What are England’s results so far?
- Sunday, June 13, England 1 Croatia 0
- Friday, June 18, England 0 Scotland 0
- Tuesday, June 22, Czech Republic 0 England 1
- Tuesday, June 29, England 2 Germany 0
- Saturday, July 3, Ukraine 0 England 4
- Wednesday, July 7, England 2 Denmark 1 (AET)
What have the Italy squad said?
By James Ducker
Leonardo Bonucci believes Italy’s veteran rearguard will have to be at their very best to silence England’s vibrant young attack.
Italy have kept 23 clean sheets during an unbeaten 33-match run to Sunday’s Euro 2020 final against England at Wembley.
But Bonucci – who has formed a formidable central defensive pairing with his Juventus team-mate and friend, Giorgio Chiellini – admits they will be in for a tough test against Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and a host of talented youngsters Gareth Southgate can draw from, including Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish.
“It’s youngsters versus veterans, let’s say,” Bonucci, 34, said. “So, yes, the English forwards are very strong and great players so we will need to be very cautious in our defence and the whole team must be very cautious.
“We know how they can bring difficulties for us so we’ll need to pay a lot of attention to the pace, and to the quickness of their forwards like Harry Kane and others.”
Jose Mourinho claimed after Manchester United lost 1-0 to Juventus in 2018 that Bonucci and Chiellini, 36, could give Harvard University classes on how to be a central defender and the pair have undermined Italy’s march to the final.
But Bonucci believes they will have to prove that at Wembley and says Italy will have a tough time against England’s own defence.
“The praise received from Jose Mourinho was a great pleasure for me,” said Bonucci, who is due to go on holiday with Chiellini on Wednesday. “Such praise is written in stone, it can’t be touched, but I need to focus on the game because we always have to show that we are strong, that we are a team and we want to prove it against England, which has a great defence.
“I said during the qualifiers that England was one of the candidates to win the Euros. They have conceded very few shots, they have two great players like [Harry] Maguire and [John] Stones, who made Manchester United and Manchester City great, so we will need to pay a lot of attention as a defence, and we will need to be very smart, in order to score against this great defence.”
What are the odds?
- England – 4/5
- Italy – 10/11
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What is our prediction?
Italy have looked the strongest team throughout the tournament and their mighty defence takes some beating. But England, with 67,000 fans behind them, will be difficult to overcome. It’ll be tight, it’ll be nervy… but it’s England’s to lose. England 2 Italy 1 (AET).