The Euro 2020 final between Italy and England promises to be an historic game, one that is impossible to call.
The reason it’s so impossible to call is because there are so many similarities between the two teams. There is a symmetry between England and Italy, in terms of both tactics and playing style.
Both teams play a controlled game and are miserly in defence. As well as that, both teams feel a sense of destiny having risen from the ashes.
Under Southgate, England feature in their first major final since the 1966 World Cup. Roberto Mancini has lead a similar renaissance for Italy, who nobody expected to be this good.
Both teams have recent failures to make up for, with Italy not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Similarly England’s failure to reach Euro 2008 is emblematic of their habit for underachievement.
With such a sense of history pervading the Euro 2020 final, Italy will be confident that it is on their side.
They have never lost to England at a major tournament, winning three and drawing one game. Their record against England is good, having only lost twice against them in 14 matches.
Additionally, each of the last two European host nation finalists have lost the final (France at Euro 2016 and Portugal at Euro 2004). However, England are no ordinary host finalists.
Wembley has a magical quality to it, even for people who aren’t English, and it is a crucial factor. Italy, on paper, have more in the offense than England, and ought to win. However, the Wembley factor could spur England on.
Italy are unbeaten in their last 33 games in all competitions, winning 27 and drawing 6. In that time, they’ve scored 86 goals and conceded just 10. It’s the longest unbeaten run in Italian history.
England are unbeaten in their last twelve matches, winning 11 and drawing 1. They have kept 10 clean sheets and conceded just two goals in the process. They have only conceded one goal at Euro 2020.
When an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object, fate must decide the outcome.