The Euro 2020 Final has finally arrived in mid-2021, and it’ll see the enigmatic Italians take on the stalwart English in a battle for the crown.
Not only is this a major trophy to win in itself, but the Euros are often seen as a precursor for World Cup success – especially this year, as the Qatar World Cup is a mere 16 months away.
Here, we’re previewing the final through the eyes of the oddsmakers for betting on Italy v England, as well as how the two sides look set to face off stylistically.
The Bookies Think the 55-year Wait Is Over
Getting stuck into the business end of the odds, the bookies foresee a very close game that will, ultimately, result in the Henri Delaunay Trophy coming to England for the very first time. It’s the nation’s first final since the 1966 World Cup, with Southgate’s team being given odds of 8/11 to lift the trophy.
The 90 minutes odds see Italy and a draw a 19/10, with England ahead narrowly at 17/10. So, while the pile-on of English betting may have pulled England’s odds in a bit, it’s clear that a close game is expected. This is further reflected in the ‘Method of Victory’ market, which has the shortest odds of 7/2 sitting on either team to win on penalties.
One of the more telling odds is the increased 9/1 (up from 7/1) given for ‘Harry Kane & Ciro Immobile to have two or more shots on target each.’ Both teams are strong defensively for very different reasons, so one perhaps wouldn’t want to back either team’s central striker to get multiple shots on goal in this colossal game. Still, Immobile averages 3.4 shots per game while Kane clocks in with 2.3, according to the Who Scored statistics.
So, such long odds of 9/1 are warranted from this outlook, and they’re further enforced by the fact that, through six games, both goalies have only faced 12 total shots on target. The stats see Gianluigi Donnarumma having faced eight shots on target inside the box, with Jordan Pickford facing eight from outside of the box. This could perhaps add fuel to the 20/1 odds on Lorenzo Insigne to score from outside of the box.
Overall, the odds lean towards a tight game that’s low on goals. This is further enforced by the 4/9 odds for under 2.5 goals, 16/5 odds for Raheem Sterling to score anytime, and 4/1 odds for Federico Chiesa to score anytime.
The Contrasting Styles of Italy V England
England manager Gareth Southgate is well-known for keeping his cards close to his chest tactically. Still, so far, he’s either gone with an ultra-conservative approach with a 4-3-3, or a more attack-minded 4-2-3-1, but both strategies have seen the English fancy possession over forward movement.
The Italians are almost the exact opposite of England. While they also have a sturdy defence, it’s built on ravenous midfielders closing down the ball. From there, they build their play through pass-and-move football, darting runs around and playing the riskier balls in the final third.
Both sides have held over 52 percent of possession overall through their six games, as well as a pass completion percentage in excess of 86 percent, but the two use the ball very differently. It’s certainly a clash of styles, and while Italy’s method of play is more exciting, England’s unadventurous approach has proven to be very tough to break down. They have the talent to snatch at opportunities when permitted to do so by the score line.
It could well prove to be a final that England keeps in check throughout to take penalties or hold onto by a single goal. On the other hand, Italy’s destructive attack could force England to desert their conservative football early, perhaps leading to an end-to-end game or an Italian onslaught. In any case, the oddsmakers see it being close enough to be decided by penalties.