The long-awaited EURO 2020 final is here, and to many people’s surprise, it will feature England and Italy, who fought their way through the gauntlet and are now only one step away from lifting the prestigious trophy. England and Italy will clash on Sunday, July 11, at Wembley Stadium, marking their first meeting since March 2018, when they parted ways with a 1-1 draw.
England vs Italy
When: Sunday, July 11 – 20:00 BST
Where: Wembley Stadium in London, England
Weather: Cloudy, 18°C
Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED)
Italy enter EURO 2020 finals without a single defeat across their last 33 outings, which translates to a streak that is lasting for the last three years. Their last defeat happened in September 2019, when the Azzurri lost to Portugal (0-1) in the UEFA Nations League group stage.
England weren’t as successful with their performances over the years, but they have definitely shown more this tournament. Now the Three Lions are only one win away from finally “bringing it home” as they look to satisfy their fan’s thirst for international silverware, which they failed to do since winning the 1966 World Cup.
Italy Unimpressive In the Semis
Italy edged past Spain in EURO 2020 semi-finals, eliminating La Roja with penalties. Roberto Mancini’s men started the game strong and were the better team for the first part of the match, after which it was the Spanish squad who took the reins of the match in their hands.
The first half ended in favour of Spain, who produced five goal attempts to only one of Italy with 61% ball possession. The final 45 minutes of the game weren’t that much different, and while Italy showed a bit more fight, there wasn’t much to separate the two teams.
The game ended with a 1-1 draw and eventually went into penalties. Italy won after Dani Olmo and Alvaro Morata failed to convert their chances, which is hardly worth celebrating. Italy ended the day as the better team on paper, but you could argue that it was Spain who played better football and should have come out ahead.
That, however, wasn’t Italy’s only iffy showing of the tournament. If we look back, the Azzurri struggled against Austria, and while they ended up winning the match with two goals in 95’ and 105’, they weren’t nearly as dominant as they perhaps should have been against no.23 in the FIFA World Rankings.
One thing Italy have been good at is defending their goal. They have conceded only two goals within 90 minutes (against Belgium and Spain) in the last 14 outings.
At the same time, they weren’t too effective in the attack, scoring only three in their last four, against Wales, Belgium and Spain. Much of their struggles in the front are due to Ciro Immobile’s poor form, who is goalless in his last three outings and has managed only two goals in the tournament.
England Look Better Than Ever
While we can praise Italy’s defence, it’s not like England lack quality in the back. The Three Lions have a solid goalkeeper in Jordan Pickford, who has conceded only one goal throughout the tournament, and even that came against Denmark in the semi-finals.
That isn’t too surprising if we consider the quality of players Gareth Southgate has at his disposal in the back. John Stones and Harry Maguire have both been exceptional at EURO 2020 and are arguably two of the best centre-backs at the tournament.
Are they better than the Italian duo in Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci is up to debate, but they definitely aren’t worse.
Like Italy, England needed to win their semi-finals with penalties, however, there was one big difference between the two bouts. England were much better than Denmark and should have won within 90 minutes, whereas you can’t say the same for Italy’s match with Spain.
It’s hard to deny that England and Italy are two of the best teams at the tournament; however, we were much more impressed with England’s improvement throughout EURO 2020. Italy started their journey to the title strong but started to cool down, whereas the Three Lions are the complete opposite.
Southgate’s men edged past Croatia (1-0), drew with Scotland (0-0) and narrowly won against Czech Republic (1-0) to make it out of the group. Then they shifted into a higher gear and dominated their matches against Germany (2-0), Ukraine (4-0), and Denmark (2-1).
Italy vs England Betting Picks
England field a much deadlier squad, headlined by Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Raheem Sterling, and the current best goal scorer in the world, Harry Kane, just to name a few. What’s more, this bout will be played at Wembley, which is just an added benefit for the Three Lions as they look to establish themselves as the best team in Europe.
Italy have done well to make it thus far, but it’s hard to find a solid argument in their favour after their recent showings, as they take on one of the strongest teams England has ever had.
Prediction: England +0.00 Asian Handicap – 1.74 at Sportmarket