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England vs Italy build-up LIVE: Emotional Southgate message, squad plan big NHS donation


Euro 2020: England through to home final

England are into their first major tournament final since 1966 after seeing off Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-finals in remarkable fashion on Wednesday night. Harry Kane’s close-range effort, after initially seeing his penalty saved, gave the Three Lions a brilliant 2-1 victory to see off the Danes inside a raucous Wembley and set up a showdown at the same stadium with Italy this Sunday.

Euphoria has swept the nation, as has the three-word phrase ‘It’s Coming Home’, as Gareth Southgate’s squad look to deliver only England’s second ever major triumph.

The 1966 World Cup stands alone as the only time England have won either the Euros or the World Cup – but this weekend will also mark the first occasion they have contested a final since then.

They come up against Roberto Mancini’s streetwise Italy at Wembley and face the toughest possible test against a team unbeaten since September 2018, going 33 games unbeaten since.

Yet with Southgate and co. having used the experience of their run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals so well thus far, the country is confident of a long-awaited tournament win.

Express Sport provides all the latest updates as we build up towards Sunday’s 8pm kick-off, with the final all everyone is talking about ahead of what will be a historic day for English football.

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

England vs Italy build-up LIVE (Image: GETTY)

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

  • Bjorn Kuipers to referee Sunday’s final, UEFA confirm
  • UEFA charge England after laser pointed in Kasper Schmeichel’s eye
  • Gareth Southgate delivers emotional message about pride of being England boss
  • England squad plan to hand Euros winnings over to NHS Charities

12.16am update: BORIS CONSIDERING AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY IF ENGLAND BEAT ITALY – REPORTS

The Sun reports that the Pri9me Minsiter is considering plans for a new bank holiday in August if the might Lions beat Italy on Sunday.

Fans have been clamouring for an extra public holiday on Monday, shouzld football FINALLY come home!

However, The Prime Minister thinks that date would be impractical to organise at such short notice.

Earlier, he didn’t rule out the Monday date but he didn’t exactly give an answer either. 

“I think that would be tempting fate – let’s see,” he said when asked about it. 

11pm: SOUTHGATE SALUTES ‘SPECIAL COUNTRY’

Gareth Southgate has sent a stirring message to the nation three days out from the final speaking of his pride at being England boss.

He said: “I can’t be prouder to have the opportunity to lead my country. To bring happiness at this time where it’s been so difficult for this period is a very special feeling.

“Because we’re a special country, we are historically an incredible country and I know I couldn’t be prouder to be an Englishman.

“I guess for me it hasn’t really totally registered because I’m not reading those front pages and I’m not tuning into those bulletins so but I noticed the journey to the stadium on Wednesday with the tooting of the horns, the flags on the cars.

“I’m starting to get a feel of exactly what’s going on and I suppose in the back of my mind I know what’s going on but I’ve tried to put it to one side really and keep focused on what we’re doing.

“But to be able to hear Wembley like it was on Wednesday and to know how that will have been around the country is, yes, it’s an honour.”

10.30pm: ENGLAND SQUAD’S NHS GESTURE

England’s squad will donate their Euros bonuses to NHS charities – which could see them gift as much as £9.5million if they beat Italy.

UEFA will hand the Football Association around £24m in prize money if they win the final, with roughly 40 per cent of that owed to Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad.

But the players – who donated significant sums to NHS Charities Together through the #PlayersInitiative at the start of the pandemic – will send their winnings to the NHS.

The final amount will depend on tax implications and other matters but the health service is set to be granted a huge generous windfall.

9.30pm: SOUTHGATE MESSAGE

Kieran Trippier has opened up on Gareth Southgate’s message to the squad before extra time against Denmark.

The full-back revealed: “It was just: ‘We’re in a good position, we’re playing well, it’s about being patient with and without the ball’. And just to keep doing what we’re doing.

“We’ve got a brilliant team and Gareth was just so positive as he always is: ‘Just be patient and your chance will come.’

“That was all really. ‘Keep the ball well. Just be patient because our chances will come. And just be brave.’ I thought everybody was, and it’s just hard to put into words how proud I am of this team and everybody involved, the staff.

“They work so hard every day, and everybody in England has got to be just so proud and enjoy the moment now.”

