Italy’s victory over Germany in their final group game saw them book a place against the team to beat at the the Under 21 European Championships so far, Spain, after the Spaniard's eased to top of Group B.
Spain come into the semi-final on the back of three wins throughout the group stage, which includes a five-goal demolition of FYR Macedonia, with Marco Asensio bagging a hat-trick. The Spanish squad is arguably the strongest at this summer's tournament, with star names like Hector Bellerin, Saul Niguez and Gerard Deulofeu.
La Furia Roja are playing eye-catching football as usual, but unlike the first team in recent years, have the pace going forward to terrorise defenders. Champions League final goalscorer Asensio has starred for the Spanish side so far and will be hoping to carry on his form into the semi-final.
Italy hoping to spring a surprise
Italy’s Under 21 side isn’t as experienced as the Spanish side but has shown to be a fierce competitor similar with most Italian sides, they seem to know how to win in tournaments. Although many thought this summer's campaign was over in the second game when the Czech Republic eased past Italy with a 3-1 win. However, Italy bounced back, and narrowly beat a strong German side 1-0 which meant they topped the group.
This summer’s Championships for Italy has been dominated by the news regarding 18-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who reportedly rejected a big-money contract at AC Milan. This didn’t go down well with the Italian supporters, who proceeded to chuck fake money towards the goal where he stood.
The semi-final between Spain and Italy will be a repeat of the 2013 U21 European Championships final, when Spain won 4-2 with names like David De Gea, Marco Verratti, Thiago Alcântara and Alessandro Florenzi featuring in the star-studded line-ups.
This shows the quality of players this tournament can produce, with many of these players expected for big things in the future, playing well in the Championships may earn them a first team call up, or even a summer move to a European giant.
Spanish boss Albert Celades will have a full squad to choose from, which won’t be the case for Italy as Domenico Berardi and Andrea Conti, two key players in the Italian squad will be suspended for the semi-final.
The semi-final will take place at the Krakow Stadium in Poland on Tuesday, kick off at 20:00 GMT.