England vs Italy. 24 teams, 12 cities, 51 matches. Euro 2020 comes down to just two teams as England and Italy face off at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday evening in the final of the competition. Both teams, on their respective spectacular unbeaten runs in international soccer, have identical tournament records (five wins, one draw). Here is a breakdown of the Euro 2020 odds along with one last betting pick for this edition of the European Championship.
According to BetOnline Sportsbook’s Euro 2020 odds, the English are slight favorites to win the tournament at odds of -125. Considering this match will be played at Wembley Stadium, the Italians are very slight underdogs at Euro 2020 betting odds of +105.
Note: All odds and analysis in this article are as of the end of the semifinals and ahead of the final.
Who are the Euro Cup Betting Favorites?
Odds as of July 8 at BetOnline Sportsbook
The Favorite to Win Euro 2020
There aren’t too many arguments about the favorite expected to win Euro 2020. Is it worth betting on them? Let’s take a look at some of the factors for you to consider.
The English have been simply outstanding at Euro 2020. They have surely received the right side of the draw but that luck has been earned. Their defensive solidity has been one of the highlights of Euro 2020, with only Denmark breaching their goalkeeper at this competition. England’s Euro 2020 odds of -125 indicate an implied probability to win, according to Odds Shark’s calculator, of 55.56 percent.
Route to the Final
England were not at their best during the group stage but they still had so much more than the rest of their challengers. They started the tournament with a defining 1-0 win against Croatia as that result set the tone for the rest of Euro 2020. A goalless draw against Scotland and a 1-0 victory against Czech Republic followed, which ensured England topped the group without too much fuss.
Then came their biggest challenge of the tournament to that point as they were made to work exceptionally hard against one of the best teams in the world, Germany. England opened the scoring in that match but an error from the goalscorer, Raheem Sterling, provided a fantastic opportunity to Thomas Muller, whose shot drifted wide miraculously, much to the chagrin of Joachim Low in what was plausibly his final match as national coach.
England then came up against a tired Ukraine defense. While they were in the match at halftime, having conceded just one goal, the floodgates opened in the second half as England dangerously added some offensive fluency to their astounding defensive record.
After the 4-0 win against Ukraine, England were tested the most by Denmark in the semifinals at Wembley. Mikkel Damsgaard opened the scoring before a Simon Kjaer own goal toward the closing stages of the first half. The match was eventually won by Harry Kane in extra time. His penalty was saved but he followed the rebound in to score the decisive goal.
“Unbelievable – what a game, though, credit to Denmark,” Kane said of the match. “We dug deep and we got there when it mattered. We reacted really well. We’re in a final at home, what a feeling.”
“When you’ve waited as long as we have to get through a semifinal, the players – considering the limited international experience some of them have – have done an incredible job,” England manager Gareth Southgate said. “I felt we’d get there but I knew we’d have a different sort of battle. Denmark are so underrated as a team and they caused us a lot of trouble. We knew it wouldn’t be straightforward. The game the other night in Rome was so straightforward. We said to the players that we would have to show some resilience, that they would have to recover from some setbacks.”
“It was a top performance,” Raheem Sterling said. “We had to dig deep. It was the first time we conceded but we responded well and showed good spirit. It’s another step in the right direction. We have to focus on the weekend now. It’s step by step. We know what football means to this country. The energy, the atmosphere. It was top. Now we have Italy. We will celebrate a little, then focus on Italy.”
England’s Style of Soccer
This would not come as much of a surprise to followers of England in the last few weeks but their success has been driven by that defensive compactness. England opened the tournament with five straight clean sheets, a statistical record imitated by only one other team previously at a major international tournament.
England have had the factor of Wembley in their favor. And what an influential factor that has been too. Their best performance, ironically, at Euro 2020 came away from London when they thrashed Ukraine 4-0 in Rome. However, they have had to deal with their own despondent historical record at major international tournaments. For some context, this is England’s first final at a major (World Cup or European Championship) since 1966. Considering the depth and quality of their club league back at home, that is inexplicable underachievement.
They have deployed a methodical style of passing the ball while transitioning in a concerted fashion across the phases. That is why you won’t see England scoring too many goals against high-quality teams, like Germany’s success against Portugal earlier in the tournament.
That modus operandi has been tweaked and perfected by Southgate. Importantly, England’s players have bought into that method of operation. England now have the opportunity to bring the adage of “defense wins tournaments” back into written and spoken media across the world.
The stats throw so much light on the factors that have worked for England, and where Italy might have an opportunity to capitalize.
Firstly, goals. England are currently fourth in the tournament in goals scored (10). Here is some interesting information of how those goals have been scored. Four of England’s 10 goals have been scored from the right foot and five from the head (easily the highest in the tournament). No goals have been scored from the left foot. Crosses and dead-ball situations will be Italy’s focus from a defensive standpoint.
England have managed 58 attempts on goal, fifth in the tournament. A total of 25 of those have been on target, which puts England fourth in Euro 2020 in that metric. England have also been precise while passing the ball and maintaining the ball for a longer period of time. They have a passing accuracy of 87.7 percent: 2,984 passes completed out of 3,389 attempted passes. In terms of possession, they have kept the ball for 54.2 percent of the time in their matches, which is fourth best in the competition.
The Underdogs to Win Euro 2020
Italy and England have the exact same record in Euro 2020 (five wins and one draw in six matches after normal time). Still, the Italians are underdogs, albeit very slightly, to win the tournament.
Italy started this tournament with a 3-0 win against Turkey on opening night and have not let up since. They have overcome some massive teams already, including the No. 1 team in the world in Belgium, and Spain in the semifinals. This is not a team that England will be particularly pleased with having to face because of Italy’s stunning international record in the last few months. Based on these Euro 2020 odds, Italy have an implied probability to win of a little under 45 percent.
