England will be hoping to end a 55-year-drought at a major soccer tournament when they take on Italy in the European Championship Final at home at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, July 11th. The nation’s lone major title came back in 1966 when they doubled West Germany 4-2 in extra time to take the World Cup, also at Wembley in London. It’s going to be a tough task though, considering Italy is currently riding a team-record 33-match unbeaten streak with their last defeat coming in September 2018.
Since hoisting the World Cup in 1966, a total of 26 combined World Cups and European Championships have passed by with England even failing to qualify for seven of them. However, they now have a chance to turn their luck around after downing Denmark 2-1 in the semifinals at Wembley last Wednesday evening.
Denmark took a first-half lead as English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford surrendered his first goal of the tournament, but an own-goal by Denmark leveled the score at halftime. The match remained 1-1 after 90 minutes and had to be decided in extra time. England was awarded a controversial penalty kick in the added stanza and Harry Kane buried his fourth goal of the event when he converted the rebound after goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel saved the original penalty.
England, the world’s fourth-ranked soccer team, captured Group D during the round-robin stage of the event by edging Croatia 1-0 and following up with a 0-0 draw with Scotland and blanking the Czech Republic 1-0. They then downed arch-enemy Germany 2-0 in the round-of-16 and thumped Ukraine 4-0 in the quarterfinals.
Italy reached the Final a day earlier at Wembley as they gave up a 1-0 lead to Spain and also played to a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes. However, 30 minutes of extra time couldn’t produce a winner and Italy edged the game 4-2 in a penalty shootout. Perhaps the bad news for Italian fans heading into the Final is the fact that no team has ever won two penalty shootouts in the same European Championship tournament.
During the group stage, Italy, who are ranked seventh in the world, took Group A by beating Turkey and Switzerland 3-0 and followed up with a 1-0 victory over Wales for the maximum nine points. They then edged Austria 2-1 in extra time in the round-of-16 after playing to a 90-minute, 0-0 draw and got past the world’s top-ranked team Belgium 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
While England has won a World Cup in the past, Italy has captured four of them and were also crowned European Champions back in 1968. The two nations have faced each other a total of 27 times up to now with Italy winning 11, losing eight and drawing eight with England outscoring them 33-31.
Four of the previous clashes have come at a European Championship or World Cup tournament with Italy winning all four of them. This includes a 4-2 penalty shootout triumph at Euro 2012 after the game ended 0-0. Their last clash came on March 27, 2018 in England and ended in a 1-1 draw. England went unbeaten in their first eight encounters against Italy but has won only once in the past seven and twice in the last 14 meetings.
As far as injuries are concerned, England appears to have a healthy squad while Italy will be without Leonardo Spinazzola while Alessandro Florenzi is listed as being questionable.
The odds for the game after 90 minutes at Bet365 list England as the slight favorite to win at 13/8 with Italy at 2/1 and a draw at 2/1. Several other wagers are available such as method of victory, full time result, half-time result, correct scores, game decided in penalties, game decided in extra time, over/under and both teams to score etc. In addition, live in-play betting will be available for the match on Bet365.
While considering other popular Bet365 wagers on the big game, these facts may help you out.
* Italy hasn’t conceded a goal in their two previous European Championship matches against England as they won 1-0 in 1980 and drew 0-0 in 2012 before winning a penalty shootout.
* Italy has failed to score in just one of their past 30 international games in all competitions.
* Italy has scored the first goal in nine of their last 11 European Championship contests overall and has never trailed in the tournament.
* England has won 11 and tied one of their last 12 games in all competitions.
* Harry Kane has netted four goals in England’s three knockout games in the tournament.
* Only three teams have won the European Championship on home soil. These were Spain in 1964, Italy in 1968 and France in 1984.
England has won 15 of their past 17 contests at Wembley Stadium in all competitions.