As we all know, the Euro 2020 tournament was postponed from last year, but the day has finally come where the end is near, and the final is upon us.
Tournament favourites and consistent from the start, Italy, will face off against another consistent side, England, where both nations will be looking to make history with a win.
After overcoming Spain on penalties in the semi-finals, Italy progress having gone unbeaten since matchday one where they have beaten the likes of Belgium and then Spain along the way.
Similarly, England have also gone unbeaten since matchday one and have seen off the likes of old rivals Germany along the way, which seemed to be the turning point for the Three Lions in the tournament.
Having played six out of seven of their matches at home, England will yet again have home advantage and will look to use that to get over the line in their final game. Italy though is a strong side with youth and experience and despite having their group stage matches at home have had to travel a bit more than England did and will be looking to cause an upset away from home.
- Head to head:
In their last five previous meetings Italy W1, L1, D3 scoring six and conceding five goals along the way.
Italy are 3/10 to win the game and England are 2/63 to win the game.
- Previous defensive record:
Italy overcame a Spain side 4-2 on penalties after the game finished 1-1 in normal and extra time. Whereas England beat Denmark 2-1 after a debatable penalty decision given to England in which Harry Kane stepped up for, but had it saved by Kasper Schmeichel, Kane then reached the rebound first and scored to send Wembley ecstatic and England through to the final.
- Players to watch:
England’s Harry Kane has scored four goals during the knockouts, equalling Gary Lineker’s national record of ten major international tournament goals in the process. Lorenzo Insigne netted a late equaliser in the last Wembley head-to-head and scored Italy’s decisive winning goal against Belgium.
- Team News:
Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy) remains out with the achilles tendon injury he suffered earlier in the tournament.
- Predicted Line-ups:
Italy possible line-up: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne
England possible line-up: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Phillips, Rice; Saka, Mount, Sterling; Kane
Roberto Mancini, Italy: “We have been working towards this for many years so we are very happy and I can only thank the players for what they have done so far. We have won nothing yet; we will have to win on Sunday to consider it a success. England will have an entire stadium behind them. It will be on us to put them under pressure. A final is a bit different from other games, we will have to play with focus but also with joy because you can only win a final if you take pitch to have fun.”
Gareth Southgate, England: “We’ve got to enjoy the fact we’re in the final but there’s one more massive hurdle to conquer. Italy are a very good side, I’ve thought that the last couple of years. They are in outstanding form and have defensive warriors who have been through everything. It’s a great game to look forward to.”
Last six form guide:
England should be the more confident side as they are on home soil with a near full stadium behind them and they have only conceded just once all tournament, the goal coming in their last game against Denmark. Despite coming through the group stages not conceding, Italy was soon put under pressure in their first knockout match when they conceded to Austria but came through as winners. But England will know they are beatable and both teams can score.
Italy will look to make their history by winning this tournament for the first time since 1968 and England will look to make their own history by winning it for the first time ever.
Despite reaching the 2018 World Cup semi-finals where England were knocked out by Croatia before the final, this time around they were sure they were not going to make the same mistake.
By progressing to the final this is now the biggest moment in English football in 55 years- the last time they were in a final in the 1966 World Cup final.
So, will Mancini’s Azzurri men break English hearts by going 34 games unbeaten or could Southgate’s men ensure that it really will be coming home. Either way, it should be an epic, tense and nervous, yet thrilling game that will in one way or another create history for one either Italy or England.