- 6 Jul 2021, 19:35
- Updated: 6 Jul 2021, 19:36
ITALY and Spain are almost ready for their huge Euro 2020 showdown at Wembley.
With 60,000 fans back at the Home of Football, England and Denmark are watching on as the two nations go head-to-head for a place in Sunday’s final.
- Kick-off time: 8pm BST
- TV channel: BBC ONE
- Live stream FREE: BBC iPlayer
- Italy XI: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Chiellini, Bonucci, Emerson, Jorginho, Veratti, Barella, Insigne, Chiesa, Immobile.
- Spain XI: Unai Simon, Alba, Laporte, Garcia, Azpilicueta, Koke, Pedri, Busquets, Dani Olmo, Oyarzabal, Ferran Torres.
Follow ALL the latest build-up and action with our live blog below…
- George Moore2 minutes ago
- Sam Dymondjust nowFLUID FRONT THREE The Spanish camp have been quick to quash rumours that striker Alvaro Morata has been left out of tonight’s starting XI on the basis that he is too familiar with his Juventus clubmates Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, who will be based at the centre of Italy’s defence. According to the Athletic’s Dermot Corrigan, Luis Enrique’s assistant Jesus Casas has stated that the decisions have been made in order to trouble Italy with pace and movement. We’ve a very set style of play but each player has their own unique characteristics. It’s not as if Juventus defenders know [Alvaro] Morata. We thought we could damage Italy another way. Three up front interchanging positions could be key.Jesus CasasThe Athletic
- George Moore12 minutes agoHAVE YOUR SAY Want to be in with a chance of winning £250 cash? Get your full-time score prediction in by kick-off and if right, you’ll enter our prize draw! Good luck.
- Sam Dymond14 minutes agoWEMBLEY WELCOME The national stadium is beginning to fill with supporters, many of those – thankfully – kitted out in the colours of Spain and Italy. Perhaps we will have an atmosphere to savour after all.
- Sam Dymond15 minutes agoTHE SPANISH YOUNG GUNS With the inclusion of 24-year-old Mikel Oyarzabal, 23-year-old Dani Olmo, and 20-year-old Eric Garcia, the average age of Luis Enrique’s starting line-up has significantly reduced. In fact, at 25 years and 352 days, tonight’s XI is Spain’s youngest team in a European Championship knockout game since the 1964 final versus the Soviet Union. La Roja prevailed that night. Can the youngsters of 2021 follow suit?
- Sam Dymond27 minutes agoSPAIN’S STORY Here are the players that have got Spain to another semi-final from pass-master Laporte to a fizzy Koke in midfield. Although, arguably, Spain’s top scorer should be Own Goals with three.
- Sam Dymond41 minutes agoSPAIN SUBSTITUTES 1 De Gea, 13 Sanchez, 3 D Llorente, 4 P Torres, 6 M Llorente, 7 Morata, 9 Moreno, 10 Thiago, 14 Gaya, 17 Ruiz, 20 Traore
- Sam Dymond27 minutes agoSPAIN XI The reports were right, and Alvaro Morata is out! So too is the injured Pablo Sarabia, and so Luis Enrique’s front three comprises of Ferran Torres, Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo. Enrique’s third change sees Eric Garcia in for Pau Torres, and partnering up with Manchester City clubmate Aymeric Laporte in central defence. Sergio Busquets captains the side on his 126th appearance for his country, sitting in the heart of Spain’s 4-3-3 formation. 23 Simon; 2 Azpilicueta, 12 Garcia, 24 Laporte, 18 Alba; 8 Koke, 5 Busquets, 26 Pedri; 11 F Torres, 21 Oyarzabal, 19 Olmo.
- Sam Dymond40 minutes agoITALY SUBSTITUTES 1 Sirigu, 26 Meret, 5 Locatelli, 9 Belotti, 11 Berardi, 12 Pessina, 15 Acerbi, 16 Cristante, 20 Bernardeschi, 23 Bastoni, 24 Florenzi, 25 Toloi
- Sam Dymond30 minutes agoITALY XI It’s just the one enforced – and expected – change for the Italians following their beating of the world’s number one ranked team, Belgium. The injured Leonardo Spinazzola is replaced by Chelsea’s Emerson at left-back as Roberto Mancini otherwise keeps faith with his heroes of Munich. Juventus centre-backs Leonard Bonucci and Georgio Chiellini – 70 years and 217 caps between them – hold things together at the back in a 4-3-3 shape that will match up with the Spanish. 21 Donnarumma; 2 Di Lorenzo, 19 Bonucci, 3 Chiellini, 13 Emerson; 18 Barella, 8 Jorginho, 6 Verratti; 14 Chiesa, 17 Immobile, 10 Insigne.
