And just as fast as it came, the EURO 2020 tournament is on its final game. The exciting tournament was filled with many surprises and moments fans worldwide won’t soon forget. With the stage in Wembley set, we eagerly await the clash between hometown favorites England, and the Gli Azzurri, Italy. Both squads fought hard to get to this point and are ready to leave it all on the line to be crowned champions of Europe.
For England, they have a HUGE advantage in this final. They get to play their 6th game out of 7 on their home grounds and will definitely count on an overwhelming majority of supporters in the stands at Wembley. Time and time again we hear the phrase “it’s coming home” and for the first time in a while, it isn’t an exaggeration by English fans. This squad that Gareth Southgate put together is playing really good football, especially on the offensive side of things. They rank 4th as a team in goals (10) and total possession (54.2%) showing that this team holds on to the ball well and converts when needed. They also pass the ball extremely well, ranking 5th in these Euros with over 87% accuracy.
For these finals, I think 2 players need to have a HUGE game to get around that Italian defense. On the one hand, England needs a huge performance from Harry Kane. He started off a little shaky but is currently tied for 3rd in goals in the tournament just a goal behind Ronaldo and Schick. Away from international play, he is currently trying to get out of Tottenham and he needs a big game to prove he’s worth big money. He is the captain of the squad and if there’s ever a game to attract big clubs for your services, it is a final. On the other hand, I think Declan Rice is going to have to be on his toes this game. This matchup can easily be won in the midfield, and England tends to rush their fullbacks when attacking leaving their defensive mids and center backs to fend for themselves on the counter. Declan Rice has cemented himself as an indisputable starter for Southgate’s squad. Of the two CDMs that England usually plays with, he has been the most solid. It seems like a random player to call out, but this is also his moment to prove he can play big games for big clubs should he move on from West Ham.
Although Italy won’t have as many of their fans in the stadium compared to England, I think they have more momentum right now. They just beat Spain via penalties in the semifinals where GiGi Donnarumma proved to be excellent at saving them. After missing World Cup qualifications in 2018, what better way to bounce back and bring your country together than with a EURO title? Although the Azzurri offense has 12 goals (2nd in the tournament), it is the defense that plays exceptionally. Italy ranks 3rd in tackles won (74) and in balls recovered (249) as well as ranking second in clean sheets. No one really expected this team to jump at opportunity and make it here, but they did so effectively much like England. This team has a lot of support at home rooting for them and have definitely stifled the shame casted their way 2 years ago.
Italy needs Donnarumma to have a breakout game in the finals. England has a lot of talent on the wings and in the midfield when it comes to attacking, and will surely get some shots up early. Sterling’s change of pace, the full-backs’ ability to whip in precise crosses, and Kane’s knack for finishing are all things to worry about. If Donnarumma is able to get some saves in and gain some momentum, he is definitely tough to score on. Should the game have any penalties at all, Italy is in good hands with him in goal. Another player that needs to play well is Lorenzo Insigne. In 5 games at the EUROs, Insigne earned himself 2 goals and one of them was an absolute gem. His 5’4 frame and speed allow him to get past defenders and weave his way around the pitch with the ball at his feet. Chiesa has had a really good tournament so far, but if any winger needs to show up for Italy, it’s their veteran.
Predicting games is always hard. Stats say one thing, but watching the game tells a totally different story. England has allowed the least amount of goals in the tournament, but watching games it is easy to tell that Italy is the better defensive team. Italy has scored the second-most goals but their offense is fairly underwhelming compared to England. I think the winner of this game will be decided in the midfield and will depend on what team can be the best on BOTH sides of the ball. I think it’ll be a tough game throughout, but finally, IT’S COMING HOME. England wins 3-1.