LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 07: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Harry Kane of England and Raheem Sterling of England celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Semi-final match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium on July 7, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Vincent Mignott/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) (Image: GETTY)
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High-stakes football matches are often tense, nervy affairs in which players take fewer risks than they would normally do.
And the stakes at Wembley on Sunday night couldn’t be any higher, especially for England, who haven’t won a major tournament since 1966.
This isn’t going to be a free-flowing, end to end basketball-style clash. It promises to be tactical, physical and highly likely to be dominated by defence efficiency.
Outright 90 minutes odds make England 13/8 favourites to win the final in 90 minutes, while Italy are 41/20. However, this feels much closer to a 50/50 game than that despite the hosts having the backing of a full Wembley Stadium.
These two sides have conceded just four goals between them throughout the entire tournament, indeed Jordan Pickford’s goal has still to be breached from open play.
Italy already have 12 goals (second most behind Spain in the tournament) on the board in Euro 2020 and they undoubtedly possess the individual quality to puncture any rearguard in the world.
However, Gareth Southgate has assembled a defensive unit, shielded by dynamos Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips, that is becoming formidable. Free-scoring Denmark found a way through but they were restricted to a miserly xG total of just 0.3 and this Italian side will not be allowed the same opportunities that they were against Spain in the semi-final.
It’s a similar story at the other end of the pitch. The Azzurri’s defence is marshalled superbly by Giorgo Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci and Harry Kane could struggle to get much change out of those warriors.
The Three Lions will pose Italy problems from wide areas but the hosts are unlikely to go for broke unless they are chasing the game.
It is no surprise that under 2.5 goals is such a short price (12/25) but the 31/20 about under 1.5 goals looks a real runner in what has the potential to become a tense night for England supporters.
Under 1.5 goals – 31/20