It’s been a month since Euro 2020 got underway, as Sunday will mark the conclusion of what has been an incredible tournament. The year delay has been well worth the wait on the pitch, as stories like Denmark’s run and Spain’s striking only fell short to the heavy hitters that are Italy and Spain.
After missing the 2020 World Cup, the Italians came into this one as hungry as we’ve seen them, and their play has translated to a chance to play for the trophy. For England, seemingly always in contention, a win on Sunday would mark the first major tournament victory since 1966.
Let’s take a closer look at where the chips might fall.
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Entering this week’s final, Italy has conceded just .89 excepted goals (xG) per 90 and has relied on the top backline in the tournament. Allowing no goals through group play, Italy conceded just 1 per game in each of their knockout matches against Belgium and Spain.
A part of that run over the course of the tournament was upheld by full-back Leonardo Spinazzola, who ruptured his Achilles in the match against Belgium and will now be sidelined well into the fall. Luckily for Italia, however, Alessandro Bastoni and Francesco Acerbi are more than capable defensemen and have anchored this backline quite fine in his absence.
For the English, the defense has also largely been the name of the game, as they come into this one allowing just .60 xG per 90 minutes of play in this tournament. In fact, they’re the only team in the tournament to go undefeated in xG while allowing just one goal (in the semi-final vs. Denmark) over the entire tournament.
Up top, Raheem Sterling at times carried this England attack on his back in their semi-final win against Denmark. If they want to get through this stout Italian defense, he will need more help in this one and need fellow striker Harry Kane to rise to the occasion.
In the end, what we get is one of the more evenly contested finals of any major tournament in recent history, with two teams who do the same thing well at the highest level. With that in mind, I think we see a very tight game with neither side take many risks early.
Pick: Half-Time Result – Tie -120
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TJ Perun is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from TJ, check out his archive and follow him @JohnnyCovers.
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