Euro 2020 Final Preview: Is Football going Home or going Rome?

As England prepare to face off Italy in the final of the Euro 2020 Championship, what does history tell us and what will likely go down in the final! Here are three points as we preview the final of the Euro 2020. 

Unfair Home Advantage for England?
The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship has been held in 11 host cities all across Europe. Among all the 28 participating countries, England has travelled the least in the tournament with 5 of their 6 games having been played atWembley, England National team’s home stadium. The only match where the Three Lions travelled was when they took on Ukraine in the Quarter Finals at Rome. The final on Sunday night is also set to be played at Wembley in England. 

On the other hand, Italy started their Euro campaign playing all their group games in Rome before travelling to London for their last 16 tie against Austria. That was followed up by a trip to Munich for their Quarter final clash against Belgium before returning to London for the last four meeting with Spain. With matches being played in quick succession without much room for recovery, travelling must have added to the fatigue of the Azzurris. 

These factors, in addition to the Three Lions playing in front of their home crowd gives them an advantage, fair or unfair, and may play a significant role in the outcome of the final at Wembley. It is also worth noting that the last time England won a trophy was in the 1966 World Cup where England were the hosts. So could England use their home advantage to repeat the same trick 55 years later and pull another trophy out of the hat like they did in ‘66? 

Rebirth of the Roman Empire?
Rome wasn’t built in a day nor was this Italian side. When Roberto Mancini took over the reins of Azzurri in the wake of their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italian football was in ruins as the fans called the failure their footballing “Apocalypse”. But just as the French talks about the bird that makes its nest, little by little (petit a petit loiseau fait son nid) Mancini has rebuilt Rome brick by brick and are now the most formidable team in the world. 

Unbeaten in 33 games, Italian’s “Tikitalia” has torn through opponents like the swords of Gladiators once did at the Colosseum. The Azzurri are now just two games away from equalling the 35 matches unbeaten records set by the 1994 World Cup winning Brazilian team (unbeaten from 1993-96)and the Spanish Golden generation (unbeaten from 2007-09)that won three major international titles back to back to back (2008-2012). 

The Azzurri are truly back from the depths of their ruins and looks set to be a dominant force in world football once again.On Sunday night, the hunting ground for Roberto Mancini’s men will be Wembley as the Azzurri aim to take football back to Rome and build a footballing empire once again.

Yorkshire Pirlo vs. Radio Jorginho
Pirlo is a name that conjures nightmares among the English fanbase. The Italian midfield maestro was an enigma that England could never solve whenever the two countries played. On Sunday night, however, English fans will sigh in relief as Pirlo line up for the Three Lions against the Azzurri. Kalvin Phillips, who is famously known as the Yorkshire Pirlo has been at the heart of the Three Lions’ midfield all throughout this Euro. A brilliant passer of the ball and an expert in breaking up play, the Leeds United midfielder has been one of best midfielders in the Euros this summer. 

In the final, the Yorkshire Pirlo’s work will be cut out against Azzurri’s Radio Jorginho who helped bring home the Champions league trophy to England for Chelsea. Jorginho has been the mastermind for the Azzurri side, acting as Mancini’s brain within the game. While the deeper roles both the orchestrators play in their respective teams mean they may not necessarily go head to head for every ball, the strings these two players pull will have major ramifications in how the play plays out!

Head to Head: This will be the 28th meeting between the two teams. In the last 27 meetings, Italy have won 10 while England have only won 8 times with the remaining 9 games ending in draws. The last time England beat Italy was their 2-0 win at Wembley in 1977. 

UT Prediction: It’s the head against the heart for this game. The heart says it is England’s year while the head says the trophy is headed to Rome. Since there has to be a winner, we will go with our heart and say England will win this one. Playing in front of the home fans at Wembley may just be the difference for the Three Lions.

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