Who England will play in Euro 2020 final after win against Denmark – and what to expect from Italy
England will face one of the favourites at Wembley Stadium on 11 July after winning their semi-final
England have reached the final of the European Championship for the first time in their history after beating Denmark 2-1 after extra-time at Wembley Stadium.
The Three Lions will face Italy in Sunday’s final, courtesy of Gli Azzurri’s victory over Spain on penalties on Tuesday night.
The draw has been merciful to Gareth Southgate’s side so far after they topped Group D and beat Germany in the last 16 – but that means Roberto Mancini’s formidable outfit now await in the showpiece.
Italy were the early favourites to go all the way having won all of their group games – something England failed to do, drawing with Scotland – but they required extra time to get past Austria and Spain. So there are chinks in the armour which England can exploit, as Luis Enrique’s men came close to doing in the last four.
Here’s what England can expect from their opponents in their first major tournament final since 1966.
Italy scouting report
Since their opening victory over Turkey, Italy have been widely recognized as the team to beat on the back of a run of 14 consecutive wins (by some means or another).
Resurgent since the arrival of Roberto Mancini, the Azzurri are not a team of footballing celebrities, but one constructed from the riches of Serie A, who have conceded just three times in their six games so far.
Even amidst the stars, the nebula like Emerson – who has not started a league game for Chelsea in over a year – toyed with Cesar Azpilicueta down the left and exposed a rattling Spanish defence.
Federico Chiesa curled in a finish of which the BBC’s guest of the hour Alessandro del Piero would have been proud. Meanwhile, Jorginho, the coolest man in outer London when the time came to take his penalty, has continually set the pace in midfield, though Marco Verratti has also excelled in that department when he’s played.
In attack, the clinical Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa have been outperforming Italy’s xG and their opponents in the later stages of the tournament cannot afford to present them with even the lowest quality of chances. No Italians feature among the Golden Boot favourites, but that is telling of a multi-pronged front line which has given way to six different goalscorers.
In some ways, it might seem convoluted to over-analyse their tactics after a penalty shootout win. That said, much of their strength has been in their wing-backs and their system has suffered a huge blow after it was confirmed Leonardo Spinazzola has ruptured his Achilles tendon, ruling him out of the rest of the tournament.
Mancini could well name an unchanged XI with his side putting on an enthralling showing against Spain – despite requiring 120 minutes and penalties to beat the resurgent Roja.
Italy’s predicted XI for the final: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne