnership with Harry Kane has become a vital cog in England’s rise and I’m expecting them to win comfortably.

Semi-finals Mike Stuart Texi Pablo The Crowd
ITA vs ESP ITA ITA ESP ESP ?
ENG vs DEN ENG DEN ENG ENG ?
Group stage total 18 19 23 18 22
Round of 16/QF 6 7 8 7 9
Current total 24 26 31 25 31

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