The Euro 2020 final is here at last, albeit a year later than scheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and London will stage a heavyweight clash between England and Italy at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.Roberto Mancini’s Italy are seeking the Azzurri’s first European title since 1968, while England are attempting to win a major tournament for only the second time, having last tasted success at the 1966 World Cup.
Both Italy coach Mancini and England manager Gareth Southgate have revived the fortunes of their respective national teams since taking charge in 2018 and 2016 respectively, but Sunday will be decided by the players on the pitch.
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Will Raheem Sterling or Harry Kane inspire England to glory? Or will the defensive organisation of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci pave the way for someone like Federico Chiesa to score another crucial goal for the Italians?
Both teams are unbeaten at Euro 2020 and the game appears too close to call. Here’s how Italy and England stack up ahead of Sunday’s clash.
At 6-foot-5, he cuts a commanding figure and he has been beaten just twice in six games. His save on Alvaro Morata during the penalty shootout win against Spain in the semifinal gave Jorginho the chance to win it.
One of Italy’s key strengths at the Euros has been the defensive axis forged between Donnarumma, 22, and veteran centre-halves Chiellini and Bonucci. Together, they pose a formidable unit.
For England, Jordan Pickford went into Euro 2020 with question marks over his reliability. Despite being a consistent performer for England, his club form for Everton last season was mixed, with the 27-year-old making a number of costly, high-profile mistakes.
That said, he has once again saved his best performances for the national team and, aside from some wayward passes during the semifinal win against Denmark, Pickford has been outstanding this summer. His reflex saves and ability to quickly get down low to save have led to him conceding just one goal, and his kicking has often sparked breakaway attacks. And although he can take risks, he has cut out many of the mistakes that have hurt him at club level.
This is seriously uncharted territory for England’s players and a big chunk of their supporters as they find themselves in their first major tournament final since 1966. You may be bored of hearing Football’s Coming Home playing continuously on radio stations for the last month, but the players certainly won’t be. They’ll be looking to play as fearlessly in the Euro 2020 final as they have the whole tournament through.
England vs Italy Euro 2020 final live stream
Date: Sunday, July 11
Kick-off time: 8pm BST / 3pm ET / 12pm PT / 5am AEST / 7am NZST
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, England
Free live streams: BBC iPlayer / ITV Hub
Global live streams: ESPN via Sling TV or FuboTV (US) | Optus Sport (AUS) | TSN/TVA Sports (CAN) | Sky Sport (NZ)
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The Three Lions had to do it the hard way to get there, after being taken to extra-time by a determined Danish side in Wednesday’s semi-final. A Simon Kjær’s own goal canceled out Mikkel Damsgaard’s stunning 25-yard free-kick in the first half before Harry Kane slotted away a penalty follow-up in extra time to banish the host’s last-four hoodoo.
They now face a formidable Italian outfit who are also on a roll after a hard-fought semi-final win over Spain that went to penalties. Getting past the rock-solid, veteran defensive pairing of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will be a tough assignment for England forwards, while Mancini’s side’s lightning-quick attacking play is likely to provide plenty of headaches, too.