9pm: SAKA TO BE DROPPED?

Gary Neville expects Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka to be dropped for the weekend, saying to Sky Sports: “I agreed with bringing him [Saka] back last night because I felt he had been the most lively of the wide players, along with Raheem Sterling.

“I am not sure he will start Sunday. I think that might just be too much for him. What he did last night, the amount he has given in this tournament, I just feel we will see somebody else.

“I look at [Giorgio] Chiellini and [Leonardo] Bonucci, and I think, who wouldn’t they like to have in those wide areas, making those inside runs?

“And I actually think it could be a game for [Marcus] Rashford or [Jadon] Sancho to accompany Sterling in those wide positions.

“I think those wide positions need to be quick players, who make out to in runs, so I don’t think we will see Saka on Sunday.”

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

England vs Italy build-up LIVE (Image: GETTY)

8.30pm: DENMARK GOAL ILLEGAL

It didn’t matter in the end as England triumphed, but it turns out technically Denmark’s free-kick goal against England shouldn’t have stood.

Mikkel Damsgaard put the Danes ahead under the Wembley arch with a stunning effort, but the movement of the fake Denmark wall in front of England’s actually broke FIFA rules.

You can read more about why that is right here. Lucky it didn’t knock England out eh!

8pm: MOVING FROM MASON

A clip from Mason Mount has gone viral since the win over Denmark, with the Chelsea midfielder giving his shirt to a young girl in the crowd.

The reaction of the fan, a 10-year-old girl called Belle, has warmed the hearts of millions after Mount jumped the barriers to hand her his jersey.

Watch the touching clip, which has has 25,000 likes alone on England’s official Twitter account, for yourself below.

Heart-warming moment Mason Mount gives his England shirt to young girl

7.30pm: WORLD CUP IN COLOUR

Channel 4 have confirmed that this Saturday at 5.40pm they will show England’s iconic 1966 World Cup triumph over West Germany in colour – for the first time ever.

The match has only ever been shown in black and white but thanks to UK producers Final Replay, the entire game will be shown in colour.

See also  Jose Mourinho humiliates Man United star against Newcastle with 19th-minute substitution

A good way to get in the mood for Sunday’s showdown! Now if only Harry Kane can follow in the footsteps of Sir Geoff Hurst…

7pm: LINEKER PLEADS WITH FANS

England legend Gary Lineker has asked supporters not to boo the Italian national anthem at Wembley, insisting it would be “classless” to do so.

The German and Danish anthems have both been booed by fans at the last two matches held at England’s home ground.

6.45pm: KUIPERS CONTROVERSY

Kuipers will referee the final despite the fact he courted controversy recently in Manchester City’s Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain two months ago.

The Netherlands-born official was accused of using the F-word to two of the French side’s players during a heated second-leg – including Italy midfielder Marco Verratti.

“He said ‘f*** you’ to me. I talk to referees a lot but I never say that or I get a 10-game ban,” Verratti said post-match.

Angel Di Maria was sent off in a 2-0 win as City went through 4-1 on aggregate. Verratti had to be held back from the referee by his manager Mauricio Pochettino at the end.

But while PSG have called for a UEFA investigation, Kuipers clearly remains one of the refs high up in their estimations.

6.30pm: MATCH REFEREE CONFIRMED

Dutchman Bjorn Kuipers will referee England’s match against the Italians this Sunday, the UEFA Referees Committee has announced.

The 48-year-old has previously taken charge of Champions League (2014) and Europa League (2013 and 2018) finals but never a European Championship final.

He did oversee England’s under-21 Euros loss to Germany way back in 2009 when Mesut Ozil was among the scorers for the Germans.

More recently, at this summer’s tournament, he was the man in the middle for Denmark’s 2-1 loss to Belgium, Spain’s 5-0 win against Slovakia and the Danes’ 2-1 quarter-final victory over the Czech Republic.

Kuipers also served as fourth official for England’s 1-0 group stage win against Croatia. The full refereeing team is below.

