We might be looking at the soon-to-be-crowned European champions, here.
Italy are storming through Euro 2020, and their breathless yet stubborn display in the 2-1 victory over Belgium truly showed they’re not to be underestimated. Roberto Mancini has got this team playing in sensational style, and their club-like togetherness could carry them to glory.
Standing in their way are Spain. Luis Enrique’s men have been much less impressive, but only a fool would rule this one as a cut-and-dry victory for Gli Azzurri. Mancini has to get his selection spot on, especially with the devastating loss of Leonardo Spinazzola to injury.
But who should he choose?
Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK) – He made two or three key saves against Belgium, and Donnarumma’s stock is continuing to skyrocket with each passing game. A giant between the sticks.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo (RB) – He suffered a gruelling evening up against Jeremy Doku on Friday, but anyone would have struggled against the raw Belgian. He’ll keep his place.
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – Half of a monstrous centre-back partnership. Bonucci nullified Lukaku for large periods of the game on Friday, and looked back to his best.
Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – How is Chiellini 36 years old, and yet he is still producing performances like this on the biggest stage? A timeless player and a proper leader.
Emerson Palmieri (LB) – No Spinazzola for the rest of the tournament, so Chelsea’s Emerson Palmieri is likely to step in. He might be rusty, but he’s got to adapt to the pace of the game from the off.
Nicolo Barella (CM) – Scorer of the opening goal on Friday, Barella is one of the first names on the team sheet. A bundle of energy and quality in the midfield.
Jorginho (CM) – Vital to Italy’s rhythm in the centre of the pitch, Jorginho will be asked to dictate the pace of the game against Spain, and keep the ball as much as possible.
Marco Verratti (CM) – Got caught up in a few arguments all over the pitch against Belgium – no surprise there. Verratti can’t be dropped though, no chance.
Federico Chiesa (RW) – Earned his place in the team with the crucial extra-time goal against Austria, and justified his selection with a relentless display against the Red Devils. He deserves another chance in the lineup.
Ciro Immobile (ST) – The centre-forward turned in a horrible performance in the last round, but Mancini is unlikely to change it up at this stage of the competition. More is needed from Immobile, though.
Lorenzo Insigne (LW) – It was his goal that eventually won the game on Friday, and Insigne will be hoping to replicate that stunning curler again versus Spain.