Combined XI: Italy vs England

Ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2020 final between Italy and England, Sports Mole pick a combined XI from both teams.

Italy will assume England in the Euro 2020 final Sunday evening, the two teams negotiating nervous clashes in the semi-final respectively Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Italians advanced to the final thanks to a penalty shootout victory over Spain, with the two sides playing a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes.

England, meanwhile, recorded a 2-1 victory over Denmark on Wednesday, with Harry kane come with the essential goal after seeing his initial point kick saved by another Premier League player Kasper Schmeichel.

The Three Lions will look to win their first major international silverware since 1966, while Italy will aim to win their first trophy since lifting the World Cup in 2006.

Unlike England, Italy won the European Championship – triumphant in 1968 – as it reached the Euro 2012 final before losing to Spain.

Some of Europe’s best players will be on display at Wembley this weekend, and with that in mind, Sporty Taupe chooses a combined XI, selecting the players who will be available for the competition in London.

Jordan pickford put tough club form behind him to enjoy a great Euro 2020 for England, but it’s hard to look past Gianluigi Donnarumma, which is an imposing presence between the sticks. The 22-year-old has been one of the best goalkeepers in this summer’s competition and gets pretty much the nod from Pickford, who deserves a lot of praise for his form at the tournament.

The last four, in truth, weren’t that hard to choose. Leonardo of Spinazzola would have been in the squad had he been available, but the 28-year-old injured his Achilles tendon in the quarter-final against Belgium and was ruled out for the next six months or so after undergoing surgery .

There are three English players in defense, with Kyle walker impressive at right-back with his pace and power, while the Manchester United duo Harry maguire and Luke Shaw have both been excellent. Maguire missed the start of the tournament with injury, but has been a dominant presence since returning, while Shaw has been one of the tournament’s most notable players, producing three assists in five appearances.

There just had to be room on the team to Giorgio Chiellini, who has just nodded to his compatriot Italian center-back Leonard Bonucci. Chiellini’s personality and character have been essential for his country this summer, and he has put in impressive performances in the last two matches against Belgium and Spain.

In the middle of the field, Declan rice has been excellent for England as the 22-year-old has demonstrated his skills at the highest level. Rice has started all six matches for his country and is selected before Kalvin phillips, who deserves special mention for his solid form at this summer’s tournament.

There are two Italian midfielders in the squad, and it was very difficult to leave out Jorginho given his performance at Euro 2020. Nicolo Barella scored one goal and two assists for Roberto Mancini, however, and the 24-year-old’s performances were vital for the Euro 2020 finalists.

Marco Verratti, meanwhile, provided two assists in four appearances for Italy, with his physical condition managed following a knee problem. The 28-year-old was particularly impressive against Spain in the semi-finals and could have his say in the outcome of the clash with England.

Rahim sterling has been one of the players in the entire tournament, with the 26-year-old playing for England, scoring three times and providing an assist in six appearances. Sterling may not have been at his best for Manchester City last season, but has shown his importance to the Three Lions this summer.

Harry kane, as expected, is sailing in the starting XI; There was criticism of the Tottenham Hotspur forward earlier in the tournament, but he has now scored four times in his last three appearances against Germany, Ukraine and Denmark, and the the 27-year-old will desperately seek to lead his country to glory.

There were a number of options for last place in the top three, but Lorenzo Insigne deserves to be included given its shape this summer. The Napoli striker has scored twice in five appearances for his country at Euro 2020 and will be looking to add to his 10 international goals in the Wembley final.

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