Euro Football: Italy-Spain, rebirth and the masters of the game in the semi-finals

Italy’s “Rinascimento” vs Spain’s “Recquista”: The Euro semi-final match between Italy’s Roberto Mancini and Spain’s Luis Enrique, in the evening in London, dedicates the renaissance through the game of two great football nations whose star really faded…

For bookmakers and many experts, the poster was supposed to be very different: this first shot window to qualify for the final promised France and Belgium what looks like revenge for the 2018 World Cup or even a “final before the letter”.

But the Blues fell in eighth place, and the Red Devils in the quarter against Italy (1-2). And on the fabled lawn of London, where history will now be written until Sunday, present unexpected spoilers, slightly missing from the radar: Roja are off the track in the 2018 World Cup knockout stages and the squad is doomed to watch the last World Cup from the sofa, for the first time in sixty years.

At the origin of this flashback, two coaches arrived in 2018. One of them, Roberto Mancini, 56, revolutionized the game of a team devastated by failure in the playoffs, after falling in the group to the Spaniards. The other, Luis Enrique, 51, gave a spirit to a slightly worn out formation.

Promises of renewal were there, and were not confirmed during the tournament.

Spain initially suffered with two draws (Sweden and Poland). But the clear victory over Slovakia (5-0) cleared heads.

Since then, La Roja has shown good resources, failing in a great match, to hold off Croatia (5-3 before noon) and then Switzerland (1-1, 3-1 on penalties), following Juventus striker Alvaro Morata.

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“This choice made the impossible: give hope to all Spain and make them dream of achieving what seemed so far-fetched,” Emilio Contreras, deputy director of the sports daily, received on Saturday. BrandHe dreams of the fourth and third continental title in four editions after being crowned in 2008 and 2012.

“This project is designed for Qatar (the 2022 World Championship), but we are already looking at the major countries head-on,” said Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Federation.

Despite perfect qualifications (10 wins in 10 matches), Squadra has raised reservations about its ability to maintain its freshness against the big players, due to the little international experience of its troops and even fewer opponents.

After five victories in the scent of Magical Nights, the Azores have now also convinced Italy and Europe with their toughness and shimmering play. The fans We can no longer imagine stopping there, especially after Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku were muzzled in the quarter-finals.

“There is an incredible desire, a great respect for the roles, the energy and the friendship between the players,” he counted, with admiration, ex-Nacional star Alessandro Del Piero after the demonstration against Belgium.

Thus, despite the huge air gap in recent years, Spain and Italy thwarted expectations to find themselves, for the fourth consecutive time in the European Nations Cup, ahead of the semi-finals of the Nations League scheduled for October.

In 2008, Spain broke its “glass ceiling” by defeating Italy in the quarter-finals (on goal), and opened a golden period until the final of Euro 2012, punctuated by a big slap for the Azzurri (4-0).

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In 2016, Nacional avenged themselves in eighth place (2-0).

Between these two emerging choices, loving possession of the ball, the battle in the middle must be decisive, the Italian Nicolo Barilla confirms: “We will try to keep it so as not to let them control the rhythm,” emphasized Interiste, betting on “phenomena” Jorginho and Marco Verratti to control the Spaniard Sergio Busquets and Pedri.

Italy lost precious Leonardo Spinazzola (Achilles tendon rupture). Emerson, his natural substitute, will try to seize the opportunity to finally shine in London, having played little this season with Chelsea.

For Luis Enrique, the only question concerns the health of Pablo Sarabia (right close-up), the top scorer of Slovakia and Croatia. The Paris Saint-Germain striker must make way for Dani Olmo, the young icon of Spain in the recovery.

Italy – Spain

In London (Wembley), 9pm / TF1 and beIN1. Rule: M. Felix Brych (all).

Italy: Donnarumma – Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini (hat), Emerson – Barilla, Jorginho, Verratti – Church, Constant, Ensen./

jam: Roberto Mancini.

Spain: Simon – Azpilicueta, Laporte, P. Torres, Alba – Koke, Busquets (ch.), Pedri – Moreno, Morata, Olmo./

Tess Larson

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