Euro 2020 Bet Of The Day: The Final Bet
The Euro 2020 Final is here and Liam takes a look at the betting value as Italy take on England at Wembley
Italy v England 11 July 20:00 BST
So here we are. The 51st and final game of Euro 2020. After 140 goals, 145 yellow cards and over a million in-person attendees, this new-look and much delayed Euro 2020 finally draws to a close. Italy have caught the continent’s imagination through dogged defending, some eye-catching goals and viral celebrations. England, on the other hand, have picked up few neutrals along the way for various reasons, not least of which their uninspiring brand of football. Not that it will bother them one bit if they can finish the job on Sunday night. They were pre-tournament favourites and arrive at the final with the best defensive record of any nation (and still yet to concede a goal from open play).
Defences Win Titles
Any regular readers of this site will know I trot out this old adage on a fairly regular basis. Italy have conceded just three goals in this tournament. One from a penalty, one in the 114th minute of a game that was as good as over, and one after 80 minutes of a Spanish onslaught. England have conceded just one goal so far and that was from a direct free-kick. These two sides have by-far the best rear-guards in European football. And anyone who has been watching the Copa America would probably agree, they have two of the best defences in world football too. Which will hold up best on Sunday is hard to say, but I cannot wait to find out.
It is safe to say England have been largely untroubled in this tournament. They managed to avoid the more difficult side of the draw while also coming up against a particularly timid set of opponents. This is not to detract from England’s achievement in any way. You can only beat what is in front of you and England have done that with aplomb. However, the only team to really have a go at England was Denmark, and the Danes pushed England to the very limit. Ultimately the Three Lions needed the most controversial of penalties to scrape by a leggy and Eriksen-less Denmark side. Italy have more fire power than anyone England have faced yet and it will be fascinating to see how Maguire and company can cope on Sunday.
English Attacking Style
Will England be able to break down the Italy defence? Unfortunately for the Three Lions I think they will struggle. England tend to rely on a few often used styles of attack. Mostly, they swarm the box when in possession, then get the ball out wide and whip in a cross. Other times, Harry Kane will drop deep to pull one or more of the central defenders out of position, only to play a quick ball in behind for Sterling. Finally they use the pace of Walker to break down the right wing and try to get Sterling or Saka to burst into the box along the bye-line.
These plays are effective for sure, but can look like training ground moves at times, and I do not see any of these catching out Bonucci or Chiellini. It took Spain 16 attempts to level the game against Italy and only for some poor Italian passing they could be have been out of sight by then anyway.
The Italian Counter
The Azzurri looked more than happy to sit back against Spain in the semi-final. Whether it was the game plan or just a reaction to the Spanish style of play, Italy ended up defending their own goal for most of the match and trying to catch Spain on the counter. It worked, to a degree, requiring extra time and penalties. However, the main problem Italy had was in their own passing and finishing. They looked quite comfortable defending for long periods. In the first half we saw multiple passes go straight out of play or 10 yards beyond the intended team mate. In the second half Italy saw a number of goal scoring chances go awry, particularly at the feet of Berardi. If they had not been so profligate it could have been a very comfortable win.
Scratch A 25 Year Itch
England fans have had to suffer regular teasers about football coming home or not being home over the years. Ever since the optimistic but incredibly catchy tune was released for Euro 96 England fans have dreamed of winning a major tournament on home soil. Now they have their chance. It will be fascinating to see how the players react to the occasion. Not many of this England squad have won a major trophy yet and I hope they can shut out the pressure on the night. The Italians will be lead by the mind games maestro Chiellini who has an amazing ability to get under an opponent’s skin and I expect them to relish the opportunity in a hostile Wembley.
A Final Bet
In reality most finals offer limited betting value. I would bet on Italy myself but having backed them in May to lift the title I will leave it off. They are a great price at 21/10 and I can honestly not see why they are such outsiders. After that I will stick with the shots market which has been pretty profitable for me throughout this tournament.
Harry Maguire is 12/5 for a single shot on target. He has achieved that in each knock-out game so far, even finding the back of the net in the quarter-final. He is England’s main target from corners and I expect England to get quite a few opportunities to send him up the pitch.
I have enjoyed backing both of Italy’s centre backs for shots throughout the tournament but I cannot see them taking too many risks here. They will have no chance in matching England’s forwards for pace and I’d be surprised to see them getting up the pitch too often. However, Chiellini is 5/1 for a single SOT and that is too juicy to pass on.
I expect Chiesa to have a big game on Sunday and he will be my main bet in this market. He has racked up 14 shots in his last four games and at 4/1 for 2+ SOT I have to back him.
Italy to Win @ 21/10
Harry Maguire 1+ SOT @ 12/5
Giorgio Chiellini 1+ SOT @ 5/1
Federico Chiesa 2+ SOT @ 4/1
Best of luck to both sets of fans on Sunday. We have thoroughly enjoyed Euro 2020 and hope you have too. If you have appreciated our content along the way consider following us on Twitter or Facebook to let us know how you feel.