Italy vs. Netherlands: Date, Time, Live Stream, Preview for Euro U-21 Match
Make sure you're free at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, because the Netherlands vs. Italy match is appointment television for any football fan.
This game features two of the more high-profile squads in the Under-21 European Championship. Both sides are full of players who have already made reputations for themselves in top European leagues.
There probably wasn't a more fun squad to watch in the group stage than the Dutch, except for the third match against Spain. In wins over Germany and Russia, the Netherlands displayed some beautifully attacking football.
Italy have needed a bit more luck at times, but there's no denying the talent in their squad. They finished as deserved Group A winners.
Whomever wins this match will be facing off against the winner of the Spain vs. Norway semifinal earlier in the day.
No country has won the tournament more than Italy. They've taken home the title on five occasions, the last one coming in 2004. The Dutch won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007, their only two wins in this competition.
Here's a quick preview for this highly anticipated semifinal.
When: Saturday, June 15, at 2:30 p.m. ET
Where: HaMoshava Stadium, Petah Tikva, Israel
Live Stream: ESPN3 (Replay at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU)
Italy Player to Watch: Ciro Immobile
When he was taken off injured against Israel, it looked like Lorenzo Insigne was done for the tournament. While the injury isn't as bad as it looked, the striker is still considered "doubtful" for the semifinal against the Netherlands, per Francesco Velluzzi of La Gazzetta dello Sport.
That leaves Fabio Borini and Ciro Immobile as the likely options up top for Italy.
Although Immobile hasn't had a great tournament to this point, he's due. He failed to catch on at Juventus but did very well for Genoa this season, finishing with five goals and three assists in 33 Serie A appearances.
With Genoa finishing 17th in the table, there's a chance Immobile will be off this summer. The semifinal is a good chance for the player to put himself in the shop window, if getting to the final isn't motivation enough for him.
Netherlands Player to Watch: Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum has been superb in his two matches of the U-21 Euros. Cor Pot sat him for the match against Spain.
Lined up on the right wing, Wijnaldum has done most of his damage when moving into the center of midfield. He's unleashed a couple of beautiful goals. The fun part about Wijnaldum is that when he gets the ball, he runs right at the defense. There's no waiting around to see how the field opens up. Wijnaldum simply starts running and makes somebody step to him.
The 22-year-old scored 14 goals and assisted on another five in 33 league matches for PSV. This tournament has been a great showcase for Wijnaldum as his performances can sometimes get lost in the shuffle with many fans not bothering to watch the Eredivisie.
If the Dutch are going to get to the final, they'll need Wijnaldum to continue offering a threat on the right wing, whether he's cutting inside or delivering the ball in to Luuk de Jong.
Who advances to the final?
The Dutch have looked very good in the attack, but their defense has been sloppy at times. There were the two second-half goals they surrendered against Germany. Had it not been for the sending-off for Russia, that match could have been very different as well.
The 3-0 loss to Spain was an outlier because the Netherlands played a weaker team than they'll field against Italy.
Still, the high line they play will come back to bite them against Italy. The Azzurri have so much talent in the attack up top, even without Insigne.
Plus, the Netherlands have a history of flaming out in international tournaments. Why wouldn't that rub off on the U-21 side?
This should be an exciting match, with a couple of defensive errors dooming the Dutch to defeat.
Italy 2, Netherlands 1
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