The champion of Europe will be crowned on Sunday when Italy and England take the pitch for their respective countries at Wembley Stadium in the Euro 2020 Final.
Italy is undefeated leading up to the final with a record of 6-0-1. Since 1960, the Azzurri has only won the Euro Cup once, back in 1968 on home soil, when they defeated the former country of Yugoslavia 2-0 in a replay match held two days after the first final finished in a 1-1 draw.
Italy has been to the Euro Final two other times, once in 2000 when they lost to France, and again in 2012 when they lost to Spain in a rout, 4-0.
“This championship has been very emotional,” said team captain and defender for Italy, Giorgio Chiellini in a press conference with reporters. “It’s a dream we’ve been chasing over the years, a dream our coach slowly put in our minds until it started to come true.”
Italy did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. That was the first time in 60 years that the Azzurri did not play in the World Cup. Looking to avenge that disappointment, the team fired former manager Gian Piero Ventura and the President of the Italian Football Club, Carlo Tavecchio, resigned.
Italy hired current manager Robert Mancini in May of 2018 and has been building towards this moment ever since. Italy has changed their tactical strategy to their bread and butter Catenaccio style. Since then, team has risen in the UEFA world ranks from 20th to 7th thanks to defense and counter attacks. That strategy worked brilliantly in the semifinal match against Spain, as they were completely dominated in the possession battle, and scored their only goal of the match on a quick counter attack after a Spain offensive strike. Italy then won the game on penalty kicks.
Forwards Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile both lead the team with two goals each in the tournament. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo remains the frontrunner for the Golden Boot award with five goals.
Meanwhile, England has never won the Euro Cup, nor have they ever reached the final. Not only does this match mark the first time they will play for a European championship, but they will have the home field advantage as well.
Despite the fact that the Three Lions have never defeated Italy in a major tournament, England is still seen as the slight favorites according to oddsmakers at -130 to win the match compared to +110 for Italy. England is seen as -1 goal favorite and the over/under for total goals is set at 2.
Harry Kane leads England this tournament as the top scorer with four goals, and a goal on Sunday would tie him with Ronaldo in the Golden Boot race. Raheem Sterling has three goals for the Three Lions in this tournament. Both players were vital in England’s 2-1 win over Denmark in the semifinals.
The tournament was originally scheduled for summer of 2020, but was postponed because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Expect Wembley stadium to be loud and electric with over 60,000 fans singing and cheering for their home country on Sunday. Kick-off is scheduled for 12:00PM PT with the game airing live on both ESPN and ABC.
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