Italy vs England
SUN 11 JULY 2021 – KO 20:00
BETTING & MATCH PREVIEW
In what is a massive match, Italy and England clash on Sunday night at Wembley in the final of Euro 2020. Both teams have looked impressive on their journey to the final.
Roberto Mancini’s team has been superb from the start of the tournament, winning their first three group games in style. In the knockout stages, they have beaten Austria in extra-time, Belgium 2-1 and defeated Spain on penalties in the semi-finals after a 1-1 in normal and extra time.
The Azzurri have proven incredibly difficult to defeat in the international game of late, as they are now unbeaten in 33 matches. Former Manchester City head coach Mancini has only suffered two defeats during his three years at the helm. He will be confident of avoiding a third defeat in this clash.
Italy have also proven to be a stubborn opponent at the European Championships, as the Azzurri have lost just two of their last 20 matches in the competition over 90 minutes.
One part of the Italy team that never seems to change is their solid defensive play. Although they have conceded in each of their last three games, Mancini’s team had previously kept 11 clean sheets. The loss of wing-back Leonardo Spinazzola through injury will certainly affect their defensive play.
When it comes to the European Championships, Italy have been bridesmaids more often than brides, as they have won the competition just once, back in 1968, while finishing as runners-up in 2000 and 2012. They have now reached the last eight in their last four appearances in the competition.
There is a real sense of excitement and belief in this Italian team that was missing under previous head coaches. Mancini has lifted the team expertly after they failed to qualify for World Cup 2018. The current team is not just defensively solid like previous editions, as this a dynamic and attacking side.
Like Italy, England’s semi-final went to extra-time. However, Gareth Southgate’s team recorded a 2-1 win over Denmark. The winning goal came from Harry Kane. The Tottenham forward saw his penalty-kick saved by Kasper Schmeichel, only to fire home the rebound. The goal was deserved, as England dominated for much of the game and the first period of extra-time.
The England captain has now scored four goals and needs one more goal to equal Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal tally of five at Euro 2020. Now full of confidence, he will believe that he can get on the scoresheet once more on Sunday night.
The Denmark game saw the end of a superb defensive run for England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and his defence. A superbly hit free-kick from Mikkel Damsgaard ended a run of seven straight clean sheets for the Three Lions. Only England great Gordon Banks can match the Everton stopper for consecutive clean sheets at an international tournament.
England’s unbeaten record cannot quite match the Azzurri’s, but Gareth Southgate’s team are undefeated in their previous 12 internationals, having won ten games in normal time and one in extra time. Like their opponents, they are difficult to score against and beat.
Unlike Italy, England are in new territory by making it to the final of a Euro’s, as the Three Lions only ever appearance in a major international was back in 1966 when they beat Germany 4-2 at Wembley to become world champions. There seems to be a confidence within the team that Euro 2020 could bring an end to that long trophy drought.
Italy have had the better of meetings with England of late, as the Azzurri have lost just one of the last seven international meetings with Sunday’s opponents. During that time Italy have beaten England 2-1 at World Cup 2014 in the group stages, while also claiming a 4-2 penalty victory in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.
England have also recorded wins in just two of the last 14 meetings with Italy. The Azzurri’s last visit to Wembley in 2018 ended 1-1. The Three Lions will need to be at their best to end that torrid recent run against Mancini’s exciting team.
Italy are once again without influential wing-back Leonardo Spinazzola, who impressed immensely in the earlier rounds. Chelsea’s Emerson is likely to come to replace the Roma star. However, Rafael Toloi is also an option, as the Atalanta player came off the bench against Spain as a replacement for Emerson. Further forward Domenico Berardi looks set to have to settle for a place on the bench once more.
England head coach Gareth Southgate has not selected an unchanged starting eleven in three years. However, Sunday maybe when he breaks that run. There may well also be a slight tactical change, though, with Luke Shaw and Bukayo Saka playing as wing-backs and England playing with three centre-backs. The likes of Jack Grealish and Phil Foden could be used as impact substitutes in the second half.