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Euro-2024: a tantalizing classic Spain-Italy, England expected at the turn

It's Heritage Day! Euro-2024 with three monuments of world football in the running on Thursday: resurgent Spain challenges Italy, outgoing champion, and England, eternal candidate for titles, wants to rectify against Denmark a mixed first impression.

Be careful, monument in danger! Schalke 04 has long since lost its splendor of the 2000s and is now languishing in the 2nd German division. But its imposing stadium in Gelsenkirchen will reconnect for an evening with the thrills of European evenings.

The Arena Aufschalke will even host a classic: for the fifth consecutive edition, the roads of Italy and Spain cross during a Euro.

This 41st episode of the Italian-Spanish rivalry is the second big shock of this German tournament after Spain's demonstration against Croatia (3-0), already in this group B.

After the quarter-final of Euro-2008 decided on penalties in favor of the Nazionale or the final of Euro-2012 dominated by La Roja (4-0), the two teams meet again for the unofficial final of group B: the winner, if there is one, will have his ticket for the round of 16 and has an option for first place.

– “A World Cup Final” –

“It's a classic in all competitions. It could very well be a World Cup final. I'm sure we'll see a great show tomorrow (Friday),” said Spanish coach Luis de la Fuente.

Three years after its unexpected coronation at Wembley, the Nazionale did not leave with the favor of the forecasts after having barely beaten Albania in its first match (2-1).

Euro-2024: a tantalizing classic Spain-Italy, England expected at the turn

Italy team coach Luciano Spalletti (c) speaks with his players during a training session at Hemberg-Stadion in Iserlohn, Germany, June 19, 2024 © AFP – Alberto PIZZOLI

She at least showed great strength of character, after conceding a goal only twenty-three seconds after kick-off. Character is what coach Luciano Spalletti has made almost a priority.

“We will have to maintain the same level of intensity for 90 minutes, play quickly, if we don't do that, they will hurt us”, he predicted.

At the end of the fight, there is qualification for the round of 16 to pick up even before the third group match. Because Albania and Croatia, unable to decide between themselves on Wednesday (2-2), only collected one point in two matches.

Wednesday, Germany were the first nation to qualify for the 8th, beating Hungary 2-0, after sweeping Scotland 5-1 in the opening match.

England, European vice-champion, is also on the verge of the next round, thanks to a first controlled victory, if not completely exciting, against Serbia (1-0).

– Deschamps at press conference –

“We are happy to have obtained this result but we know that we will have to to be better against a formidable Danish team”, admitted coach Gareth Southgate on Thursday.

His “Three Lions” showed two faces in the first match: diligent and sometimes rejoicing before half-time, more resilient and less exciting afterwards.

Euro-2024: a tantalizing classic Spain-Italy, England expected at the turn

Denmark national team midfielder Christian Eriksen attends a training session at the Frankfurt Arena, Frankfurt, June 19, 2024 © AFP – Adrian DENNIS

However, they know how tough the duels against Denmark can be. At the previous Euro, the English needed extra time in the semi-finals to defeat the Scandinavians (2-1).

They will find some familiar faces, starting with those of Christian Eriksen and Rasmus Hojlund, whom certain internationals frequent on a daily basis at Manchester United.

The Danes did not start the Euro off on the right foot, however. They conceded an unexpected draw against Slovenia of Jan Oblak and Benjamin Sesko (1-1), which complicated their qualification mission.

The Slovenes, at the conversely, are in high spirits before their second duel against Serbia (3:00 p.m.), currently bottom of the league.

As for the French team, there is news expected concerning captain Kylian Mbappé, victim of a broken nose Monday against Austria (1-0).

Coach Didier Deschamps must speak at the conference press release late in the afternoon from Leipzig, where the Blues face the Netherlands on Friday.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116