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England’s Defense Against Italy’s Creativity To Decide Euro 2020

England take on Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.

After a pandemic forced the postponement of this tournament by a year, Euro 2020 finally reaches its natural conclusion on July 11, 2021 with England (12-1-1, 9-2-3 ATS) facing Italy (15-1-0, 12-1-3 ATS) in the grand finale at Wembley Stadium. Both these teams have identical records at Euro 2020, and so the odds are as close to even as you would find for a tight matchup like this.  

England vs Italy
  • Date/Time: July 11, 3 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Wembley Stadium, London
  • Opening Odds: England +138, Draw +210, Italy +210
  • England vs Italy Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The odds have not moved much since opening. England started as slight favorites, with odds of +138 at opening. That won’t change much considering England will be playing in front of their home supporters at Wembley Stadium. The draw and Italy opened at the same odds, of +210. That has changed a bit at present, with the odds for the draw shortening to +204 and Italy’s odds lengthening slightly to +218 currently. 

England News & Notes

England finally have a chance to end their European Championship drought. They have never won this tournament. Their only triumph in a major international tournament was back in 1966, when they won the World Cup. By beating Denmark, England also made their first final at the Euro Cup having previously lost at the semifinal stage in 1968 and 1996. These statistics indicate that England, while being a soccer powerhouse, have failed to overcome some historical and mental obstacles. This is their best chance to end all of this pain. 

"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,” England coach Gareth Southgate said. 

How will England stack up? Definitely not too differently from their win against Denmark in the semifinal, even though England have not had as much time to recover. Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane will continue to form the core of England’s attacking core in the final third, while Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips play a defensive role in the midfield. Luke Shaw on the left flank, Kyle Walker on the right along with Harry Maguire and John Stones will man the defensive side of things on Sunday. 

Italy will have to watch out for England in the air, via crosses from either flank (Saka and Walker on the right and Mount and Shaw on the left) as well as dead-ball pieces. That is because England have scored five goals with the head, easily the highest at Euro 2020. From a precision standpoint, England have a passing accuracy of 87.7 percent: 2,984 passes completed out of 3,389 attempted passes. Based on their preferred modus operandi, England will want to keep the ball for longer and ensure that Italy do not have a higher possession rate because there can certainly be damage limitation if the middle of their field can manage that. 

Italy News & Notes

Italy have a fairly rich history at the Euro Cup. They won the tournament as hosts back in 1968. They also made the final in 2000 and 2012, both of which they lost. Italy have also been on an unbeaten run in international soccer for 33 matches, the most in their national history. They have won five and drawn just one match at Euro 2020, indicative that there is no lack of confidence or momentum in this team. 

"We have been working towards this for many years so we are very happy and I can only thank the players for what they have done so far. We have won nothing yet; we will have to win on Sunday to consider it a success. England will have an entire stadium behind them. It will be on us to put them under pressure. A final is a bit different from other games, we will have to play with focus but also with joy because you can only win a final if you take pitch to have fun,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini said. 

Mancini will not necessarily settle with England keeping the ball in the middle of the field. Italy have been known to transition quickly across the phases, using players like Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Insigne at Euro 2020. This has been evident right from the outset of the tournament. Italy will hope to play the last match of the tournament just like they started Euro 2020 on opening night, with a 3-0 win against Turkey. 

Italy’s attacking prowess has been evident from their attempts on goal. They have the second-most shots on goal at Euro 2020, with 108. That is how they like to play their soccer with a younger team. Mancini, known for taking the game to his opponents, will want Italy to embrace that same style, especially considering this will be an “away” match. 

Betting Pick 1: Draw +204

Even though there is a slight difference in the odds between these two teams, this is as close as a final will come. If England were not playing at Wembley, this moneyline market will have a very different look to it. If Italy had not been on one of the most impressive runs in international soccer, the outcome of the moneyline would have been entirely different.

However, both these two teams have already shown a propensity to overcome incredible adversity at Euro 2020. They have both knocked out classy teams, including Germany, Belgium and Spain. With the game so tight on paper, it is highly likely that will continue on the pitch on Sunday, at least for 90 minutes. 

Betting Pick 2: Under 2.5 goals (-188)

England have conceded a grand total of one goal at Euro 2020. That is how staunch their defense has been. Italy like to move the ball rapidly, but that will not be easy to do against this England side.

There is a sense that these two teams will cancel each other out too often on the defensive end, with such experienced line-ups at the back. A goalless draw will be a shame for neutral spectators but it is not entirely implausible either. 

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Shark Bites
  • Italy have a 15-1-0 recent record.
  • England’s recent OVER/UNDER record is 10-4.
  • England have a 9-2-3 ATS record.