Italy to spoil the party?
Euro 2020 in 2021 has been worth the wait and the final is set up to be as mesmerising as what has gone before it. Roberto Mancini and Gareth Southgate will battle it out for their maiden international crown, both sides needed extra time, Italy penalties, to get through their semi final but both positions here are thoroughly deserved. England are still yet to concede a goal from open play, Mikkel Damsgaard’s free kick rocket in the last four being the only strike that has beaten Jordan Pickford in these Championships. The Three Lions will have home advantage, playing at Wembley Stadium for the sixth time in their seven tournament matches, but Gli Azzurri will be poised to spoil the party.
Last time out
Mancini’s men showed all the resolve they have gathered across their incredible 33 match unbeaten run. With the experience of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci crucial as ever at the centre of defence. The speed of thought and silky ball manipulation of Sergio Busquets and Pedri proved a stern test for long periods, while Dani Olmo’s irrepressible energy caused havoc all evening. Digging deep to take it to a penalty shootout seemed their most likely route into the final and that was where they stepped up. Composed finishes from Andrea Belotti, Leonardo Bonucci, Federico Bernardeschi and Jorginho were enough in combination with Gianluigi Donnarumma saving once and seeing one spot kick sail over the top.
Raheem Sterling’s tireless running and trickery brought England a dubious penalty in extra time to get past Denmark. Harry Kane converted the rebound after a lacklustre strike to send the Three Lions into their first major tournament final for 55 years when they won the World Cup on home soil. The Danes faded in the closing exchanges with the depth of talent in the squad playing a key role from the bench, particularly Liverpool captain and senior head Jordan Henderson. His leadership qualities from outside the starting eleven has been crucial to the harmony of the squad now in the position of a lifetime.
When looking for an angle for this match it looked key to get the draw on side. A low scoring affair looks very likely but taking the draw on the nose did appeal. However, using the Asian Handicap I have found a play with short odds but such that will see a victory if Italy can deny England the win in 90 minutes.