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Italy v England [EURO 2020 - FINAL]

1 Name: 606 2021-07-11 19:12
Italy v England (20:00 BST)

You all know the broader context of this. England are looking to end a 55-year stretch without a major trophy and they’re back at the (remodelled) venue at which they won their first – the 1966 World Cup. Italy have better pedigree on the international stage, having won five major titles, including four World Cups, the latest of which was in 2006. However, while England were reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, Italy were sat at home having failed to qualify. This tournament has been some return to form. Let’s go back a bit, though, to see how both teams got here…

England also scored 37 times in qualifying, but in two games fewer than Sunday’s opponents. This included big wins home and away against Bulgaria and 7-0 against Montenegro. Sadly, the qualifying campaign was marred by racism involving the two aforementioned countries, with the game in Bulgaria stopped twice because of disgusting chants from the home crowd. England’s run to the final has been calm, cool, not always scintillating, but very controlled. In short, very un-England.

Italy breezed through qualification for Euro 2020. 10 games, 10 wins. They scored 37 goals and conceded just four. As is well-documented, they are currently on a 33-game unbeaten run ahead of today’s final. They had to dig deep to see off Spain, who were probably the better side in the semis, but that’s what good teams do.

So, 33 games unbeaten eh? That’s not at all scary for England fans. I think we’re all big and mature enough to acknowledge that this Italy are some side, and that Roberto Mancini has done a major job in restoring them to a major international force.

Fuelled partly by his own frustrating and fractious international playing career, Mancini – a gem of a player, mainly for Sampdoria – has embraced his second chance in management. You’ll know about what he achieved at Manchester City, and likely also aware of his success before that at Inter Milan. But he is now on the verge of Italian football immortality.

From failing to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958 three years ago under the out-of-his-depth Gian Piero Ventura, they are now a game away from being European champions. Fair play, Roberto.

Kieran Trippier is recalled to the starting line-up for England's Euro 2020 final against Italy.

The Atletico Madrid full-back replaces Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka from the side that started the semi-final win over Denmark.

It sees the Three Lions revert to the three-man defence which featured in England's last-16 win against Germany.

England XI: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Trippier, Phillips, Rice, Shaw, Mount, Sterling, Kane.

Subs: Grealish, Henderson, Rashford, Ramsdale, Mings, Coady, Sancho, Calvert-Lewin, Johnstone, James, Saka, Bellingham.


Italy, meanwhile, are unchanged from the side that overcame Spain in the semi-final.

Italy XI: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson Palmieri, Barella, Jorginho, Verratti, Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne.

Subs: Sirigu, Locatelli, Belotti, Berardi, Pessina, Acerbi, Cristante, Bernardeschi, Bastoni, Florenzi, Toloi, Meret.

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