London, July 10 (IANS) Facing Italy on Sunday evening in the Euro 2020 final, England looks to end Italy’s 33-game unbeaten run and its 55-year wait for a major international football title.
Wembley was the venue when England won the 1966 World Cup, beating Germany 4-2.
England’s 2-1 win over Denmark on July 7 ended a run of semifinal defeats in the World Cup in 1990 and 2018 and in the 1996 European Championships, reports Xinhua.
England coach Gareth Southgate has developed a young side since 2018, working on showing his players to develop and grow into a major tournament and England have done just that.
They began their campaign with solid, if unspectacular performances in the group stage, built on being tough to score against, but with players such as Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount and Harry Kane able to produce a moment of magic in attack.
Southgate was pragmatic as they beat Germany 2-0 in the last 16 showing he can adapt his system from a three-man defence to one with three central defenders and two wing-backs. England showed they can attack with a 4-0 quarter-final thrashing of Ukraine.
Denmark were tough rivals in the semifinals and there is still controversy over the penalty that allowed Kane to score the winning goal, but there is also no doubt that after a difficult first 45-minutes, England were the better side, with Denmark keeper, Kasper Schmeichel, keeping his side in the game.
Now comes the chance to make history again and Southgate is unlikely to make too many changes to his starting 11. There is a chance he could return to three at the back to frustrate an impressive Italian attack of Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile and Federico Chiesa, who scored their goal against Spain in the last-4.
Italy have looked good throughout the competition, with coach Roberto Mancini swapping their defensive game for a more expansive style of football, but they found it hard to deal with Spain’s high pressing game.
Southgate’s decision will be whether to try and repeat the Spanish tactic or to rely on pace on the break, with Kane, who has improved as the competition has progressed, dropping deep to try and open space for the runs of Mason Mount, Sterling and Bukayo Sako or perhaps Phil Foden or Jadon Sancho, whose pace could be a factor if he starts.