10 JULY 2021 | Angelo Ziovas
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Italy v England
After a month-long tournament of 50 games being played, we are down to the final 2 of 24 teams of Euro 2020. The tournament has been brilliant but there can only one winner. Italy and England will face each other in the final for the right to be champions of Europe.
Italy, having only won one European Championship ever, all the way back in 1968, will be looking to break their European duck after 53 years, and 9 years after their last Euros final appearance where they were beaten heavily 4-0 by Spain, this Italian side has shown great qualities and looked hungry to win this year.
Roberto Mancini has managed to get Italy to this final only conceding 3 goals and continuing the amazing run of unbeaten games to 33 games, 28 of those games being wins and only 5 draws. Traditionally the Italian teams have been known to score a goal and then sit back and defend, this side is happy to score more should they need to and was certainly evident in their games in the tournament. They have also proved they can beat higher quality teams as that is something people had questioned after the group stage as they have beaten both Belgium and Spain en route to the final and looked good in both displays.
For the Italians, the injury of Leonardo Spinazzola did hurt them a little against Spain and will be interesting to see how they handle the loss of him in the final as he has been key up until his injury for Italy. Lorenzo Insigne will be key for Italy as he has been throughout the tournament, showing his quality scoring the goal that proved to be the winner against Belgium. Nicolo Barella has also been needed going forward as he has contributed well going forward while Bonucci and Chiellini will need to be prepared against the pacy attackers of the English.
In a similar vein to Italy, this could be England’s first European Championship win in history, however unlike Italy, the last time they won a major tournament was in 1966 when they lifted the world cup.
The English defence has been the talking point of their run to the final as they have only conceded 1 goal, which was from a free kick, meaning they still have yet to concede from open play. With that stat they will have confidence going into the final, believing that they can get through Italy who have yet to not score a goal in a Euros game this year. England will most certainly look to their attackers to try and outpace the Italian defence as they have shown to do so throughout the tournament.
Luke Shaw will prove crucial as he has been dangerous going down the left side of the pitch as he is joint 2nd on the assists chart, he will be looking to add to that and will be key to any attack England make. Harry Kane is another that has been quality throughout the tournament scoring 4 goals, where 2 more will take him into top scorer of Euro 2020.
Italy have never lost to England in a major tournament, with their last win coming in the group stage of the 2014 world cup. But, like Italy, England are unbeaten in their last 12 international matches, only drawing once and conceding just 2 goals. This game will most likely not see a lot of goals, possibly no goals and we see it go to penalties. The last time that happened was 2012 Euros where Italy went through on that occasion, however, as we have seen this year, the team who have won the previous game on penalties has not come out victorious in their next game. If the game goes to penalties, it may be advantage England as the Italians have come off the semi-final, winning that game on penalties.
Possible line up for Italy:
Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Jorginho, Barella, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne
Possible line up for England:
Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Phillips; Saka, Mount, Sterling; Kane