Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The Euro 2020 Semi-Finals

Here's what happened in the quarter-finals:

Belgium 1 - 2 Italy
Switzerland 1 - 1 Spain (Spain wins 3-1 on penalty kicks)
Ukraine 0 - 4 England
Czech Republic 1 - 2 Denmark

And that leaves us with the following semi-finals:

Tuesday, July 6 (in London, England):
Italy v. Spain

Wednesday, July 7 (in London, England):
England v. Denmark

Here are the latest odds to win the tournament:

England:  3 to 2
Italy:  2 to 1
Spain:  3 to 1
Denmark:  9 to 1

29 comments:

  1. Italy and Spain are nil-nil at the half.

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  2. Still no score after 57 minutes.

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  3. Spain's usual strategy is to hold the ball for as long as possible with short, sharp passing. Italy's usual strategy is to play defense and wait for the other team to make a mistake. Putting them up against each other is like watching someone run the Four Corners against the 1984 Georgetown Hoyas.

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  4. Ah, but there's the counter-attack! Sure enough, Spain finally took a shot -- and as soon as Italy's goalkeeper got the ball, the Italian team was racing down to the other end as fast as possible. The ball fell to Federico Chiesa (Juventus), who made a nifty move (the Italian players are always better at offense than I remember) and blasted the ball into the corner of the net.

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  5. Italy now leads 1-0 with 62 minutes gone, and Spain is now under pressure to attack.

    In the game so far, Spain has held the ball for 65 percent of the time, and it trails 1-0. That's a perfect summary of the two teams and how they approach soccer.

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  6. In 1970, Brazil beat Italy 4-1 in the finals of the World Cup, and the more I've watched Italy play soccer, the harder it is for me to believe that any team ever scored four goals against Italy.

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    1. Lots of Pele in my 1975 cultural experience right now. I saw a news clip where he was visiting President Ford at the White House. I don't know if I've ever mentioned that I had a Pele lunchbox when were at Concord.

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  7. Oh, but in the 79th minute Spain breaks through! Italy seemed to have the game well in hand, but from the midfield Spain ran a beautiful give-and-go play that allowed Alvaro Morata (Juventus) to beat Italy's offside trap and go one-on-one against the keeper. His finish was, as the English say, clinical, and we are all tied at 1.

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  8. 90 minutes: Italy 1 - 1 Spain

    Three minutes of injury time.

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  9. And that's it. 1-1 after full time. They're going to extra time -- and then probably to penalties -- but I'm going on with my life.

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  10. As I expected, the match went to penalties and Italy won 4 PK's to 2. I'm traveling tomorrow, so I'll have nothing to say on the England-Denmark match.

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  11. England beat Denmark 2-1 in extra time to reach its first major final since the 1966 World Cup. There was great rejoicing in England.

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  12. So it came down to England and Italy. England scored in the second minute, and then tried to run out the clock. That lasted until the 67th minute, when Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus) tied things up. And that was pretty much it until the 120th minute, when both teams went to penalties.

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  13. Italy won the toss and went first. Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo) made his kick.

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  14. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) countered for England. 1 to 1.

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  15. Andrea Belotti (Torino) went next for Italy, but his penalty was saved by Jordan Pickford (Everton).

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  16. Harry Maguire (Manchester Utd) hammered his penalty into a corner of the net, and England led 2-1.

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  17. Bonucci went next for Italy, and whistled his kick into the top left corner of the net.

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  18. Marcus Rashford (Manchester Utd) pulled his kick outside the left post and missed. 2 to 2.

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  19. Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus) whacked his penalty down the middle to give Italy th lead.

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  20. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) went next for England, but his penalty was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), the Italian keeper. Italy led 3 to 2.

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  21. Jorginho (Chelsea) had a chance to clinch the match for Italy, but his kick was saved by Pickford -- giving England another chance.

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  22. So it came down to Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), who is only 19 years old and who was put into the game to take this final penalty kick. Saka aimed at the right side of the goal -- only to find his kick blocked by Donnarumma! Italy wins the match, 3 to 2 on penalty kicks.

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  23. I hate penalty kicks, and Italy won both the semi-final and final on penalty kicks, so I regard this tournament as a disappointment. But Italy was by far the best team in the tournament, and any other outcome would have been a mistake.

    Italy wins the European Championship for the first time since 1968, having lost the finals in 2000 and 2012. This is Italy's first major title since the 2006 World Cup. England will have to wait until at least the 2022 World Cup, which will take place next November and December in Qatar.

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  24. Brutal. How soccer and (less so) hockey sort out their ties is one of the main reasons that I can't stay excited about either of these sports. I don't know how else to do it, but their overtimes are, for me, too different from their regulation play--I feel like I've invested two and a half hours in watching something that then is decided hastily and in random fashion. Of course, if I have actual rooting interest, I love it when team wins, but, on the whole, it feels goofy.

    That said, I respect your point that the right champion of this tournament was identified.

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