Wembley hosts the finals of EURO 2020, between Italy and England. After 55 years, the Three Lions will have a chance to lift one major title, and it will again be at home. Gareth Southgate‘s boys have defeated Denmark in the semis following a tough battle, but they can’t say that their rivals had an easier experience. Italy had to go through a penalty shootout to eliminate Spain. Azzurri are absolutely fantastic so far, riding on one of the best invincible streaks in the history of international football.
Italy (+180) was excellent so far during this EURO. With a win against Belgium, they had 15 consecutive victories in the EURO qualifiers and tournament, which was the new record on the continent. Overall, they have 33 games in a row without a defeat and want to make one more step and crown that incredible run.
There is no doubt that the biggest factor for this success is Roberto Mancini, who put together all the pieces of the puzzle, creating one of the most devastating units this nation had. We have to admit that Azzurri aren’t playing as before. They are a team that knows to dominate and are often imposing a high-intensity tempo in the field.
What is important for Mancini is the fact that his team isn’t relying upon just one or two players but the entire rotation. We didn’t see a big difference between the players in the starting lineup and those who come in off the bench. Plus, Mancini often mixes up the starting eleven. Interestingly this was the third straight game in which the Italians allow a goal, but so far, they’ve scored 12, becoming one of the best attacks in the history of EURO.
England (+170) hit back after conceding the first goal in the tournament against Denmark. Harry Kane and his boys fought back to eliminate fan-favorites Denmark, though after one very suspicious penalty. Ok. Let’s be realistic, that wasn’t a penalty, but England solved the Danes anyway.
Albion didn’t lose for 12 straight games, and during that span, they would allow just two goals, having 10 clean sheets. What is also noticeable in their matches is the inefficiency of the same, as seven of the past eight ended with under 2.5 goals, and both teams not scoring.
There isn’t too much philosophy in their approach. The defense is the primary during the game. England will attack only if there are some rivals’ mistakes or chances for counter-attacks. Other than that, set-pieces are their main weapon. Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane present the duo for scoring, with these two guys combining seven goals so far. Kane has four goals in three knockout games.
Leonardo Spinazzola tore his Achilles tendon, and he won’t be ready for this match. Other than that, all the Italian players are available.
England’s players are all ready for Sunday’s game.
Head to Head Game
England has only one win against Italy in the last eight direct games and currently hasn’t defeated Azzurri in three previous. The last time they met was in 2018, in a friendly international, 1-1.
There is no need to think too much here; the best possible bet is under 2.5 goals. Southgate will wait for set pieces, and the Italians, too, won’t be eager to open. These two sides have fantastic defenses, and we believe that they will be running the show in this matchup.
Pick: Under 2.5 goals
Now, as is usual, we’ll turn over to English soccer analyst Kurt Boyer for another main market pick on Sunday’s match.
-England is nearing a grand coup in club and international soccer in the 2020s. English Premier League clubs have already played multiple UEFA finals against each other in the past 3 years, and a European championship for Three Lions would cement Great Britain as the world’s foremost hotbed of soccer talent and teaching. Even the worst idea in a generation – 2021’s ill-fated “Super League” concept – hasn’t come close to slowing down the growth of football in the United Kingdom.
-The England National Team solidified its place as the Euro 2020’s gold medal favorite by smashing Ukraine 4-0 last Saturday, taking advantage of a fortunate quarter-final draw just as gamblers who flocked to England following the Round of 16 had hoped. Denmark’s form wasn’t nearly as pristine in a Q-Final with the Czech Republic, though the Danes played inspired football for ailing teammate Christian Eriksen, scoring twice in the opening frame to ensure a 2-1 victory despite late pressure from the Czechs.
-The England vs Denmark semi final was a fixture for the ages. Team Denmark appeared to be on the verge of an historic upset when Mikkel Damsgaard scored with a Ronaldo-like strike from 25 yards to beat Three Lions keeper Jordan Pickford.
-To describe England’s goal to draw level later in the 1st half as an “own goal” would be technically accurate, but the tally should not be confused with the bevy of howler own-goals seen in the tournament. England’s forwards simply knifed into the Denmark box and propelled a perfect cross over the goal line. Harry Kane almost suffered the same fate as Morata of Spain after failing to net a winning penalty kick in the 104th minute, but with his typical unique flair, Kane tracked down a rebound and scored to win a corker semi final.
-England and Italy find themselves swapping roles for the European Championship final. When Kane was still a junior and the Premier League’s superiority was still debated among soccer analysts, England’s squad had a reputation not unlike that of Team Italy. Each team was known as a scrappy side with an iron back line and meager chances of attacking like France, Brazil, or Spain. That’s changed by 2021, at least for the English. Three Lions have dominated the Euro 2020 statistics sheet on offense and are developing the rare ability to attack with forward numbers without sacrificing a clean sheet.
-In the not-so-distant past, England would have been considered the less-skillful side against any top European power, including Gil Azzurri. But the flair of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling for the Brits, contrasted with Italy’s back-line grit and lack of superstar presence at forward, creates a scenario in which Team England is likely to be Sunday’s aggressor while Italy’s fundamentally sound 11 parries attacks and looks to counter.
Kurt’s pick: England (+170)
Here is the preview for Copa America 2020 finals between Argentina and Brazil.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.