- Sam Dymond52 minutes ago
- Sam Dymond58 minutes agoTHE ITALIAN JOB Roberto Mancini’s squad have thoroughly entertained us on their way to the semi-finals of these European Championships. They’re now two matches away from eternal glory.
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 18:34MORATA OUT? Rumours are circulating across social media that Alvaro Morata has been left out of Spain’s starting line-up this evening, and has been instead replaced in attack by Mikel Oyarzabal.
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 18:32IRRESISTIBLE INSIGNE As well as the injured Leonardo Spinazzola, one of Italy’s most eye-catching performers at Euro 2020 has been Lorenzo Insigne. The 30-year-old has been involved in 13 goals in his last 15 appearances for for his country (six goals and seven assists), and netted a brilliant decisive strike in the Azzurri’s 2-1 win over Belgium in the quarter-final. By the end of the summer, his cut in from the left and curl to the far post with his right foot may become the most electrifying move in sports entertainment since the Tim Henman chip and charge.
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 18:20SPAIN’S SCORING CONUNDRUM There has been much discussion over this past month regarding Spain’s inability to score goals. A desire to walk the ball in, a penchant for missing penalties, and the wayward finishing of Alvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno have all added fuel to the fire that La Roja’s biggest issues lie up front. Yet, bizarrely, Luis Enrique’s side are currently the TOP SCORERS at Euro 2020. Spain have racked up 12 goals in their five matches so far – although it’s a statistic skewered by ten of those coming in just two games. The Spanish finally found their shooting boots in the 5-0 Group A win against Slovakia, as well as the 5-3 after extra-time slog versus Croatia in the Round of 16. However, they failed to break down Sweden on matchday one despite 75% possession, were unable to build on some good fortune against Poland, and couldn’t find a way past the ten men of Switzerland despite having a one-player advantage for 43 minutes. Alvaro Morata has scored two goals at Euro 2020 despite an xG rate of 4.0.
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 18:02IT’S COMING ROME Unable to travel from Italy? No problemo. Fans of the Azzurri have begun to arrive at Wembley in their hundreds for this evening’s match with Spain, and fully believe that their heroes are destined for Euros glory.
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 17:53ALLY PUTS THE BOOT IN… …and Ciro Immobile stays down. While Italy have regularly impressed at these finals, it’s fair to say that their main striker through the middle has been hit and miss. And Immobile’s inconsistent form came under the microscope even further following his antics surrounding Nicola Barella’s opener against the Belgians. The Lazio man attempted to con a penalty from the match officials by going down following a minor altercation with Jan Vertonghen, only to leap to his feet unharmed when realising his teammate had scored – an act that led to him being roundly mocked. If Immobile hasn’t always impressed at this tournament, then Ally McCoist has. The former Rangers striker has been an excellent co-commentator as part of ITV’s coverage, and was quick to scold the Italian in his match preview of tonight’s semi-final for bookmaker Coral.
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 17:39INVINCIBLE ITALIANS Not only did Friday’s victory over Belgium seal Italy’s place in the semi-finals, it set a new European Championship record for consecutive wins. Roberto Mancini’s men have now triumphed in 15 straight matches that include all ten in qualifying for Euro 2020, and their five games at the tournament. The Azzurri are also now unbeaten in 33 internationals (W27, D5), breaking a national record that had lasted since the 1930s. They have not suffered defeat in almost three years since a 1-0 Nations League loss in Portugal in September 2018.
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 17:32RIVALS GO FOURTH Italy and Spain tonight meet for a fourth European Championship in a row, and it’s the Spaniards who have the fonder memories when it comes to this fixture and his competition. La Roja famously triumphed at Euro 2012, demolishing Italy 4-0 in the final in Kiev with goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata. The one-sided nature of Spain’s victory was all the more impressive considering the teams had drawn 1-1 at the same tournament in their Group C opener. The Spanish were also successful when facing the Azzurri at Euro 2008, prevailing on penalties after their quarter-final tie had ended goalless; Cesc Fabregas netted the decisive kick. However, it was Italy that came out on top in their most recent Euros meeting. Goals from Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle five years ago helped Antonio Conte’s team to a 2-0 win in the Round of 16. Spain’s David Silva takes on the Italians in the final of Euro 2012.
