Here we go, Euro 2020 Final: ‘Notti Magiche’ vs. ‘It’s Coming Home’, two football nations facing each other in the Temple of Football. Italy vs. England as a final is unheard of at this level. Let’s make the best of it.
Italy vs. England
Sunday, July 11, 2021 – 03:00 PM EDT at Wembley Stadium
The Azzurri and the Three Lions never challenged each other to lift a trophy. Something similar happened in 1990 when Italy beat England 2-1 in the 3rd/4th place final of the World Cup. It was a consolation medal for 2 teams packed with stars. Now the stake is much higher, and Italy will try to increase the tally of 11 wins in 27 precedents (England have 8), by adding the most precious gem to their history of the challenge.
However, they are going to play in England´s home of football and it is going to be the toughest challenge of Roberto Mancini´s tenure so far. Southgate can count on renewed enthusiasm, albeit the semi-final game with Denmark posed more than one risk for his team. For the first time ever, they conceded a goal to the opposition, and it was the game opener. An unprecedented situation that demanded Kane & Associates cope with and react fast.
Despite a struck of luck courtesy of Kjaer's unlucky deflection into his own goal, the Three Lions showed indeed composure and readiness in facing a new situation. Denmark´s challenge was the toughest for the Three Lions after they cruised over Ukraine in the Quarter Finals and beat Germany in the last 15´ minutes of the Round-of-16 game.
Italy are not going to Wembley for a lap of honor though. Mancini´s squad are aware of the big chance they have and that it would be the coronation of a 5-year plan that skyrocketed the Azzurri back into the Olympus of international football. From whichever side you see it, both stories have a fascination, and it will be a pity that one of the two sides will be runner-up at the end of the showdown.
Despite Denmark´s 3-4-3, Southgate did not give up his 4-at-the-back plan and bravely set up his XI according to 4-2-3-1. With the Italians assumingly having control of the middle of the park, is he going to change something or not? He might still start on the same formation, but we don´t exclude some on-the-run correction. Mancini is adamant on 4-3-3 as a start, but, against Spain, he showed he is not a dogmatic tactician and can adapt to the Italian way of defending and counterattacking when it is needed.
Emerson Palmieri passed the test, however, now comes the tougher Raheem Sterling challenge. Immobile improved his game against Spain but was still far from his Serie A form, is this the last chance for Belotti to get the nod? England´s XI shall be the same as seen against Denmark.
Italy against Wembley. This is the sum of the challenge ahead for the Azzurri. The epic of a successful endeavor would live forever if the Azzurri managed to rise the Euro trophy for the second time in their history. However, Italy have already won hearts back and gone farther than anyone could and would predict, Italians included, before the tournament kick-off. From this point of view, Mancini has already won his challenge regardless of Sunday´s full-time result.
For him and the Italian football, it would be the icing on the cake. They need Jorginho´s calm as shown by the Italian playmaker when he took the last penalty against Spain in the shoot-out. England must carry the favorites' burden but, with the support of an entire nation and the home stadium at hand, it will be a lighter weight to carry. It´s an appointment with history for the Three Lions and no one even considers the aftermath in case England would not achieve the title. The pressure is undeniably high.
Will the final game be more open than the semi-finals? The stake is high for both teams and neither of the two wants to leave Wembley as Runners-Up. As a result, the match might be quite blocked during the first 45´ minutes albeit both teams might net at least once. Therefore, we are suggesting the following juicy combo: Draw at HT and Both To Score as a decent odd for our bettors.