It’s Coming Home? Why England Is Right To Be Confident About Euro 2020 Final
When the Lightning Seeds and Baddiel and Skinner recorded Three Lions, they never imagined it would take another 25 years before England reached a major final. After more than half a century, Gareth Southgate and his players finally get the opportunity to scratch an itch. Not only that, but the entire nation is confident the trophy, and the sport, will return to its homeland.
For a country that’s only reached two significant finals in its history, you may assume that the confidence is misplaced. However, even though a victory isn’t guaranteed, the England team does have what it takes to make history.
The Italians Don’t Have the Wood over England
Typically, the England national football team goes into big games without recent history in their favour. Of course, a lot has been made about the mentality of a young, fearless side, yet another factor must be considered – form. England hasn’t lost to Italy in six years, drawing on both occasions in London and Rome. As a result, it’s unsurprising the Euro 2020 betting quote England as the 4/5 favourites for the final.
Yes, it’s close – Italy’s odds are 1/1 – as it should be where the final of the European Championships is concerned. Let’s not forget that Roberto Mancini has masterminded a 33 unbeaten run. However, the England squad has won every single match at the competition barring the Scotland fixture. Harry Kane and his merry men are on a 12-game unbeaten run stretching back to November 2020.
Importantly, this England side doesn’t have any skeletons in the closet like previous teams who still have nightmares about performances in international tournaments. The last time Italy beat us? It was 2014, before the Southgate revolution.
Italy’s Press Is Playing Mind Games
Mind games have always been a way to unsettle opponents in football. Sir Alex Ferguson used it to great effect throughout his management career, highlighted by the Rafa Benitez incident. But, the flip side of the coin is that the Scot understood he needed an edge to give his side the best chance of winning.
Therefore, it’s a healthy sign when opponents begin cranking up the mental gymnastics before UEFA’s showpiece. After all, can you remember the last time a country’s manager or media even bothered? According to reports out of Italy, the psychological battle has begun as England’s style has been goaded as boring.
There’s no doubt that we’re hard to beat, yet the stats speak them themselves since our boys have scored ten goals in the whole competition. Kane is 7/2 to finish as the top goalscorer, while Italy has only managed two more goals in their six games. And two of their knockout games went to extra time, while only one of England’s has gone past 90 minutes.
England Have More Left in the Tank
That’s not to say the Italians don’t because there’s no way to tell until the contest is over. Yet looking at the respective nations’ journey to the final highlights how challenging the Italians have found the tournament. Arguably, they could have been knocked out twice, against Spain and Austria.
England, meanwhile, went the distance with Denmark, but never appeared as if they lost control. If anything, the players were pressing hard and searching for the winner for large chunks of the game. Italy’s route has been perilous, yet that may work in England’s favour.
If they have peaked already, they’ll find it difficult to cope with a tight England squad that utilises every member to the best of its ability.
“It’s coming home” are famous last words that shouldn’t be uttered until the final whistle. Still, that doesn’t mean the boys don’t have a good shot at glory. It’s the best one the England team has had since 1966.