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 17:09LOVE FOR LEONARDO Leonardo Spinazzola left the pitch on a stretcher and in tears on Friday evening, knowing that his hope of winning the European Championship with Italy was over. However, the rest of the Italy squad have vowed to succeed for Spina, and paid a rousing tribute to their stricken teammate on the flight home from Munich.
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 16:57SEMI-SONIC SPAIN You won’t find many pundits across the BBC and ITV backing Spain this evening, but they would do well to recall La Roja’s unblemished record when it comes to the semi-finals of European Championships. The Spanish have won ALL four of their previous matches at this stage of the competition, going on to lift the trophy three times in 1984, 2008 and 2012.
- 2-1 v Hungary AET (Madrid, 1964)
- 1-1* v Denmark (Lyon, 1984)
- 3-0 v Russia (Vienna, 2008)
- 0-0* v Portugal (Donetsk, 2012)
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 16:39FAN FICTION SIXTY THOUSAND football supporters will be allowed into this week’s two semi-finals – but don’t expect to see too many that have travelled over from Italy and Spain. Current quarantine restrictions mean that visitors from either country would be required to isolate on reaching the United Kingdom. The Italian FA have revealed they only received 125 tickets for the match, while head coach Roberto Mancini added that a lack of fans from Italy and Spain is “unfair.” However, the former Manchester City manager admitted that playing in front of a large neutral crowd was still preferable to games behind closed doors: “It is better to play in front of the public than in front of a few people. That is the beauty of sport.” Spanish boss Luis Enrique agreed with Mancini’s sentiment, stating the situation was out of their control: “It is a strange situation. We wish it was different but we accept it.” Hopefully, the stadium tonight will be full of those Italians and Spaniards now based in the UK.
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 16:25TEAM NEWS The injury suffered by Leonardo Spinazzola late on in Italy’s quarter-final win over Belgium dealt a crushing blow to Italy’s chances of Euro glory – but his teammates have vowed to fight on to the final without him. The Roma left-back pulled up 13 minutes from the end at Munich’s Football Arena with an Achilles injury, and has been ruled out for at least six months. Roberto Mancini is expected to replace him this evening with Chelsea’s Emerson, but otherwise the Italy coach is likely to name the same side that started against the Belgians. That means Federico Chiesa should keep his place on the right of attack with Domenico Berardi waiting in the wings, while striker Ciro Immobile will get another opportunity to lead the line despite the option of Andrea Belotti on the bench. Spain, meanwhile, have concerns over the fitness of Pablo Sarabia after the PSG forward departed their quarter-final with Switzerland at half-time due to an adductor muscle problem. Luis Enrique has plenty of options to replace Sarabia in his front three including Wolves’ Adama Traore and Gerard Moreno of Villarreal, but the Spanish coach will most likely opt for 23-year-old Dani Olmo. Elsewhere, Enrique must decide who partners Aymeric Laporte at the back having rotated Eric Garcia and Pau Torres at centre-half. Injured Italy star Leonardo Spinazzola has been ruled out for six months.
- Sam Dymond6th Jul 2021, 16:03SEMI-SATIONAL! It’s the final four! Welcome to Wembley for our live coverage of the first Euro 2020 semi-final between Italy and Spain. Twenty-four hours ahead of England’s big night, two giants of the European game do battle for the first spot in Sunday’s showpiece. Italy are favourites to reach the final, and have been ever since their campaign kicked-off against Turkey in Rome just over three weeks ago. Roberto Mancini’s men have been magnificent, breaking records left, right and centre thanks to their newfound attacking tempo mixed with some classic defensive dark arts. However, a long-term injury to one of their stars has cast a shadow over their success, and the Azzurri must now discover a way to progress without Leonardo Spinazzola rampaging up and down the left. In stark contrast, little was expected of a Spanish squad in transition ahead of the tournament, and just one victory inside 90 minutes from their five games so far justifies their critics. Yet La Roja are making a habit of finding a way to win when they need one most, and history shows that they’re not a nation for faltering once at the semi-final stage. Indeed, if coach Luis Enrique can finally get Alvaro Morata firing up front, it could well be Spain ascending the Wembley steps at the weekend to lift the Henri Delaunay Trophy for a third time in 13 years So stay with us for extensive build-up ahead of this evening’s action in London that will include team news, breaking stories and key stats.