SOCCER

European Championship Betting Guide: The Final

England host Italy Sunday in London in what should be an outstanding final chapter of Euro 2020. Should you back the Three Lions to end their 55-year trophy drought, or will the Azzurri pull off the road upset?

After 50 matches across 10 different nations over the last 31 days, Euro 2020 is set to conclude Sunday in London with a final matchup worthy of the grand occasion.

Four-time world champions Italy have been unbeatable in recent years and are one of the form teams of the tournament, but you could say the same for an England side that’s conceded just once at these Euros and has the benefit of Wembley home-field advantage.

So who has the edge with the title at stake? Read on for the details, plus be sure to check out FanDuel Sportsbook for additional odds on Euro 2020 and more!

Italy vs. England

Wembley Stadium | London, England | Sunday, 3pm ET

The Pick: Draw +190

Sunday’s European final features a pair of national teams seeking to write the closing chapter on their respective redemption stories.

After missing out on the World Cup in 2018, soccer superpower Italy find themselves back on the cusp of glory thanks in large part to the arrival of Roberto Mancini, with the ex-Manchester City manager and former Azzurri forward inspiring attacking flair and incredible team unity in a side typically more known for its pragmatism and steel.

Of course, while the Italians are only 15 years removed from their last triumph at a major tournament, the redemptive arc for the English is much, much greater, as the Three Lions have had to wait 55 years since they last made a major final.

Still, despite nearly six decades of hurt looming in the background, Gareth Southgate’s sensible approach and collective galvanizing of his group of English Premier League stars have made England believe this could be the year football comes home.

And while the narratives surrounding these two teams are easy to get behind, it’s also clear that on the field, each have proven their worth as deserved finalists this past month.

Both unbeaten through six games at this tournament, the two sides have balanced fluid attack with rugged defense seamlessly on their way to the final, and the statistics reflect that -- especially on the back end.

The Azzurri and the Three Lions have been the top two defensive teams at these Euros, allowing just four goals combined and ranking in the top five in shots allowed per match, shots on target allowed per match, and time spent in their own third.

In fact, both have conceded just 12 shots on target, the joint-fewest of any in the field -- and that includes those who played half the number of matches these two finalists have.

Offensively, Italy have scored more overall -- their average of two goals per game is second-highest at the tournament -- but England have hit greater heights in the knockout stages with eight goals over three matches, a huge improvement from the two they scored during the group stage.

Part of the reason for that uptick in offense can be traced to the straightforward path Gareth Southgate’s side has had to the final, especially when compared to their Mediterranean rivals.

While England didn’t face a top-ten team all tournament before meeting world No. 10 Denmark in the last round, the Italians had to get past No. 1 Belgium in the quarterfinals and No. 6 Spain in the semifinals, on paper a much tougher road to navigate.

Still, the English will feel just as battle-tested after exorcising a few demons in their defeat of long-time nemesis Germany in the round of 16, plus they showed resolve to comeback against the Danes after falling behind for the first time since November of 2020.

In terms of fitness, both teams were pushed to extra time in the last round, and though Italy looked the more leggy of the two finalists, the Azzurri’s shootout win over Spain happened a day prior to England’s 2-1 semifinal triumph, giving them the benefit of an extra day of rest.

Head-to-head, the two haven’t played each other since drawing 1-1 in a friendly at Wembley in March of 2018, and though the series history is very much on the side of the Italians -- England is 1-4-3 against the Azzurri this millennium and have never beaten them at a major tournament -- this version of the Three Lions has shown little resemblance to the teams that wilted in those high-pressure situations of tournaments’ past, making it difficult to draw on those results as a predictor of Sunday’s outcome.

Overall, these two sides look relatively evenly-matched and will approach the game in similar fashion -- both have identical possession and territory numbers in this tournament, and neither will allow themselves to get stretched defensively -- so that combined with the magnitude of the occasion means we’re likely headed for a tight contest on Sunday.

And while only one-third of the 15 finals in the history of the European championships have gone to extra time, note that three of the last six have been pushed past regulation, including 2016’s title decider between Portugal and France.

This game shouldn’t be as dull as that encounter in Paris was five years ago, but odds are that a matchup as finely poised as this won’t be decided in normal time, meaning redemption for one side or the other might take more than 90 minutes to achieve.

Back the draw accordingly, and enjoy what should be a tremendous finish to a tournament we'll remember for years to come!