Northern Ireland legend gives his expert view on the Euro Finals
Wow, what a performance from England. They are now genuine Euro 2020 contenders, make no mistake about that.
After getting on the scoresheet against Germany, I knew that Harry Kane had joined the party and he didn’t disappoint in last night’s emphatic 4-0 win over Ukraine, bagging a deadly double.
His confidence is now sky high which is just what Gareth Southgate wants at this stage of the tournament.
It’s as good a performance as I’ve seen from England — it is really looking good for them.
They were solid at the back, all over the Ukrainians in the middle of the park, and their finishing was top drawer. They look the perfect unit from front to back.
And when you look at the players Southgate brought on — Marcus Rashford, Kieran Trippier. Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham — my goodness, their strength in depth is unbelievable. The manager has some squad of players.
I was thrilled to see Jadon Sancho get a starting shirt and he didn’t disappoint. I thought he was fantastic. He went past people with ease. When you have someone with pace, they really do frighten defenders.
Southgate has got his tactics and his system right when it has mattered in every game so far. He knows what his team has and he knows their strengths. He has so many match-winners. Kane was possibly denied the goal of the tournament when the goalkeeper got a finger-tip to the volley he hit. It was tremendous.
Kane is back — he is probably one of the best target men in the game and that’s bad news for Denmark. I really don’t see Denmark troubling England in the Semi-Final. They could well go on and win the tournament.
I can confidently predict it will be an England versus Italy Final.
The Italians were really impressive in their win over Belgium on Friday night.
They have got better as the competition has progressed. I remember them doing the same thing in the 1982 World Cup in Spain. They gathered momentum game after game, and they ended up thumping the Germans 3-1 in the Final.
They are now looking the real deal, although they have picked up a few injury problems. They will certainly miss defender Leonardo Spinazzola, who had been one of their star performers.
He looked to be in a fair amount of agony when he was carried off with an Achilles tendon injury — one that ended his tournament.
Italy haven’t won the Euros since 1968, but this could be their year. It’s a team playing with confidence. They are unbeaten in 32 games and have now won 13 on the bounce. They look so solid with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci at the back.
There are no weaknesses in the Italian side. I also love the camaraderie. When Spinozzola blocked that chance at the back post from Romelu Lukaku, Bonucci and Chiellini celebrated as if it was a goal. They were sending out a message they were all in it together.
I was so impressed with them. They are undoubtedly the best team at closing down people, they all work their socks off — and the goals come from all over the park. The two they got on Friday were superb, particularly Lorenzo Insigne’s strike, it was sensational.
That’s where Spain fall down — the goalscoring department.
They had 28 shots at goal against Switzerland, but only had 10 on target. They struggle to put the ball in the net and that will be their downfall.
The penalty shoot-out was woeful and it just about summed up Spain. When Sergio Busquets missed the opening spot-kick, it was their sixth penalty miss on the bounce! It’s crazy, I’ve never seen anything like it.
It’s a young Spanish team, but it’s a side filled with ability. Dani Olmo runs his socks off, but can’t finish.
I don’t fancy Spain will go much further. I’ve no doubt that the Italians will progress to the Final.