England vs Italy Euro 2020 Final Full Preview Plus Betting Odds9 July 2021
Euro 2020 Final
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Date: Sunday, July 11th
Time: 7pm (GMT)
Odds to lift the trophy: 8-10 England 1-1 Italy
If you’re a betting man looking for one statistic to cling onto in the sea of noise that is the speculation of ‘who’s going to win the Euro 2020 Final’, then you’ve come to the right place.
Look no further than Italy’s remarkable 33 match unbeaten streak. Until their full-time draw against Spain in the semi-final, they had won 13 games on the bounce. It’s been three years since they last lost, and while some of their opposition has been pretty weak, Roberto Mancini has moulded a team brimming with more than just confidence. They have that winning mentality that is hard-earned over time, giving them the justifiable ‘X factor’ edge over England in the Finals.
Remember the 2006 FIFA World Cup? Brazil were favourites at 5-2. Of course. They had Ronaldo and Ronaldinho in their prime, not to mention the likes of Kaka and Roberto Carlos. But, unfortunately, they lost to France in the quarter-finals. And France lost to – you guessed it, Italy – in the Final. That was the game that will be remembered for Zidane headbutting Materazzi in the chest for calling him “the son of a terrorist whore.”
You’d like to think we’ve come a long way since then as a sport, but have we? Perhaps the racist overtures are restricted mostly to Twitter, while on the pitch, footballers take the knee as a form of symbolic protest. The point, though – to double down on the one statistic that matters most ahead of Sunday’s Final – is that coming into the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Italy was on the back of a 16-game unbeaten run, including wins against a quality Dutch team and the highly-rated Germans.
This was also in the midst of the Serie A match-fixing scandal that broke just before the tournament, embroiling Italian coach Marcello Lippi and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and defender Fabio Cannavaro. That run of unbeaten games was extended to 25 games and has now been surpassed by Mancini’s outfit. So look at the form book when playing your bets. Expect Federico Chiesa to provide a moment of footballing genius or their goalkeeper Donnarumma’s height advantage to give the edge over Jordan Pickford if it comes down to a penalty shootout. Nobody said it wouldn’t be a close affair!
England goes into Sunday’s Final as slight favourites, largely on account of Italian defender Spinazzola rupturing his Achilles tendon. However, they are looking better with each passing game. There was a moment in the semi-finals against Denmark, just after Damsgaard gave the Danes a 1-0 lead with a sublime direct free kick. The camera zoomed in on Harry Kane. He was pointing to his ears. Was he cajoling his teammates to re-gather their mental fortitude (that stuff between the ears)? “Alright geezers, let’s get back in it, innit.” Probably. It could also have been interpreted as him struggling to hear what the hell was going on.
And that’s the challenge for England: drowning out the noise. “Football’s coming home” remains the war cry, and it’s not 30 years of hurt for The Three Lions. It’s going on 55. And is it really coming home? OK, the Euro 2020 Final (why has it got last years date?) is being played at Wembley – but it’s not The World Cup. There are no South American teams competing. And did England invent football, really? Kicking something round around is as old a pastime as man making fire.
So there’s an entitlement that irks. The talk of Gareth Southgate’s impending Knighthood that jars. Arise, Sir Gareth. In ’96, he infamously missed the penalty that sent England out against Germany in the semis. Attribute it rather to Fleet Street and the insatiable English media. We all follow the Premier League; we all love a good comeback story. We are all oversaturated with the hype that it is England’s time to shine. And it might well be. They’ve had Brexit, a painful lockdown and Boris Johnson overseeing it all – so there’s been very little to crow about. Don’t bet on it, though. They’ll be a more complete team come Qatar 2022.
Curveball: VAR Spoils The Party
The international stage has a knack for throwing up iconic moments at the most absurd times. The Finals will include VAR. Cue dramatic drum roll. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a big moment in the game to be defined by technology – leaving us all to either stew or celebrate afterwards. Come what may, the beautiful game will no doubt continue to confound us with its high stakes distraction.
Perhaps the odds aren’t reflective of Italy’s amazing streak of form, but most likely, they just accurately consider the home ground advantage England will enjoy? So who will lift this trophy? Well – that’s anybody’s guess, but this should be a thriller of a match that will keep fans glued to their seats – so don’t miss the action!