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Italy focus: 4 key areas for the Azzurri

| 06.07.2021

Italy focus ahead of Euro 2020 final against England

England are just one win away from winning the European Championship so we’re taking a look at their opponents in our Italy focus piece ahead of Sunday’s game at Wembley.

The Three Lions are the 8/5 favourites to win inside 90 minutes and the Azzurri are 2/1 to get the job done in normal time at Wembley, but you can also read our preview in our Italy v England betting tips.

We’re concentrating on four key areas of the side standing in the way of Gareth Southgate’s squad capturing their first major title in 55 years.

Form

Italy went into the tournament with the best form of any nation and they have extended their national record further with the semi-final victory over Spain a 33rd match unbeaten in a run stretching back to September 2018.

They have drawn just five of those matches which is available at 19/10. In five Euro 2020 games they have scored 12 goals (behind only Spain) and only England (one) have a better defensive record than their three goals conceded.

Coach

Roberto Mancini has rightly been praised for Italy’s progress having successfully effected a style away from an overly-defensive approach to something more attacking and exciting.

The 56-year-old is no stranger to handling big challenges, having managed Inter Milan (twice) and Manchester City, and appears to have created a club environment ethos at international level
which is proving beneficial.

His more adventurous tactical approach is also paying dividends and the players appear to be enjoying the freedom.

Tactics

Italy have traditionally had a defence-first outlook where the priority often seemed to be not allowing their opponents to score rather than trying to win the game first.

While it has brought them one European Championship and four World Cups, the last of those successes came in 2006 and there has been a gradual decline in performances at major events with failure to qualify for the last World Cup, after not getting out the group stage in the previous two editions, prompting a sea change in terms of approach.

Mancini’s side operate with goalscoring wingers who cut in from the flanks, allowing full-backs – particularly Leonardo Spinazzola at this tournament before injury – to prosper in advanced wide areas.

Having the best midfield trio at Euro 2020, with Chelsea’s Jorginho excelling, has also helped as has the move to a high press.

Key men

Finally in our Italy focus, the Azzurri possess one of the key ingredients to success –  a strong spine.

The 6ft 5in goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who already has 32 caps at the age of 22, has proved his worth with some crucial saves in this tournament.

The experienced centre-back pairing of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci (combined age: 70, combined caps: 219) set the tone in terms of organisation. Italy to keep a clean sheet is available at 7/4.

Jorginho anchoring the midfield allows the more creative players around him to be effective closer to the opposition’s penalty area.

Federico Chiesa, coming in off the wing, poses a goal threat. The Juventus attacker, on loan from Fiorentina, has scored twice in his last three games and is 9/1 to break the deadlock and 5/1 to breach England’s defence. 

Match Info

Where: Wembley Stadium

When: 20:00, Sunday 11th July

How to watch: BBC 1 and ITV

View the latest European Championship odds

All odds and markets correct as of date of publication

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Author

Warren Barner