The U21 European Championship is gaining pace with two high-profile semi-finals matches one of which will see Europe’s most decorated sides Spain and Italy lock horns in what is expected to be a mouthwatering piece.
Four-time winners on a mission
Spain remain one of the biggest favourites to claim the coveted title at this year’s edition of the UEFA European Championship in Poland. La Roja boasts a star-studded side bursting with some of Europe’s biggest talents such as Gerrard Deulofeu, Denis Suarez, Marco Asensio or Hector Bellerin. The Spanish side enjoyed a furious start to the tournament and went on to record all three wins during the group stage of the competition. The Spanish U21 side has thus extended its unbeaten run to 12 matches in a row ahead of the matchup with Italy. La Roja are brimming with confidence and rightly so as results serve as great promise ahead of the semi-final clash. The Spanish scored nine goals and conceded only one in three matches which is more than enough to boost their morale ahead of Italy clash.
Albert Celades did rotate his squad a bit during group stage and will thus have a fresh crop of players to choose from as he looks to field his strongest side against Italy.
Inconsistency an issue for Italy
It’s been more than a year now that Italy U21 side managed to notch back-to-back triumph in all competitions. A run that stretches to March 2016 saw Italy alternate between wins, draws and defeats and such was the form Azzurri flew on during the Euro 2017 in Poland. Having opened the competition with a 2-0 win over Denmark, Italy suffered a 3-1 blow at the hands of Czech Republic before wrapping the group stage of the competition with a minimal 1-0 win over Germany. Vital three points saw Italy move into the semifinals from a leading position in group C. Luigi Di Biagio’s lads now face a proper challenge against one of the lethal sides in the continent, but the five-time European champions will not head into the semifinals wearing the white flag.
The Azzurri have a couple of selection issues ahead of the game as Sassuolo star forward Domenico Berardi is banned. Right-back Andrea Conti is also suspended for the semis and Di Biagio will have to experiment at the most inconvenient moment.
La Roja have cruised through the group stage of the competition and will be expected to continue their fine form against Italy. Azzurri miss two of their influential first-team members and have a tall order in front of them. Games between two of Europe’s biggest rivals are traditionally exciting matches and we expect that trend to continue.
Top pick: Spain 1.83 (5/6) @Betfair
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – yes 1.95 (19/20) @Bet365
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 2.11 (10/9) @188bet