The Euro 2020 tournament final will finally be played this afternoon at Wembley Stadium in London, England. After a year-long postponement due to COVID-19, the tournament has had a generally healthy and successful run to this point.
Let’s break down this highly anticipated final between Italy and England with a dive into our Euro 2020 betting pick and prediction.
2020 Euro Pick: Italy vs. England
The all-European affair saw countries come together to help host matches that would originally all have been played in the United Kingdom, the initially intended host.
The Euros began with Denmark’s Christian Eriksen’s collapse from heart failure during the tournament’s first game, sparking an emotional Danish run to the semifinals. Now it will end with a matchup of an Italian team unbeaten in 33 straight matches and a host English side which has won 15 of its 17 matches all-time at Wembley. While England continues its chants of “It’s Coming Home,” some clever Italian fans have taken up the mantle of “It’s Coming to Rome.”
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We have analyzed the available sides and totals offered at various sportsbooks and selected that which we believe offers the best value for this highly anticipated final. We will share that betting selection with you now, along with our rationale for the pick.
Italy vs. England Odds
A look at the current Euro 2020 odds shows oddsmakers believe we’re in store for a closely contested match. Italy is +102 to win, while England is -121 to win the trophy.
Meanwhile, total goals markets price like this:
- Over 1.5 (-180)/Under 1.5 (+148)
- Over 2.5 (+180)/Under 2.5 (-225)
A tough sell about soccer to the casual American fan is the lack of goals and, in many cases, the ability for a game to end in a tie/draw. Even the NHL has gone out of its way to generate more scoring and eliminate ties, appealing to the apparent senses of a large sector of American viewership. Certain soccer leagues do have a reputation for a more open, visually appealing style of play, but that is not what we are expecting here.
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This finals match should be a cagey one, with an Italian side known historically for its defensive approach facing off against a young English side playing at home with the pressures of an entire nation’s hope audibly ringing in the team’s ears for 90+ minutes.
England’s Defense Has Been Outstanding
England has only conceded one goal through six games in this tournament, a transcendent free kick converted by Denmark in the first half of the semi-finals. Seven of the team’s last eight matches have finished regular time with two or less total goals, including five matches that ended 0-0 or 1-0.
England has had trouble getting service into its star striker, Harry Kane, and has done most of its scoring through creative play from Raheem Sterling and pinpoint passes from the wing via Luke Shaw. They could have difficulty breaking down a physical Italian defense anchored by two savvy vets in Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, who have played together in the middle of defense for both club (Juventus) and country for what seems like an eternity.
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The Italians also boast a 22 year old phenom in goal in Gianluigi Donnarumma, who played the bulk of a now world record 1,168 minute goalless streak in international play that ended in extra time in the quarterfinals against Austria. Donnarumma also played the hero in the semi-finals penalty shootout win over Spain that sent Italy to this final.
Italy will feel comfortable letting England play into their defense, especially if they collect a lead at any point. They possessed the ball just 35% of the game against Spain and held barely half of the time on the ball against inferior sides like Austria and Switzerland during this tournament. If they do grab a lead in this one, they will surely pack it in defensively and make England have to pass their way through, a creative aspect which England has not shown they possess thus far.
Italy also lacks the speed up top to have someone go one on one late with England pressing to crack a 1-0 or 2-0 game late and ruin our pick.
On the other side, England will have the home crowd spurring them onward. The English side is not the most technically gifted, but they have shown a real desire to play flawless defense. Jordan Pickford, in goal, has provided an emotional spur to his teammates in front of him and centerbacks Harry Maguire and John Stones have performed admirably and should eliminate any aerial threats against a smaller Italian unit up front.
Italy vs. England Prediction
Neither side will want to concede early or first and we could see a majority of the first half played between the 18-yard boxes, with each side conservatively trying to put its feelers out there and develop ideas on how to break the other down in the second half. Winning free kicks in attacking positions could be both teams best approach and we could see England insert Jack Grealish into midfield, a player who has shown a high aptitude for winning fouls in the final third.
We don’t expect any scoring in the first half of this one with so much at stake. England and Italy have both entered halftime 0-0 three times in their six games of the Euros. However, even an early 1-0 lead is not a death sentence for this bet, despite the fact that it would normally break open an elimination game. Both teams will have the confidence to play from behind down a goal until late, while each will trust its defense to park the bus with a lead and defend a one goal advantage, rather than press on recklessly for the kill.
In a tournament which has had a record number of own goals and the third highest trips to extra time of any major tournament in history, this one feels like a more traditional affair settled by a late winner for one of the sides. And, for those new to betting on soccer, goals scored in extra time do not count against your wager, so a 1-1 or 0-0 draw after 90 minutes plus stoppage time will not be affected by goals in the subsequent 15 minute bonus periods or potential penalty shootout to follow.
Our Pick: Italy/England Under 2 Goals (DraftKings -118)