Route to the Final
Italy were not stoppable during the group stage, cruising past all their opponents in Group A to comfortably top the group. Then came some incredibly tough knockout tests, all of which they passed with impressive results.
In the Round of 16, Italy needed coach Roberto Mancini’s excellence as his late substitutes scored at the start of extra time. Even though Austria pulled one goal back toward the end, Italy were far too strong defensively to let up.
Then came a tough quarterfinal against Belgium, the No. 1-ranked team in the world. Italy scored two goals in the first half, including a delightful curling goal from Lorenzo Insigne with his right foot. Even though Belgium scored from the penalty spot, Italy stepped up the defensive pressure in the second half to ensure there were few chances.
Italy then made the trip to London to face Spain in the semifinals. Federico Chiesa scored another lovely goal with his right foot to open the scoring in the second half before Alvaro Morata equalized. There would be no more goals in that match till the start of the penalty shootout. Italy missed the first penalty but Dani Olmo also missed. Italy had just much more in the shootout, including a fantastic save from Gianluigi Donnarumma, to beat Spain and make the final.
“There’s no shame in admitting this: nobody shows as much resilience as us Italians,” Leonardo Bonucci said. “We suffered through the game, we were ready to do the dirty work, and suffer together to reach the final. Only those who don’t take penalties don’t miss. I was sure that I would score. To be honest, we didn’t know who to choose for the penalties because a lot of players wanted to take one. The five players who took one were confident.”
“There are some games when you have to suffer, but we deserved to be here,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini said. “We knew it was going to be tough. It wasn’t easy, and Spain surprised us at the start by deciding to play without a striker. This group, however, is amazing. Everyone wants to win, but this group of players wanted to do something special and they just did that. We wanted to get to the final, even if not many people believed that we would before the start of the tournament.”
Italy’s Excellence Under Mancini
A lot of credit for Italy’s excellent campaign has to go to the masterful management of Roberto Mancini. On paper, Italy didn’t match up as well against Belgium and Spain. That did not matter as the match started as his tactics were carefully and considerately executed from the majority of a young offensive core, excluding Ciro Immobile.
Italy have maintained an experienced defensive lineup, apart from goalkeeper Donnarumma, who remains the front-runner for UEFA’s Young Player of the Tournament. Mancini has allowed the youth in his team to display their usual creativity and move the ball around quickly across the phases while keeping his defense compact. There is plenty of statistical evidence of his style of play, which has worked spectacularly well at Euro 2020.
Italy have taken the most shots on goal at Euro 2020. They have taken 108 attempts on goal, second most at this competition, and close to double that of England. Of those 108, only 30 have been on target. Of those 30, 12 have been converted into goals, joint second highest at Euro 2020. There is the evidence that Italy have been a force in the final third at this tournament, and will continue to be in this final.
There are subtle differences between Italy and England in the ball distribution metrics. Italy have a passing accuracy of 86.3 percent (2,993 passes completed out of 3,446 passes attempted), with a possession rate of 52.3 percent. These are slightly below England’s numbers, which could be a potential point of difference as this final progresses.
Don’t dawdle on Italy defensively either. They have attempted 74 tackles, third most at Euro 2020. There could be cards in this one but Italy will not allow England to move across phases easily. They have also lost 53 tackles, highest at this competition. If that continues, there could be several cards in this match, which is atypical for a final of a major international tournament.
Betting Strategy for Euro 2020
After so long, you have one final decision to make: Italy or England. Considering England are in front of their home supporters, their Euro 2020 odds of -125 make sense. That is also where I’d be putting my money. There are several factors at play but the way England have overcome their offensive problems has been fantastic to watch.
Italy have had two emotional, drama-filled matches against Belgium and Spain en route to the final, which could have taken plenty out of them. England, on the other hand, had a relatively easy route to the semifinal after their win against Ukraine. Even though they have had one day less to recover, they should be picked up emotionally by thousands of supporters at Wembley.
There is no real point dividing your investment for this, unless you’re planning to take a certain profit at some stage during in-play betting. It isn’t a terrible idea but there are no guarantees that you will be able to, especially if the match is too close to call in the first half.
England will be desperate to end their drought in major international soccer. This is one of their best chances ever, as Southgate alluded to: “We’ve got to enjoy the fact we’re in the final but there’s one more massive hurdle to conquer. Italy are a very good side, I’ve thought that the last couple of years. They are in outstanding form and have defensive warriors who have been through everything. It’s a great game to look forward to.”
How to Read Euro 2020 Odds
At any soccer betting site, you’ll see futures odds laid out like so:
If you were to make a traditional straight-up bet, the favorite would be shown with the minus sign (-). In cases like these where there is no clear front-runner, the country with the lowest odds is the fave even if they’re all represented with the plus sign (+) which is generally used to demonstrate underdogs.
Let’s say you’ve looked at the group schedule and think Sweden is going to dominate and make it all the way to the top. A $100 bet would give you a payout of $1,350 – your original money is returned coupled with your winnings of $1,250.
Our Odds Calculator is a tool that will tell you how much you’d win based on the offered odds and amount bet.
What is a Futures Bet on the Euro Championship?
A futures bet is a wager made far in advance of a big event. Here, the bet is on the quadrennial Euro contest. It can be said that most bets are made prior to a sporting matchup, but futures can be placed weeks, months or even years in advance. In fact, as soon as the last championship is won, new odds will be released.
The odds will shift as the group stage gets closer and continue to move until right before the final is played at Wembley Stadium on July 11, 2021. If you see odds you like, take them to get the most value on your bets (should you win).