England manager Gareth Southgate wants his players and the fans to enjoy the fact that the team has reached the final of Euro 2020, but he has warned there is still “one more massive hurdle to conquer”.
The hurdle that England are facing at Wembley on Sunday night is Roberto Mancini’s Italy - a team that are unbeaten in 33 games.
The Azzurri have gone from failing to qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup to making it to the Euro 2020 final, Al Jazeera says. And having not lost since September 2018, if they extend their “astonishing” record to 34 matches Mancini’s men will be crowned European champions.
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Describing Italy as a “fantastic team”, Southgate knows the size of the task that his squad must take on if they are to win their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup. However, he is “so pleased” for the country and “so proud” of his players that the Euro run will continue until Sunday’s showpiece fixture, the BBC reports.
Captain Harry Kane, who scored the extra-time winner against Denmark in the semi-final, added: “We got there when it mattered. We reacted really well and we’re in a final at home. We know it’s going to be a very tough game against Italy. We’ve had a great tournament so far. One more game to go at home.”
Mancini the ‘madman’
Winger Federico Bernardeschi has revealed that when Mancini took over as head coach in 2018 he was the only person who believed that Italy could get to the final of the Euros, the London Evening Standard reports.
“There was only a madman three years ago to say we could get to this point and it’s Mr Mancini,” Bernardeschi said. “He’s always believed in us, he has always brought enthusiasm to everyone. When he says that we are a squad of 26 players, it is the truth, because we are a wonderful group.”
After beating Spain on penalties in the semi-final at Wembley, Italy will return to England’s national stadium full of confidence of winning the European Championship for the second time in their history.
Forward Federico Chiesa praised England for their “top players in the final third and all across the pitch”, but urged his own team-mates to “simply think about ourselves, as we have done throughout this tournament”.
What the bosses are saying
Roberto Mancini, Italy: “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.”
Gareth Southgate, England: “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.”
What the captains are saying
Giorgio Chiellini, Italy: “We’ll need to have a strong heart and a clear head. There will be moments when we need to be brave and others when we need to be flexible. You can’t go into a game thinking you’ll be in control for the full 90 minutes. It’s a final and we’ll need to take care of the details in order to win it. Games like these may not come along again for me in my playing career – it’s special to be part of it. We’re aware of just how important this game is. Light-heartedness and a little bit of madness have got us this far and we’ll need them tomorrow if we’re to win this cup .”
Harry Kane, England: “To be playing at Wembley makes the occasion even bigger and even more special. To have our own fans there singing and edging us on – the energy is going to be amazing. So there will be no better place to win our second major trophy than at Wembley again. It’s a great moment in our history as a nation. The excitement is going to be through the roof; I’m sure there’ll be a few nerves as well. It’s just about going out there and feeding off all that energy in the stadium and the crowd and trying to use that to our advantage.”
Kick-off time and TV details
Sunday’s Euro 2020 final between Italy and England will be held at Wembley Stadium in London. Kick-off is at 8pm (BST) and the match will be live in the UK on both BBC One and ITV.
The BBC’s build-up for the final starts at 6.20pm (BST). In the studio Gary Lineker is joined by Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard. Alex Scott, Gabby Logan and Jurgen Klinsmann will be pitchside while Guy Mowbray and Jermaine Jenas will provide commentary of the match.
Starting at 6.30pm (BST), ITV’s coverage will be hosted by Mark Pougatch with Ian Wright, Roy Keane and Gary Neville providing expert insight. Seema Jaswal is pitchside with pundits Emma Hayes and Ashley Cole. And commentary is from Sam Matterface and Lee Dixon with contributions from Hayes and Neville.
Routes to the final
Italy’s route to the final
- Group A: Turkey 0 Italy 3
- Group A: Italy 3 Switzerland 0
- Group A: Italy 1 Wales 0
- Round of 16: Italy 2 Austria 1 (aet)
- Quarter-final: Belgium 1 Italy 2
- Semi-final: Italy 1 Spain 1 (aet, Italy won 4-2 on penalties)
England’s route to the final
- Group D: England 1 Croatia 0
- Group D: England 0 Scotland 0
- Group D: Czech Republic 0 England 1
- Round of 16: England 2 Germany 0
- Quarter-final: Ukraine 0 England 4
- Semi-final: England 2 Denmark 1 (aet)
Italy team news
Uefa.com reporter Paolo Menicucci does not see any big surprises in Mancini’s selection for the final. Against Spain in the semi-final Emerson Palmieri came in at left back for the injured Leonardo Spinazzola and should keep his place. Federico Chiesa scored in the semi-final and should have also booked his spot in the starting XI.
- Italy possible starting XI: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne
England team news
After selecting a 3-5-2 against Germany, Southgate reverted back to a four-man defence for the games against Ukraine and Denmark. He will have a major decision on which formation to choose against the Italians.
Phil Foden is a doubt for the final after missing England’s final training session. “He’s got a fairly minor foot injury,” Southgate said. “But it’s just whether it’s going to be one that clears up in time for him to be able to take part in the game, so we’ll have to assess that again later.”
