Italy vs England: How the teams compare head-to-head in the Euro 2020 final
Ahead of Sunday's epic Euro 2020 final showdown at Wembley, Planet Sport evaluates each position in England and Italy's line-ups in a head-to-head battle.
After a month of beer-spraying, meme-swapping, bus wing mirror-snapping, politician bandwagon-jumping, anthem-booing, joy and angst, it all comes down to this: Italy vs England, Wembley, Sunday, 8pm.
Do England have an earthly chance of beating an Italy side on an unbeaten run of 33 matches?
The Azzurri have no massive stand-out stars but no obvious weaknesses either. With two totems at the back, a quick and menacing front three, an imposing team spirit and an attacking verve that belies their ultra-defensive traditions, Italy look formidable.
For the first time in two generations, however, England look a genuinely outstanding unit.
Defensively sound, boasting two of the tournament's best attacking players, utterly united in spirit, led inspiringly and astutely by Gareth Southgate and with the considerable advantage of a crowd weighted 80:1 in their favour, there are solid reasons to back them.
Gareth Southgate vs Roberto Mancini
It's impossible not to feel indescribable levels of respect for Gareth Southgate for what he has achieved so far amidst the febrile atmosphere of a 'home' major tournament in such a divided nation.
He has, quite simply, not put a foot wrong. When there was outcry after the stale second half against Scotland, he talked pragmatically of 'managing the tournament', and he's been proved right.
He is so good not just at unifying the squad, but in managing his relationships with the fans and the media. So many of his predecessors have found the 'impossible job', well, impossible. He is getting it absolutely right.
Sampdoria legend Mancini has modernised the old 'catenaccio' style without dispensing the tradition of aggressive and highly effective defending. His team move the ball quickly through the lines and press high and energetically.
What Mancini has also created is a great unity and team spirit in the squad. Was there just enough in the semi-final against Spain, though, to give England a glimmer of hope that they might be beatable?
Jordan Pickford vs Gianluigi Donnarumma
Everton 'keeper Pickford certainly had his critics coming into these Euros and up until the Denmark game, he had done a great deal to silence them.
Should he have done better with Mikkel Damsgaard's free kick? Was his sight obscured by the wall? Should he have got more than a fingertip on a ball which came almost down the centre of his goal? We mustn't dwell on this and he certainly won't be.
Having played at all age-group levels for England, and in all four English leagues and non-league, he has paid his dues.
Donnarumma is something of a prodigy; having made his debut for AC Milan at the age of 16. He now has 32 caps at the age of just 22 and earns €12m a year playing for Paris Saint-Germain.
Comparisons with another legendary goalkeeping Gianluigi are obvious and at this rate he might even exceed Buffon's ludicrous 176 caps.
Donnarumma has been utterly exemplary at this tournament so far, perhaps his highlight being an astonishing save from Kevin De Bruyne in the quarter-final against Belgium.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo vs Kyle Walker
Di Lorenzo has a solid all-round game with stamina and great technique although for a full-back he is not hugely quick.
He is certainly versatile, having switched to left-back in the semi-final against Spain when Emerson was substituted, and has played at centre-back, winger and striker at various points of his career.
There can be no doubting his patriotism: his first daughter is called Azzurra.
Walker has been around for many years now and his strengths and relative weaknesses are well-known.
What he lacks in the accuracy of his passing occasionally he makes up for with electric pace, even aged 31. Many rightly noted that he was superb against Denmark.
In a position where England are over-stocked, he has proven in this tournament that Southgate was right to stick by him.
Luke Shaw vs Emerson Palmieri
Luke Shaw's reputation has been revitalised at these Euros.
Not only has he contributed to the tournament's best defence (statistically, at least), he has been vital in attack, providing three assists (only Zuber of Switzerland, with four, has notched up more). His arch-critic Jose Mourinho has gone conspicuously quiet.
Shaw's opposite number Emerson has deputised very capably since Italy were rocked by the serious Achilles injury to Leonardo Spinazzola against Belgium.
Although he doesn't offer as much attacking threat as Spinazzola, he did hit the bar in the semi against Spain. His heightened profile may even earn him a bit more exposure in the Chelsea first team next season.
Harry Maguire vs Leonardo Bonucci
At 34 years old, Bonucci is the relative baby of Italy's centre-half pairing, but his immense presence has ensured Italy have retained their traditionally miserly reputation (three goals conceded in six games so far).
Bonucci's CV alone (Juventus, Inter, AC Milan and 108 caps) marks him out as one of the most formidable players in the world.
