The EURO showdown is about to end with the final being staged this weekend in Wembley Stadium. Two unlikely favourites before the tournament began, Italy and England will be squaring off in the summit for European championship title. Roberto Mancini’s side is eyeing for their second EURO trophy after their first one back in 1968, while the Three Lions has been motivated to clinch their first so far. However, they are somehow not the favourite despite playing at home. Italy’s head-to-head record in major tournaments against England has been impressive too. So, it is bound to be tricky encounter for both sides.
Both teams’ previous games
Italy was striving to seal one ticket to the final after beating Spain through penalties. They were sharing spoils at the normal time in a 1-1 draw. Federico Chiesa gave them the lead but the Juventus man Alvaro Morata equalised. In the shootout two executors, Morata and Dani Olmo failed to covert the penalty.
England, on the other hand, seemed to be blessed with fortune at the semifinal against Denmark. They won 2-1 after extra time but lack of clinical finish. Mikkel Damsgaard’s screamer found the back of the net. Harry Kane and Co soon were able to level the scoresheet through Simon Kjaer’s own goal. Their winning goal finally came during the extra time. The skipper’s penalty was denied by Kasper Schemeichel but the ball bounced back in front of Spurs forward and he slotted it home instantly.
Roberto Mancini shall stick to his favourite 4-3-3 formation. His trident Ciro Immobile, Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Insigne will be leading the attack. However, Chiesa is rather doubtful to be fit for this fixture while Leonardo Spinazzola plus Alessandro Florenzi are still on the sideline. Sassuolo’s Domenico Berrardi shall be deputised if Juventus winger is still unfit.
Gareth Southgate, on the other hand, could employ different formation to end the series of negative results against Italy. Their opposition’s solid defence as well as midfifield could potentially put them in difficulty to penetrate, unless they can perform a swift short and through passes exchanges in the six yard box. Such led to Morata’s goal in the previous outing, the only concession in Gli Azzurri from an open play scenario. Thus, the 3-4-2-1 formation might be suitable here. Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane are the ideal one to occupy the frontmen role. Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka can come off the bench to break the deadlock. On the both flanks, Kieran Trippier and Luke Shaw are deployed to support Kelvin Phillips and Declan Rice in the middle.
Players to watch
Ciro Immobile is still the main man upfront. The Lazio man has netted twice so far plus provided two assists so far. Some other key men to watch are Lorenzo Insigne, Nico Barella and the anchorman in Chelsea, Jorginho.
Manchester City man, Raheem Sterling, needs to improve their clinical finish just like in the first four games beside turning provider. Harry Kane is still featuring as the targetman but in a more fluid role as he did with Spurs this season to avoid being isolated in Italy’s backline. Some other notable names here are Kalvin Phillips, Harry Maguire and Jack Grealish.
Italy vs England Prediction
The clash of two teams with the unbeaten runs in the final seems to be the dream final. The Three Lions are likely to be more cautious here as Leonardo Bonucci and Co excel at optimising the slightest mistake in the game and turning it into the decent chances. Thus, the winner would be the one which makes less error on the pitch. The game might have to decided through penalties and the mentality would play a bigger role here.
The punters seem to back Southgate’s men as the slight favourite. They are projected to win at 7/4, whereas Italy’s odds to win are the same as the value for the draw result, which is at 39/19.