Amassive crowd of 60,000 spectators are ready to bear witness to the Euro 2020 semi-final clash between Italy and Spain at the Wembley stadium on Tuesday. Meanwhile, England itself is getting ready to meet Denmark in the other semi-final clash on Wednesday.
Spain have a good record against Italy, after winning on penalties when they met at the European Championship back in 2008 at the quarter-finals in Vienna. Spain went on to win that tournament, and they also defeated Italy on the way to back-to-back titles four years later in Kiev.
Italy got the upper hand more recently with a 2-0 win over the Spaniards in Euro 2016, and they are also looking like the stronger team this year. Spain barely scraped through the group stage and were lucky to win against Croatia in extra time the round-of-32. They then slipped past Switzerland on penalties in a performance that is still far from impressive. The Azzurri have been more convincing in comparison, defeating world number one Belgium on their way to the semi-finals.
Italy have now strung together 32 matches while remaining undefeated. "We know that if we play the way we have in the last 30 matches or so then we can come away with a good result," said Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci in the pre-match press conference.
With the match being held in London, both Italian and Spanish fans will be hard pressed to make it to the game unless they reside in the UK. Wembley has a seating capacity of 90,000, and lighter coronavirus restrictions mean that over 60,000 people will be allowed to watch the match live.
Despite this, the British government did not ease travel restrictions for fans traveling from either country. Italian coach Roberto Mancini believes that the situation is unfair. However, he is more concerned about the match itself, especially the fact that he will be without the services of full-back Leonardo Spinazzola, who suffered a torn Achilles tendon.
The winner between Italy and Spain will be facing either England and Denmark, who will play the second semi-final on Wednesday. The atmosphere in England is optimistic, with the team yet to concede a single goal in the competition so far.
English fans are hungry for a major trophy, especially after enduring a drought since the 1966 World Cup which they incidentally lifted at Wembley.
"We hadn't been to a semi-final in so long as a country, so the belief wasn't there. I'm sure the fans are believing more now," said Harry Maguire.
Meanwhile, Denmark are fired up for a good result after player Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch in on of their Group Stage matches. They are inspired to play for the title in honour of their teammate who is fortunately on the way to recovery.