One month ago the curtain came up on Euro 2020 with Italy romping to a 3-0 victory over Turkey in Rome.
51 games, 11 own goals and one tiny car later we are now just hours away from the final in which England will take on Gli Azzuri in front of a braying home crowd at Wembley.
Few could argue that the showpiece event will not feature the two best sides in the competition and there is very little to choose between the teams. Due to this, there is a fairly even split of England and Italy players in our combined XI, which you can find below shaped up in a 4-3-3.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK) – Jordan Pickford has justified Gareth Southgate’s faith in him, having a mostly clanger free tournament. However, Donnarumma just pips him for the goalkeeper shirt. The fact he is still just 22 years old is scary.
Kyle Walker (RB) – No right-back in world football is better at recovery runs than Walker. The Manchester City man’s positioning and general one-on-one defending has been absolutely terrific at Euro 2020 as well.
Harry Maguire (CB) – Maguire’s return to the heart of the Three Lions’ defence has been vital. Not only has he defended immaculately and looked a threat from set pieces, his progressive passing has also been important to how England have played.
Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – Has there ever been a footballer who approaches big games with such a relaxed attitude? Going into the tournament there were concerns about his lack of pace, but Chiellini has made his doubters look very stupid so far.
Luke Shaw (LB) – Our decision for the left-back berth was made a lot easier by Leonardo Spinazzola’s injury. Even if the flying Italian was fit, Shaw might still have edged his way into the side. The Manchester United
Nicolo Barella (CM) – Barella has provided energy in midfield alongside two accomplished ball players. That is not his only strength, though – he has also been handy on the ball himself, scoring once and providing two assists in the competition.
Jorginho (CM) – Jorginho could end the season with both a Champions League and European Championship winners medal, sparking calls for him to be in the running for this year’s Ballon d’Or. That probably won’t happen but that should not detract from how good a player he is.
Marco Verratti (CM) – Completing the Italian midfield three is Verratti. Missing the start of the tournament with injury he displaced Manuel Locatelli from the side by being absolutely flawless upon his return. England have a tough task keeping him quiet.
Federico Chiesa (RW) – Settling for a place on the bench for Italy’s first two games, Chiesa muscled Domenico Berardi out of the side after a match winning display in the round of 16 against Austria. He also netted in the semi-final and will want to add to his tally at Wembley.
Harry Kane (ST) – It’s been a funny old tournament for Kane. He started slow in the group stages, really slow, before coming alive in the knockouts. He needs two goals to win the Golden Boot at back-to-back tournaments.
Raheem Sterling (LW) – Before Euro 2020 kicked off few, if any, supporters were putting Sterling in their favoured XI. Gareth Southgate’s faith has never wavered, though, and he has paid it back in spades. The boy from Brent has been England’s best forward by some distance at the tournament.