Chief @FPLHINTS’ Picks – Euro 2020 Contest #9 - Semi Finals and Final
45 matches have elapsed in almost no time – 4 teams remain – but only one can reign supreme. In a matter of days we will find out who the new European champions will be. Could it be Italy with their Mancini-inspired brand of football? Or Spain and their mixed approach to this tournament? Then again, are Denmark to be reckoned in the final stages following their collective experiences as a team? Lastly, we have England who have never won the Euros in any previous format. But is it finally coming home? Here are my confirmed picks for Perfect Picks’ Contest #9.
Perfect Picks Euro 2020 Contest #9: Italy v Spain
On historical pedigree alone this match could have very easily been the final of bygone eras. However, neither of the teams have really been world beaters in recent years. Spain have reached the final four of a major championship for the first time since Euro 2012, as have Italy. In the case of Spain, the squad as a whole seems a far cry away from when the likes of Iniesta and Xavi led them to their 2008-2012 zenith. In fact, Spain have only won just once without the need of extra-time in this tournament. Questions remain on whether Spain’s manager, Enrique, even knows his best team. Italy will provide them with a stern test. The Azzurri are playing with a new sense of confidence. Beating Belgium’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’ in the last round was no mean feat. Italy are the only remaining team to have won all of their games at Euro 2020 to date. The loss of Spinazzola will be a minor setback at best, but Italy have more than enough in their ranks to see this tie through, even if it goes beyond 90 minutes. Prediction: Italy to win by 1
England v Denmark
The Three Lions’ sensational win against Ukraine was more than sufficient to book their place in a European Championship semi-final for the first time since 1996. Back then their final-four game was played at the old Wembley and as destiny would have it this tie will also be on home turf – at the new Wembley. It seems remarkable that England haven’t conceded a single goal to date at Euro 2020. Their defence has been remarkably sound and has clearly come of age under Southgate. Many have questioned his tactics but clearly they have worked well enough to get the team this far. As for Denmark, they’ve clearly gone through an emotional rollercoaster but have kept their composure during a very difficult period. The absence of Eriksen since the events of their first game has no doubt been a big loss to the team. But at the same time it’s also been a source of inspiration and has clearly brought the squad – and the nation – together. Many of the Danish players are seasoned professionals in the Premier League and for some it may almost feel like a mini-derby. Yes, it surely will be a close match but you’d be forgiven to think that maybe England will reach their first major final since 1966. Prediction: England to win by 1
Final – Winner of SF 1 v Winner of SF2
The good thing about Perfect Picks is that you can actually change your picks even seconds before kick-off for every game. At the time of writing this article I don’t know who the finalists will be and I’m making an assumption that it will be Italy and England. Both teams have had a remarkably successful tournament and it seems logical for both to have a good chance to face off against each other on Sunday. It’s almost hard to split them based on their accolades at Euro 2020. If they do play against each other both teams will obviously be on guard and set up in a way so that they can’t lose. They could even cancel each other out. Maybe we will need extra-time. Maybe we will need penalties. And maybe, just maybe, history will be made. Prediction: Draw (penalties)