The Euro 2020 semi-finals have arrived.
Euro 2020 semi-finals
After weeks of thrills, spills and drama across the first European Championships in half a decade, it all comes down to three games to settle who will be crowned conquerers of the continent.
Spain and Italy will slug it out for the first spot in the final on Tuesday night, before effective hosts England attempt to reach their first major final since 1966 against heroic underdogs Denmark.
It’s incredibly tough to know which combination of the quartet will be walking out for the final at the weekend, but that’s because all four nations have squads packed with world-class talent.
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As such, you’d have to be a mad man to even attempt working out how Denmark, Italy, Spain and England’s top-level stars would possibly blend into a combined XI.
But when did that ever stop us? Well, here at GIVEMESPORT, we’re gluttons for punishment and surefire masochists, so we couldn’t resist taking on the challenge anyway.
With so much quality across the English, Spanish, Italian and Danish cohorts, we had to leave out some of the best players at the tournament in order to whittle down the talent to just 11 players.
Combined semi-final XI
We are primarily judging our decisions based on performances at Euro 2020 itself, but we will lean on the overall quality and recent club form of players whenever there are some close calls.
So, without further ado, be sure to check out our combined XI of the Euro 2020 semi-finalists below:
GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
The forever-underrated Kasper Schmeichel ran him close, but it’s hard to look past the dominance of Donnarumma – who has conceded just once from open play at the Euros – between the sticks.
RB: Kyle Walker (England)
One of the weaker positions in the XI, it must be said, but underestimate Walker’s importance to England at your peril because his defensive nous and recovery runs are a serious ace in the hole.
CB: Harry Maguire (England)
England’s already-watertight defence at Euro 2020 has looked like a walking, talking Fort Knox since Maguire returned to the fold and his world-class status is surely beyond reproach at this point.
CB: Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)
In the interest of being transparent, my initial reaction was to select Aymeric Laporte because the Spanish juggernaut is nothing shy of one of the world’s best centre-backs.
But I couldn’t make that call in good conscience when Spain have shipped five goals in five games, which is a shaky record when compared to the three clean sheets on Italy’s stat book.
As such, Bonucci narrowly gets the nod over his similarly heroic partner in crime, Giorgio Chiellini, on the goodwill of impressive Euro 2020 form despite being a very close match-up to Laporte.
LB: Joakim Mæhle (Denmark)
This had Leonardo Spinazzola’s name written all over it, but his crushing Achilles’ injury against Belgium means that we’ve had to improvise and our sole Danish representative gets the nod.
It was incredibly tough to leave out Luke Shaw after his Ukraine masterclass, but it’s hard to look past a Player of the Tournament contender fresh from producing a stunning quarter-final assist.
CM: Marco Verratti (Italy)
The Italian midfield has been an indefatigable engine at Euro 2020 and it speaks volumes that Verratti is ranked as the best player at the entire tournament by WhoScored.com statistics.
CM: Jorginho (Italy)
From one Italian maestro to another, Jorginho will be a genuine Ballon d’Or contender if he wins the Euros, thriving game after game for Azzurri and dropping an absolute masterclass against Belgium.
CAM: Pedri (Spain)
Like, duh. Anyone who’s watched a single minute of a Spain game at Euro 2020 will know exactly why the Barcelona wizard is pulling the strings in our combined XI. The world really is his oyster.
RW: Raheem Sterling (England)
With three goals from out wide, all of which have been winners, Sterling is rightfully in the mix for Player of the Tournament and I’d be out of my mind not to deploy him in the combined front three.
ST: Harry Kane (England)
For my money, Kane is the best player still at the tournament and it’s a testament to his lethal finishing that he’s still in with a shot of winning the Golden Boot despite having not scored in the group stages.
Kasper Dolberg, Ciro Immobile and Alvaro Morata are all top-class strikers, but they don’t hold a candle to a striker fresh from racking up a mind-boggling 37 Premier League goal contributions.
LW: Lorenzo Insigne (Italy)
As tempted as we were to switch the underrated Pablo Sarabia on the left, Insigne has been a force of nature for Italy this summer and adds an unmatchable level of directness and energy out wide.
Some tough calls
While it’s nigh on impossible to predict which of the four nations will become European champions, we feel pretty confident that this combined XI would lift the trophy without breaking a sweat.
And with everyone from Jadon Sancho to Laporte and Ciro Immobile to Sergio Busquets forced to take a seat on the bench, it really goes to show how much quality is still going strong in the tournament.
As a result, regardless of who wins and who drops out in the semi-finals, you can bet that they’ll be plenty of high-quality goals, skills and clashes along the way. We can’t wait to see it unfold.