Wednesday, July 07, 2021

The first finalists

The semifinal match between Italy and Spain went as I expected except for the result: the Spaniards, whose quality has varied enormously during the tournament played some of their best football against an Italian side that was not allowed to play the possessive attacking style that has characterized their games in the tournament so far, and with better strikers Spain could have carried the day. 

Despite Alvaro Morata´s equalizer following Federico Chiesa´s outstanding first goal for Italy, Spain missed big chances or simply poor shots against an Italian side whose defense did not look as steady as in previous matches (this may be a comfort to their opponents in the final). 

In the lottery of penalties the misses came firstly from Dani Olmo, who until then had played an outstanding match, and then Morata, whose miss will probably be remembered more than his goal, and add fuel to his many critics. 

Although Spain deserved better in this match there is no doubt that seen over the entire tournament Italy are the right finalists. They have been strong and have a strong team spirit led by the ever-smiling Chiellini, who appears to love every moment of the tournament. 

Perhaps Chiellini is one of the few people who have realized that it is only football, and enjoying it must come before the result... 

Like almost every Dane in the world I am excited about tomorrow´s match, but weary about Danish chances against a top-motivated English side playing in front of its home spectators. Denmark (luckily) defeated England in a Nations league match in October last year (a prelude to their excellent World Cup qualifiers and this tournament) and will play without the massive pressure of expectation that burdens the English players. But I would still say that chances are heavily stacked (90%) in England´s favour to make it to the final and face a fantastic Italian side!

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