We share our thoughts on the upcoming Semi Finals.
Helder Postiga is the only expected change from the Portugal side which beat the Czech Republic in the Quarter Final match at the National Stadium in Warsaw. The ‘a equipa das quinas’ striker pulled up midway through the first half with a thigh problem and is unlikely to feature again in this tournament.
Del Bosque has no new reported injury concerns ahead of tonight’s Semi-Final although the Spanish coach has been quoted as saying “tiredness is creeping into the squad” and may look to make a few changes. In my opinion Fabregas doesn’t look 100% fit and that could mean a start for Torres with Pedro also pushing to be included from the beginning.
Bastian Schweinsteiger has only just returned to training after the 4-1 drubbing of Greece in the Quarter Finals citing the ankle ligament problem which hampered his Euro 2012 build-up as it continues to cause concern. He said: “To be honest, my ankle worries me. It has not healed in an ideal way.”
However feeling within the German camp is that ‘Schweini’ will play and when captain Philipp Lahm was quizzed recently he had this to say: “I am not too concerned. Bastian knows his body inside out, he is experienced and he will be able to deliver on Thursday.”
Of the four Semi-Finalists Italy have been hit the hardest and after a punishing 120 minutes of football and the psychological roller coaster of the subsequent penalty shoot-out Prandelli will do well to field a team capable of beating ‘Die Mannschaft’.
Giorgio Chiellini (thigh) and Ignazio Abate (muscle injury) are both struggling and will receive intensive treatment in the hope that both are ready for action. The availability of Daniele De Rossi also hangs in the balance after the Italian midfielder was withdrawn in the remaining moments of normal time against England with a back problem. He said: “My sciatic nerve is causing me some discomfort. After Diamanti’s penalty, I couldn’t even get up and embrace him.”
However, on a positive note Thiago Motta is expected to return after the experienced midfielder revealed he was fit for selection. The PSG player has recovered from a hamstring injury and after missing ‘The Three Lions’ match is keen to once again be involved.
Riccardo Montolivo is another member of the ‘Azzurri’ squad who is expected to be fine after it was revealed post-match the midfielder was due to take a penalty but couldn’t due to cramp.