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands)
Assistants: Sander van Roekel, Erwin Zeinstra (both Netherlands)
Fourth official: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (Spain)
Reserve Assistant Referee: Juan Carlos Yuste Jimenez (Spain)
Video Assistant Referee: Bastian Dankert (Germany)
VAR Assistants: Pol van Boekel (Netherlands), Christian Gittelmann, Marco Fritz (Germany)

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

England vs Italy build-up LIVE (Image: GETTY)

6pm: FIGHTING TALK FROM VERRATTI

Italy midfielder Marco Verratti insists he and his team-mates will be spurred on, rather than fazed by, the Wembley noise this weekend.

Several England players and even Southgate hailed the atmosphere against Denmark as the best the stadium has seen, at least since its 2007 rebuild.

But Verratti says: “It’s a dream to win this European Championship and the supporters will factor in somehow.

“Both teams want to win, so we will face a very tough team who will be at home and know the stadium well.

“But we are all professionals and know how it is to play in fan-packed stadiums. It will drive us on as well.

“England are very physical with players who are very skilled. They deserved to get to the final and it will be a difficult match.”

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

England vs Italy build-up LIVE (Image: GETTY)

5.45pm: ENGLAND HIT WITH UEFA CHARGE

England are facing a fine from UEFA after a laser point was shone in the face of Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel as Harry Kane prepared to take his penalty.

Schmeichel saved the spot-kick but Kane followed up the rebound to condemn the Danes to defeat.

See also  Steven Bergwijn: ‘His brother said you will score for Appie … I did it’

The Uefa Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will oversee the case in ‘due course’ and it is likely England will be hit with a fine, but no punishment more severe than that.

UEFA have also charged England with disruption of the Danish national anthem, presumably due to fans booing it, and the lighting of fireworks inside Wembley on Wednesday night.

The official spokesman of Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “UEFA are looking into that, that’s a matter for them but it’s not something we would want to see.”

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

England vs Italy build-up LIVE (Image: ITV)

5.20pm: IT’S KØMMÖN HOME

Want to buy your own Euro 2020 trophy? Well it turns out you might be able to… sort of.

IKEA UK has listed its own version of the Euro 2020 cup on the mugs and cups section of the IKEA website.

Aptly titled ‘KømmönEngland’, its price tag is currently ‘priceless’ with the blurb of the product reading simply: ‘It’s coming home.’

Whether they actually go up for sale we’ll soon see – but if they do, don’t expect them to actually be priceless!

5pm: LINEKER SHUTS DOWN STERLING CRITICS

Gary Lineker has hit out at suggestions that Raheem Sterling dived to win the penalty that Harry Kane scored to put England into Sunday’s final.

There has been widespread debate over whether the contact that made the Manchester City winger go down was enough to constitute a spot-kick.

But Lineker insists it could’ve been two pens on Twitter and added in a follow-up post: “The reactions to this are beautiful. I love this bitterness.”

He added in another tweet that “having been on the end of so many awful decisions over the years” England were “long overdue a little luck”.

Not everyone will agree with him though! Do you?

4.30pm: SKINNER AND BADDIEL TO PERFORM AT FINAL?

But of course, Southgate’s word of warning won’t be heeded by everyone, with a wave of confidence sweeping the nation that football truly is coming home.

And fans are urging Frank Skinner and David Baddiel, who were spotted inside Wembley against Denmark singing along to their iconic anthem, to sing as much pre-match before the final.

The two comedians were sat side-by-side against the Danes and footage on social media caught them joining in with the chants while ‘Three Lions’ was played aloud on the PA system.

Now, England supporters want them out on the pitch at the national stadium to gee up the crowd pre-Italy. You can read more about it here.

Should England get the pair to sign Three Lions before kick-off against Italy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

England vs Italy build-up LIVE (Image: GETTY)

4pm: SOUTHGATE’S ITALY WARNING

It was an incredible night for England’s players and fans on Wednesday night after beating Denmark 2-1 to reach the final.

But Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate is wary improvements must be made against Italy this weekend.

He said post-match: “I felt calm in the lead up to the game because I felt the players, with what they’ve been through, were ready.”

“You’re never 100 per cent sure how they react in difficult moments but we have talked about it and they stayed clam.

“I didn’t think we kept the ball well enough through Denmark’s pressure from the front three and we’re going to have to do that better on Sunday because Italy are very good at it so we need to find better solutions with that.”





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