The speed of the UEFA Euro 2020 semi-final between Spain and Italy at Wembley Stadium is likely to be controlled by holding midfielders Sergio Busquets and Jorginho.
The semifinalists on Tuesday night, Italy and Spain, combined for 23 goals in the Euros. As a result, the variety and vibrancy of their attack-bent players, strikers with velcro-touches who pinch the goals, midfield tricksters who conceptualize the strikes, and pacy flanks-men initiating attacks, is undoubtedly pivotal in this match.
However, Jorginho and Sergio Busquets, the holding midfielders for both Italy and Spain, hold the keys to victory. Cesar Azpilicueta of Spain was asked who he should stop to halt Italy. He selected Jorginho, a Chelsea teammate, without hesitation. He described himself as their team’s “best player.” Nicolo Barella was asked the same question: “
Neither would appear on the scoresheets or the assist statistics, but their teams would dominate the game with their tempo-controlling, ball-shielding, and space-encroaching effectiveness. It is the gear itself, not the gear-shifters, that is the problem. They make the guys around them tick by ticking themselves.
Once Busquets, their final link between their golden age and the current one, rejoined them, Spain’s cutting edge in the midfield was palpable. He transformed them from a lumbering, sterile squadron into a lethal and penetrating force. His return resulted in a barrage of goals. He unburdened Pedri, freed Koke, and Spain began to come alive; they were able to transform possession into a goal-scoring threat as a team. His exceptional game awareness protected the fragile backline from counterattacks. After losing the ball, his positioning helped Spain hold and retake possession.
“If there’s an issue, I’d rather swallow it myself than push a teammate to do so,” Jorginho says. “My main focus is not to lose the ball and to give my best, to make sure I leave everything on the pitch,” Busquets says. I’m here to assist.”
Despite their similarity, they are distinct. Busquets moves quietly and unobtrusively, seldom yelling at his teammates or arguing with officials. “You watch the game, but you don’t see Busquets,” Vicente del Bosque once said poetically. When you watch Busquets, you have a full view of the game.” Jorginho, on the other hand, is continually shouting orders and expletives, earning him the moniker “Radio Jorginho.” Busquets is known as a “snowplow.”