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UEFA Euro 2020 Final Preview: Italy vs. England

Sunday, July 11, 2021, marks the final match that soccer fans have all been waiting for.

At 3 p.m. Eastern, the Three Lions of England take on gli Azzurri of Italy in what should be an extremely fascinating clash of two European football superpowers. Not only is this going to be an intriguing match-up, but it is one that you could say has been over a year in the making, with the original Euro tournament supposed to have taken place last summer. For obvious reasons, the tournament was pushed back to this year (just as the Tokyo Olympics were).

The paths these two teams have taken to reach the final have been contrasting to say the least. England struggled out of the gate with a chippy win over Croatia, and even drawing with rival Scotland, whereas, Italy started off strong with convincing wins over Turkey and Switzerland.

England then started to gain their footing by establishing strong defensive play, and getting a breakout tournament from striker Raheem Sterling – who as of today could be considered the MVP of the tournament. Italy has also benefited from strong defensive play, only having allowed three total goals the whole tournament, equating to a 4-0-2 tournament record.

What’s even more fascinating is Italy’s record since missing out on the 2018 World Cup. They are on a mind-blowing 33-match unbeaten streak. Zero losses in 33 consecutive matches. Even with that, Italy comes into this final as the underdog, and probably for good reason – in a sport where the crowd and homefield is such an advantage, the match is being played at Wembley Sadium, right in the heart of England.

Pre-tournament odds had England as the second favorite to win at 6-1, whereas Italy came in at a 12-1 favorite, so if you’re holding onto a futures ticket, now is a good time to hedge. Italy currently sits at even money (+100) to lift the trophy, whereas England is at -115. The current odds can be found here via DraftKings Sportsbook.

England will have a chance to win their first international title. This will be Italy’s fourth European championship final. Surprisingly, this will also be the first-ever meeting in a final between the two countries.

There is no doubt that the footballing world will all be tuning in Sunday to watch what will certainly be a tight-filled final between two European rivals. Both rosters are loaded with premier talent. World class football will be on full display, so let’s sit back and enjoy it.

You can follow Bruce Vail on Twitter (@BruceJVail) and e-mail him at [email protected].

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