- England possible starting XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Phillips; Saka, Mount, Sterling; Kane
Pundit predictions: which team will win the final?
Ben Knapton, SportsMole: “There are no two ways about it - this will be a final for the ages. The loss of Spinazzola is undoubtedly huge for Italy, and with the likes of Saka and Sterling testing the old guard’s pace with their runs in behind, we would not put it past England’s attackers to notch up a couple of goals here. However, we do not think this encounter will be settled over the course of 90 or even 120 minutes. No fan from either nation wants the final to be decided by a penalty shootout, but that is the direction we expect Sunday’s battle to head in, and Mancini’s side will hope to rely on their recent experience from 12 yards to prevent football from coming home. We say: Italy 2-2 England (a.e.t, Italy to win on penalties).”
Luis Miguel Echegaray, CBS: “I think Italy’s game against Spain is reason enough for me to believe that the Three Lions have enough to unlock Azzurri, who relied too much of on the counter in the previous game. I think England have too many weapons and thanks to the support of Wembley, they will indeed bring it home. Pick: Italy 1, England 2 (a.e.t.).”
Dan Gibbs, Radio Times: “It’s unlikely to be a high-scoring affair but, with Kane and Raheem Sterling on fire, England will always pose a threat in and around the box. Substitutes could play an important part once again, with the likes of Jack Grealish and Phil Foden useful options for Southgate to deploy if, like the semi-final against Denmark, he finds his team a goal down. This game has all the makings of a classic but it’s England who should edge the win – and by edge we don’t mean penalties! Our prediction: Italy 1-2 England.”
Mark Critchley, The Independent: “It’s difficult to call. The Italy we saw earlier in this tournament would probably beat England. England would probably beat the Italy we saw against Spain. A tight game feels likely, whatever the scoreline. So, is it coming home? Let’s say it is, maybe. England 2-1 Italy.”
Alex Sarwar, The Stats Zone: “Ultimately, when taking into account their firepower off the substitutes bench, the fresher legs of their younger players and the partisan home crowd at Wembley, the stars may just be aligned for England to triumph over the Azzurri and lift their first major international trophy since 1966.”
Jamie Carragher, Sky Sports: “I think it will be a very tight game. I think it may go to penalties and England come out victorious. We have done a lot of work on penalties, so let’s not let that go to waste! I don’t think there will be too many goals in the game. Italy are very strong defensively, so are England. I think it will be 1-1 and then go to penalties.”
Dimitar Berbatov, former Man Utd striker, via Betfair: “The final is not going to be an easy watch for fans on either side. I would love to see goals but I think both teams will be very cautious. I predict that England will win 1-0 in normal time. Stay calm, England. You have the quality to bring this home.”
George Flood, London Evening Standard: “After so much tournament heartache, it still feels strange to even contemplate the prospect of England in a major final - but here we are! Both of these teams have oceans of momentum behind them and picking a winner is extremely difficult. It will surely be a tense, gripping and tight affair between two excellent, confident teams, potentially decided by just the one goal. Sunday’s contest really could go either way and maybe it’s heart ruling head just a little bit, but I’m backing England to get that extra push they need from another raucous home crowd. England to win 1-0, finally ending 55 years of hurt, quite possibly after more extra time!”
Telegraph Sport: “Italy have looked the strongest team throughout the tournament and their mighty defence takes some beating. But England, with 67,000 fans behind them, will be difficult to overcome. It’ll be tight, it’ll be nervy... but it’s England's to lose. England 2 Italy 1 (AET).”
Steve Luckings, The National: “Football not coming home as Italy spoil England party.”
Shyam A. Krishna, Gulf News: “So who will win Euro 2020? Italy will win, I’m sure of it. Their positive approach has been a revelation to me. Italians are traditionally grafters who defend stoutly and score on the counters. So it was refreshing to see Roberto Mancini’s team actively search for goals. Four World Cup wins and a European Championship are ample proof of their game management. Something that’s a necessity at the higher echelons of the game. Italy have that, and England don’t. It will be a tight affair. Italians love that. So the Azzurri’s will paint Wembley blue on Sunday.”
Euro 2020 final betting odds
According to Oddschecker (as of 8 July)
- England: 7/4
- Italy: 2/1
- Draw: 2/1
Euro 2020 final correct score
According to Oddschecker
- Draw 1-1: 5/1
- Draw 0-0: 6/1
- England 1-0: 7/1
- Italy 1-0: 7/1
- England 2-1: 9/1
- England 2-0: 10/1
- Italy 2-1: 12/1
- Italy 2-0: 14/1
- See the full list at oddschecker.com
Top goalscorer betting odds
According to Oddschecker
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, 5 goals): 6/4
- Patrik Schick (Czech Republic, 5 goals): 6/4
- Harry Kane (England, 4 goals): 6/1
- Raheem Sterling (England, 3 goals): 35/1
- See the full list at Oddschecker.com
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