EUROPE: Euro

Date: 11-07-21

Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Wembley Stadium (London)

The Euro 2020 final descends on Wembley as Italy attempt to win this competition for the first time since 1968, whilst England look to win it for the first time ever. The cards appear stacked against the ‘Azzurri’ as they play at the ancestral home of English football, but this is an Italian side that knocked out Belgium and Spain en-route to this showpiece, stringing together a national record 33-game unbeaten streak in the process. They’ve also shown mettle to have twice defeated teams via extra-time or penalties in this tournament – just as they did vs France in their last major tournament triumph (2006 World Cup).

In fact, no team has gone to extra-time on more occasions than Italy in European Championship history (nine times), but the challenge for boss Roberto Mancini will be getting his side to extend the goalscoring form that’s seen them net 12 times so far (averaging two goals per match). If they can, another record beckons – Italy have never scored more than 12 goals at a major championship.

However, in their way is an England side that’s conceded just once this tournament, and is eyeing their first major piece of silverware since the 1966 World Cup. A tough semi-final against Denmark where England won a Euro knock-out match after going behind for the first time ever shows they have character, but they have H2H history to overcome having last beaten the Italians in competitive action back in 1977.

England boss Gareth Southgate has faced various criticism since his 2016 appointment, but he’ll feel vindicated by ending the Three Lions’ 55-year-wait for a major tournament final. They’ve played 302 competitive matches in official UEFA and FIFA action since that last showpiece, but England have made it this time despite drawing at HT in four of their six Euro 2020 matches.

Players to watch: England’s Harry Kane has leapt into action with four goals during the knock-outs, 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 H2H, and scored Italy’s decisive winning goal vs Belgium.

Recent Stats:

  • Italy’s form in last 5 matches: DWDWW.
  • England’s form in last 5 matches: DWWWD.

PREDICTION: Home/Draw and Under 4.5

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