EURO 2020 Final: Why England is Favorite to win?

England takes on Italy

EURO 2020 brings every reaction, every feeling, every anticipation is coming down to the wire for one last time. Because of the Covid-19 outbreak, UEFA paused this amazing tournament for a year. Now it is all set for the final in Wembley. Arguably, the two best teams of the tournament face each other on Sunday night to see who will take away the silverware.

That’s not to say that either England or Italy walked an easy path. Or the same path — to the EURO 2020 final at Wembley Stadium. As they each built their case to be crowned champions of Europe upon very different platforms.

England’s Path To EURO 2020 Final

England through final

Gareth Southgate and Co. were worryingly slow out of the starting gate. As they narrowly beat Croatia to open their EURO 2020 campaign. Then settled for a drab scoreless draw with rivals Scotland in the game no. 2. And again did just enough to beat the Czech Republic to finish top of Group D. In those three games, they scored only two goals. But, of course, not a single one conceded.

In the group stage, the dreaded last-16 clash with Germany, the Three Lions’ longtime boogeyman at international tournaments. As Harry Kane roared to life and joined by Raheem Sterling, England beat Ukraine easily. He is arguably the player of the tournament, as only England’s second goal-scorer at EURO 2020. Denmark had “team of destiny” vibes before and during Wednesday’s semifinal, but they, too, eventually fell in England’s wake with Kane playing the part of the eventual hero.

Italy’s Path To EURO 2020 Final

Italy are in the final

Quite the opposite of England, Italy thrashed Turkey in the EURO 2020 curtain-raiser, did the same to eventual quarterfinalists Switzerland in the game no. 2 and bested another knockout-round qualifier, Wales, to finish Group A with nine points. Roberto Mancini’s side was the “Best team of the group stage” by many pundits, though they weren’t yet halfway to their ultimate goal.

Compared to Italy’s path through the knockout rounds, it’s fair to say that England enjoyed something of a cakewalk to Sunday’s final. Austria was a tough out (in extra-time) in the round of 16; no. 1-ranked Belgium was even more formidable in the quarters, and Spain didn’t bow out without forcing a penalty shootout. The Azzurri are certainly the more battle-tested and -hardened of the two sides.

Southgate v. Mancini (For more EURO2020 news, download Footylight app)

Manchini vs Southgate

The gulf in experience between the men in charge couldn’t be much wider either, with Southgate having only ever held one as a club manager when he was relegated at Middlesbrough 12 years ago.

In that time since Southgate last held a club job, Mancini guided Manchester City to the Premier League title and the FA Cup, as well as winning the Turkish Cup with Galatasaray. Before that, there were three Serie A titles (Inter Milan) and four Coppa Italia triumphs (two at Inter and one each at Fiorentina and Lazio).

Fittingly, before dawning their now-famous waistcoats and designer suits, Southgate and Mancini reached the semifinals of the European Championship (Mancini in 1988; Southgate in 1996) in the always-famous white and blue shirts of England and Italy, respectively.

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