It is perhaps fitting that a tournament that began with Nessun Dorma, Andrea Bocelli and Italy in Rome should end with the Azzurri taking on England at Wembley.
The standout side of the group stage, Italy have been worked hard in a tough knockout run but scraped past Spain on penalties.
On the other hand, the Three Lions looked fairly ordinary in the first round but reached the semi-final without conceding before rallying past Denmark.
But who has the upper hand heading into Sunday’s final?
The Stats Perform Euros Prediction, created by Stats Perform’s AI team with the use of Opta data, identified Italy and England as the most likely semi-final winners. Now, it attempts to forecast the decider.
This model estimates the probability of the outcome (win or loss), using betting market odds and Stats Perform team rankings, which are based on historical and recent performances.
The final has then been simulated 40,000 times, with each outcome analysed, providing a percentage to assign to the two finalists, giving their likelihood of lifting the trophy this weekend…
There will be no shortage of expectation for the hosts after England reached a major final for only the second time, ending their 55-year wait since the 1966 World Cup – the biggest gap between two final appearances in the Euros or World Cup.
Of course, this is the Three Lions’ first Euros final after 37 matches in the competition. No other team have gone so long without reaching the final.
That inexperience could count against them in the Italy game, with the model favouring the Azzurri – just as it did heading into the last four.
But England answered some questions against Denmark, notably facing adversity as they trailed for the first time after Jordan Pickford’s record run of 725 minutes without conceding was ended by Mikkel Damsgaard’s free-kick.
Pickford had just passed Gordon Banks’ previous Three Lions benchmark of 720 minutes set between May and July 1966.
A Simon Kjaer own goal and Harry Kane’s extra time rebound – after Kasper Schmeichel saved his penalty – turned the match on its head, though, with England coming from behind to win a knockout game at the European Championship for the very first time.
Indeed, a 3-2 victory over Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup was the most recent example of England overturning a deficit at a major tournament.
Pickford would undoubtedly prefer to avoid that drama and keep a record-breaking sixth clean sheet in a single campaign, although he is likely to have his work cut out…
England will be up against a record-equalling Italy attack, with the Azzurri never scoring more than 12 goals at a major tournament – doing so at Euro 2020 but also the 1934, 1982 and 2006 World Cups. They ended all three previous campaigns as champions.
Roberto Mancini’s side are only the second team – after France in 2000 – to have as many as five different players score two or more goals at a European Championship.
Federico Chiesa, Matteo Pessina, Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile and Manuel Locatelli have all netted multiple times.
Even if Italy cannot break down the Three Lions and are perhaps forced to go to penalties, no European nation have contested more shoot-outs at Euros or World Cups – their 10 tied with semis spot-kick opponents Spain.
And the Azzurri are the outright leaders in playing extra time at the Euros, having now done so on nine occasions.
That final experience England lack is certainly evident in Italy’s history, with this to be their 10th in major tournaments (six at World Cups, four at Euros). Germany (14) are the only European nation to play more such finals.
Leonardo Bonucci appeared in Italy’s most recent final against Spain at Euro 2012 and another outing at Wembley would take him past Gianluigi Buffon for Azzurri Euros games.
He is set for his 18th appearance and will be determined to ensure defensive colleague Giorgio Chiellini is holding the trophy aloft on Sunday night.