Maguire has not quite reached that stature yet, but old 'Slab 'Ead' has had a brilliant tournament.
A typically thumping goal against Ukraine brought back memories of a similar header against Sweden three years ago. He has surely now shaken off the millstone of his huge transfer fee when arriving at Old Trafford and proved himself to a lot of doubters.
John Stones vs Giorgio Chiellini
Chiellini has become our favourite non-English player at the Euros for his beaming smile, chest-thumping celebrations after successful tackles and latterly for his antics before the penalty shootout against Spain.
By cheerfully hugging the clearly-petrified Jordi Alba at the coin toss, the 36-year-old exuded an intimidating uber-confidence. Highly educated and intelligent, he apparently conducts thorough research on every upcoming opponent. Whatever England have got to throw at him, he will be ready.
By contrast, Stones is England's quiet man. The lad from Barnsley has gone about his business with class and precision but without fuss.
His partnership with Maguire has been imperious. It's clear that Stones has benefited from a long run of games for Manchester City over the second half of last season.
Kalvin Phillips vs Jorginho
Leeds fans worship Phillips and now the rest of England have found out why.
In a squad of players which has fully connected with the nation, he is surely one of its most endearing characters. Always smiling, constantly willing to receive and recycle the ball, but also not afraid of a thunderous tackle.
Oh, and terrific hair too.
Jorginho's hop-and-slot penalty in the shootout against Spain got Italy to this final and if they win on Sunday he will join a band of nine players to have won the Champions League and Euros in the same summer (Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell and Reece James could do the same, of course).
The Brazilian-born midfielder has been a brilliant 'screen' for the Azzurri defence and has been labelled 'Radio' by his team-mates because he never stops talking.
Declan Rice vs Marco Verratti
Rice plays a more deep-lying role in a different system to that of Verratti in Italy's midfield three.
The West Ham player has formed a tremendous partnership with Kalvin Phillips and has obviously proven his value to Southgate as he's played in all six games so far. He has performed with assuredness and authority.
The energetic Verratti is about to start his 10th season at PSG and curiously is the only player in the Italian squad never to make an appearance in Serie A.
Mancini's faith in him was shown by bringing him into the team in place of Manuel Locatelli despite winning both opening games 3-0 without him.
Mason Mount vs Nicolo Barella
Southgate's preference for Mount amongst the plethora of options he has for England's attacking midfield position is obvious.
After playing the full 90 minutes against Croatia and Scotland, the Chelsea man was forced to self-isolate, stayed on the bench against Germany, but then started against both Ukraine and Denmark.
He keeps England ticking and (as if you haven't seen it already) has provided one of the best viral moments of the entire tournament.
Barella has caught the eye this summer for his dashing box-to-box contributions in Italy's midfield three.
Having won Serie A with Inter last season, his medal collection may yet grow again on Sunday night. His wonderful run for Italy's first goal against Belgium was his highlight so far.
Raheem Sterling vs Federico Chiesa
Sterling has quite simply been one of the players of the tournament.
Three goals and an assist are the bare stats, but his outstanding performances must also be framed amidst a recent history of frothing snideness from the media and sneering from the 'gammons'.
He's proven them all wrong and helped unite the nation. Hero.
Chiesa can't quite match those lofty claims, but he was named Man of the Match in Italy's group game against Wales and in the semi-final win over Spain.
With goals in that game and against Austria in the last 16, he has been a quick and impish menace.
Bukayo Saka vs Lorenzo Insigne
Coming into the tournament with only four caps, Arsenal wizard Saka has come of age. His willingness to track back, as well as his attacking gifts, is probably what's helping him hold down his place.
Napoli forward Insigne is the joker in the Italian dressing room, apparently hiding in a wardrobe before jumping out and giving team-mate Ciro Immobile a fright in his hotel room.
His stunning goal in the quarter-finals certainly put the frighteners up Belgium, and the 30-year-old's pace and mobility could well cause England a few scares on Sunday too.
Harry Kane vs Ciro Immobile
England would not have got this far if the Harry Kane we know and love hadn't belatedly come out of hiding against Germany.
He looked heavy-legged and nullified in the group stages but has smashed in four goals in the three ensuing matches to catapult England into the final.
Has he got just one more talismanic performance left?
Immobile's most memorable moment of the tournament so far is his miraculous recovery from apparent agony to celebrate Italy's goal against Belgium, an act for which he was widely mocked.
The Lazio man hasn't scored in the knockout stages yet and England will desperately hope he doesn't come back from the dead once again.