Which one of Roberto Mancini or Gareth Southgate will lift the trophy on Sunday?
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Harry Kane fired England into their first major final in 55 years with his extra-time strike against Denmark – and Gareth Southgate’s side next take on Italy in a bid to make history.
Sunday’s final promises to be a mouthwatering contest – and our football writers have had their say on how they think it will play out.
Who will win the Euro 2020 final – our writers’ predictions
Jason Burt – England
It is a 50-50 game. No doubt about it. But I think England will win. Italy will be the toughest opponents they have faced and are on a fantastic unbeaten run. It looks like it will be an incredibly tight match but there was plenty in Italy’s semi-final win over Spain to encourage England who obviously have a special momentum of their own and probably deserved to beat Denmark more comfortably. Having 24 hours’ less rest than the Italians might be a factor but England have time to prepare and have shown remarkable physical resilience. Plus they are at home.
Oliver Brown – Italy
Having argued after the round of 16 that Italy were champions-in-waiting, I am still not persuaded – even allowing for the euphoria around England reaching the final – to change that view. Not only do they have the major tournament pedigree, they understand how to see out the highest-pressure games, whether through cynical play-acting against Belgium or absorbing wave after wave of Spanish pressure.
A passion runs throughout the Italian set-up under Roberto Mancini, from his Armani-clad assistants to his peerless captain, Giorgio Chiellini. The team’s 33-match unbeaten run is the envy of the world. Much as England have to believe they can break that streak, the Italians seem every bit as convinced as their opponents that this is their time.
Mike McGrath – England
Gareth Southgate has barely had an injury in his squad since the tournament started and they look fresh despite 120 minutes against Denmark. Home advantage and most of the 66,000 crowd cheering them on will also be a factor. They have the attacking weapons to hurt Italy and their set-pieces are getting better, which could play a big part in a tight final.
Harry Kane is among the players peaking at the right time. The goal drought in the group stages was long forgotten when he scored the winner against the Danes and got the celebrations started.
James Ducker – Italy
I say this in the firm hope I’m wrong and England prevail. It will take an enormous effort, though. Italy are unbeaten in 33 matches, they’ve only been behind in three of those games and they’ve kept 23 clean sheets in the process. If anyone can, I suspect this England can. They’re extremely fit so I suspect a day’s less rest will not be as much of an issue as it might for some but they will have to be at their best.
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Jeremy Wilson – England
No need to change predictions following the victory against Germany. Italy have had an extra day to recover and England’s win against Denmark would have been physically draining but the draw has still been much kinder and should have had much less of a cumulative impact than playing Spain, Belgium and Austria.
England do also seem well suited in their flexible system to facing stronger teams and home advantage at Wembley should not be underestimated. Italy’s collective organisation is their strength but England probably also shade it in terms of match-winning individuals, especially with the depth of attacking options.
Luke Edwards – England
I have been worried ahead of every game in this tournament and feared defeat. This is what my 40 years as an England fan has done to me. We are conditioned for disappointment and failure. Pessimism is a form of defence, a blanket to wrap yourself in when the pain of defeat hits.
But after the Denmark game, finally winning a semi-final, the momentum this team have built, the impact it has had on the nation, I think England will win the final. That is what this team has done. Old preconceptions have been banished, open wounds have healed.
I also think Italy are a team suited to us. They are similar for a start in how they play, but I think England will squeeze them, frustrate them and ultimately win. It will probably be late, like the Germany and Denmark wins, but we are going to win. I’ve not said before an England knockout game in my life before. This team do not fear anyone. They are not burdened by history, they make it.
Chris Bascombe – Italy
Having selected Italy as the dark horses before the tournament, shameless self-promotion of my punditry skills demands standing by that initial sound judgment.
In fairness, I also said England would go out as soon as they played anyone decent (ie Germany in the last-16). Since writing them off has proven a winning formula for Gareth Southgate’s boys, it would be counter-productive to start waving the St George’s flag now.
The reality is it’s a 50-50 choice. Italy looked superb for 75 minutes against Spain, and then knackered during extra-time. England have exceeded expectations and the Wembley factor could be decisive.
Thom Gibbs – Italy
England could do it. It should be close, playing at Wembley will help and there is enough in Gareth Southgate’s team to worry Italy, particularly in attack. Mancini’s team looked vulnerable for long periods against a profligate Spain. But my hunch is England will fall short because it would be so Southgatesque – the next decisive step of incremental progress after losing the semi-final of the last World Cup.
So one better this time, a tragic end to a wonderful summer, but the promise of finally winning something next December. Time to head to the storage facility and find out if Greg Dyke’s Qatar victory countdown clock is still ticking.
Let us know who you think will win the Euro 2020 final in the comments below