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Five things to know ahead of EURO 2020 semifinal round

Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards dive into the favorites for the EURO 2020 quarterfinal matchups with England v. Ukraine, Spain v. Switzerland, Belgium v. Italy and Denmark v. Czech Republic.

EURO 2020’s amazing run through our imaginations has left four teams vying for the trophy of European champions.

Two teams might’ve expected to be here, another would’ve hoped it could reach this point, while a fourth may well be stunned to have made it this far after a near-tragic start to EURO.

[ MORE: Kane opens up about EURO, Tottenham ]

Denmark’s players have stayed out of the headlines but are now being monitored by several big name clubs with the transfer window open in Europe.

And statistically, having the ball has been key and shooting very important... unless, of course, you’re the team trying to make sure it comes home to England.

Christian Eriksen update

With Denmark in the final four despite the absence of star midfielder Christian Eriksen, it’s worth updating the status of the former Tottenham and current Inter Milan playmaker following a scary on-pitch cardiac arrest in the Danes’ tournament opener.

Eriksen was spotted in public for the first time since surgery to implant a cardioverter defibrillator when he was photographed with a young fan at the beach this weekend.

Possession’s not dead

Pep Guardiola’s gonna love this stat: Three of the four semifinalists rank 1, 3, and 4 in possession through five matches of EURO 2020.

So counterattackers beware at Spain’s absurd 67.5% possession record at this tournament, as well as third-place Italy’s 56.1% and fourth-place Denmark’s 54.1%.

England is ninth, but at 52.3% is closer to fourth than dropping out of the top 10, so having the ball has most certainly mattered in this tournament.

And perhaps it follows, though doesn’t surprise, that Italy, Spain, and Denmark are 1-2-3 in shot attempts per game. England’s 7.4 is 22nd (!!) and the Three Lions are behind all three in shots conceded per game.

It’s not definitely coming home, but England has

England’s quick trip to Rome for a 4-0 demolition wasn’t just its best performance of the tournament.

The Three Lions are back in London for the semifinal and final (if necessary), having a distinct home-field advantage against Denmark and (again, if necessary, Italy and Spain).

Despite the statistics above, England is likely considered the bettor’s favorite to win not only to encourage betting but not also because Italy and Spain will be expected to bear the marks of a brutal top-half of the bracket (although either Italy or Spain will have an extra day’s rest on their final opponent).

Spain v Italy history; Mancini, Enrique seek legacy

Italy and Spain have staged some beauties on big stages, with the Italians responsible for a 2-0 Spanish ouster at EURO 2016.

That Round of 16 match saw goals from Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle, but Chiellini is one of few players who will be in the fold again come Tuesday.

Seven of Spain’s starters from that day are not in the squad at EURO 2020, while only three Italian starters remain in the team for this tournament.

Antonio Conte and Vicente Del Bosque are also gone, of course, and Roberto Mancini and Luis Enrique can join elite company by adding to their club trophies. The 51-year-old Enrique won a bunch of trophies leading Barcelona, while Mancini has spearheaded silverware grabs for Man City, Inter Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio, and Galatasaray.

Transfer targets in focus

Jadon Sancho’s already moved and Harry Kane’s demand was going to be high regardless of this tournament, but some semifinalists have driven their value sky-high.

Joakim Maehle (Atalanta) has been a bonafide star with Eriksen out for Denmark, while Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli has certainly buttressed his value with dominant displays for Italy.

Matteo Pessina (Atalanta) is another Italian who will be attracting attention, and Dani Olmo (Spain, RB Leipzig), Mikkel Damsgaard (Denmark, Sampdoria), and Declan Rice (England, West Ham) also fit the bill.

Follow @NicholasMendola