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Andrea Pirlo’s five key battles for England vs Italy in Euro 2020 Final

Italy legend Andrea Pirlo has picked out his top five battles for this Sunday’s Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

The Three Lions are competing in their first ever European Championship final as they target a first major success in 55 years.

Italy meanwhile have fallen short at the final hurdle twice since 2000 with their victory in 1968 their only triumph.

The two nations have been arguably the two best teams in the tournament but each needed more than 90 minutes to win their semi-final.

Harry Kane’s extra-time strike saw England beat Denmark whilst the Azzurri needed penalties to see off Spain.

England are within 90 minutes of Euro 2020 glory

Roberto Mancini’s side have not lost in more than 30 games – a new national record – and he has already challenged them to back up their numbers with silverware.

Italy’s last Euros meeting with England came in 2012, a game in which they won on penalties.

Gareth Southgate though has helped this Three Lions side create a unique connection with the public.

The 50-year-old’s conservative approach attracted criticism earlier in the tournament, but England have continued to improve and have many believing that it could come home.

Southgate’s missed penalty that proved costly at Euro 96 has served as an inspirational narrative throughout the last month.

The England manager has now called on his players to finish off the job at Wembley.

Italy though will provide formidable opposition and Pirlo has picked out five key battles.

Kane v Chiellini

“This could be a huge battle and a huge fight. Kane is one of the best, most physical strikers in the world – but if any defender can stop him it is Chiellini.”

Harry Kane was slow to get going but now has four goals in the Euros
Harry Kane was slow to get going but now has four goals in the Euros

Mount v Verratti

“Both Italy and England have excellent defences and these two players have the creativity to find that moment that can win the game. I don’t expect the game to be that open and these games are built for players with these minds.”

Shaw v Chiesia

“Two of the standout players of the tournament up against each other. They both have so much talent and are so full of energy.”

Federico Chiesa has been a class act for the Azzurri - be it off the bench or as a starter
Federico Chiesa has been a class act for the Azzurri – be it off the bench or as a starter

Phillips v Jorginho

“Both players do a such a good job protecting the defence and being that rock in midfield. Often this job can go unnoticed – but I think they have both been recognised this tournament and rightly so.”

Stones v Immobile

“Stones has grown into one of the best defenders in Europe, but this is going to be a big test for him against one of the most experienced and clinical strikers in Europe.”




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