Italy, England set for thrilling Euro 2020 showdown: Rome or Home?

epa09327277 Giorgio Chiellini of Italy (R) reacts during the penalty shoot out during the UEFA EURO 2020 semi final between Italy and Spain in London, Britain, 06 July 2021. EPA/Carl Recine / POOL (RESTRICTIONS: For editorial news reporting purposes only. Images must appear as still images and must not emulate match action video footage. Photographs published in online publications shall have an interval of at least 20 seconds between the posting.)

After the midweek Semi-finals which saw Italy edge old rivals Spain on penalties, and
England oust Denmark 2-1 after extra time, we take a closer look at how these teams got
to this stage of the tournament and what to expect on Sunday night.
Road to the Final
Italy started out on fire in UEFA Euro 2020, racking up a perfect trio of wins over Turkey,
Switzerland and Wales to top Group A with nine points. The Round of 16 saw them
stretched for the first time in the tournament, as they needed an extra 30 minutes to
overcome a stubborn Austria 2-1 at Wembley, thanks to goals from Federico Chiesa and
Matteo Pessina.

epa09330468 Harry Kane of England celebrates after the UEFA EURO 2020 semi final between England and Denmark in London, Britain, 07 July 2021. EPA/Carl Recine / POOL (RESTRICTIONS: For editorial news reporting purposes only. Images must appear as still images and must not emulate match action video footage. Photographs published in online publications shall have an interval of at least 20 seconds between the posting.)

In the Quarterfinals, the Azzurri truly underlined their class with a 2-1 victory over Belgium
the number one ranked team in the world in Munich, thanks to superb strikes from Nicolo
Barella and Lorenzo Insigne.
The Semi-finals brought Italy’s toughest test yet, as they went all the way to penalties to
defeat old rivals Spain after a 1-1 draw (goals from Chiesa and Alvaro Morata). Spain
enjoyed most of the ball and nullified Italy’s attack for the most part, but coach Roberto
Mancini’s side still found a way to get themselves into the Championship match.
England’s path to the Final had a more sedate start, with Gareth Southgate’s men narrowly
defeating Croatia 1-0 before a dour goalless draw with Scotland which drew major criticism
from their media. The Three Lions then edged the Czech Republic 1-0 to set up a Last 16
showdown with old nemesis Germany.
And it was against Der Mannschaft that England’s tournament really came alive: goals
from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane saw the Three Lions to a famous triumph, and they
carried that momentum into the Quarterfinals by thrashing the Ukraine 4-0 in Rome.
A Semi-final against Denmark appeared to be a mere formality but the Danish Dynamite
opened the scoring through a brilliant goal from Mikkel Damsgard. With the dread of
another Semi-final exit looming, England went up through the gears and equalised through
an own goal from Simon Kjaer, before going on to dominate the rest of the match – finally
breaking through in extra time with Harry Kane scoring from the rebound of his saved
penalty for a narrow but deserved 2-1 triumph.
Key players
Italy – Federico Chiesa – The Juventus winger has been one of Italy’s top performers
through the tournament, with his relentless positivity in the final third adding real impetus
and drive to their attack. “I cannot describe my emotions in words. We’re coming back here
on 11 July and we’ll see. We’ll see,” said the 23-year-old.
England – Harry Kane – The Three Lions captain had a slow start to the tournament but
has become more and more influential as the pressure has grown. He now has the
ultimate chance to cement his legacy as an England legend – and possibly even win the
Golden Boot. “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, and we can’t wait.”

Battles to watch
Roberto Mancini v Gareth Southgate – The tactical wrestling match between the two
managers could well decide the destination of the trophy. Mancini was outsmarted by
Spain’s Luis Enrique in the Semifinal and will need to find a way to ensure Southgate’s
England do not have the control of possession they have generally enjoyed through the
Lorenzo Insigne v Kyle Walker – The Italian winger loves to cut inside off the left and shoot
with his right foot, but he’ll need to be at his best to find pockets of space against Walker,
who uses his pace to cover ground and put out defensive fires with such brilliant effect.
Giorgio Chiellini v Raheem Sterling – The Italian captain and centre-back has been brilliant
through this tournament, but England would love to isolate him one-on-one against the
pace and dribbling skill of Sterling, knowing that the Manchester City attacker would surely
blitz the lanky defender.
Head-to-head stats
In head-to-head terms, Italy and England have met in 27 matches dating back to 1933.
The Azzurri have claimed 11 wins compared to eight for the Three Lions, while eight
games have been drawn. The teams last met in an international friendly in March 2018
which ended 1-1 at Wembley (goals from Jamie Vardy and Lorenzo Insigne), while their
last UEFA Euros meeting was in the Quarterfinals of the 2012 edition: the match in Kyiv
ended 0-0 after 120 minutes before Italy triumphed 4-2 on penalties.
Did you know?

  • Italy have appeared in three previous Euros Finals, defeating Yugoslavia on penalties to
    win the 1968 edition, while they lost in 2000 and 2012 at the hands of France and Spain
  • This will be England’s first European Championship Final and a first appearance in a
    major tournament final since winning the World Cup on home soil in 1966.
  • England are the 13 th different nation to reach the Final. They previously had the
    unenviable record of playing the most Euro tournament games (37) without ever qualifying
    for a Final.
  • The Golden Boot (top scorer) prize currently has Patrik Schick (Czech Republic) and
    Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) tied at the top with five goals each, but Harry Kane (England,
    four goals) could yet leapfrog them.
  • UEFA Euro 2020 has seen 140 goals scored at an average of 2.8 per match.
  • There have been no less than 11 own goals in Euro 2020. The previous 15 Euro
    tournaments combined had produced just nine!
    No rival can compete with SuperSport’s coverage. Our viewers on DStv and GOtv can see
    all their favourite European stars vying for UEFA Euro 2020 glory in June and July 2021.
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Match broadcast details
Sunday 11 July
7pm: Italy v England – LIVE on SuperSport Euro HD (224) and SuperSport Euro (132)


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