Three key battles: Italy vs England | UEFA EURO 2020

Kacper Wilkins
Kacper Wilkins
5 Min Read

Italy take on England in the UEFA EURO 2020 final on Sunday as the quest for continental glory reaches a dramatic climax at Wembley Stadium.

The Azzurri are unbeaten in 33 games, but the Three Lions have only conceded once all tournament; could these head-to-head tussles ultimately decide who lifts the trophy?

Italy vs England: click for live coverage

Federico Chiesa vs Luke Shaw

Top Performer: Luke Shaw

Top Performer: Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw has been terrific when raiding down the left in this tournament, notably against Germany and Ukraine, and ranks as England’s leading chance-maker with nine. Yet on Sunday, the Manchester United man may have to be at his best defensively against a player in fantastic form in Federico Chiesa.

The Juventus forward has energy and electric pace, not to mention a sharp shot as witnessed by his two goals in the tournament so far: a laser strike from a tight angle against Austria in the round of 16, then a perfectly curled effort against Spain in the semi-finals.

The 23-year-old has already proved to be a big-game player at club level, scoring crucial goals last season for Juventus in the UEFA Champions League and in the Coppa Italia final. Will he also leave his mark in the biggest game of his career? If so, Shaw may face a repeat of his semi-final frustrations when the task of containing Martin Braithwaite limited his attacking impact.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo vs Raheem Sterling 

Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Raheem Sterling

Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Raheem Sterling

When Raheem Sterling was contesting the 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-finals with England, after leading Manchester City to the Premier League title with 18 goals, Giovanni Di Lorenzo – one year his senior – was watching the tournament from his native Tuscany having just won promotion from Serie B with Empoli. Only one year earlier he had been playing in the Italian third division with Matera, a side from the spectacular southern city famed for its ‘Città dei Sassi’ (City of Stones) but anything but a footballing powerhouse.

Di Lorenzo started the tournament as a squad player but has not looked back since Alessandro Florenzi suffered a calf injury in the opening game against Turkey, producing a series of solid performances. His most difficult night to date was against Belgium youngster Jérémy Doku; in Sterling he will encounter a forward of a different class: a Player of the Tournament contender with the bit between his teeth, who has taken on defenders more than anybody else at this EURO (32 times).

A goal for Sterling could be curtains for Italy given England have never lost when he has scored, so for Florenzi, a little help from a friend – namely centre-back Leonardo Bonucci – may well be needed here.

Jorginho vs Mason Mount

Top Performer: Jorginho

Top Performer: Jorginho

Jorginho and Mason Mount know each other inside out having won the UEFA Champions League together with Chelsea only six weeks ago. Will that knowledge give either an advantage, though? Difficult to say. Certainly Mount will know only too well that Italy’s game passes through the feet and the brain of his Stamford Bridge team-mate, but Jorginho has plenty of respect likewise for a 22-year-old whom he has described as being “always in the right position” and who “works for the whole team”.

Mount is a clever footballer who can find space and works intelligently out of possession too (witness his efforts helping shackle Luka Modrić for Chelsea against Real Madrid last season). He is a player that Southgate evidently admires and trusts too and any direct encounters between him and Jorginho should offer an intriguing battle of wits as each looks to join the group of nine players who have previously won the EURO trophy and the UEFA Champions League in the same year.

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