Euro 2020: Daily briefing
England are just two days away from their first appearance at a men’s major tournament final in over half a century, with the conclusion of Euro 2020 seeing them face Italy at Wembley on Sunday night.
Gareth Southgate’s side beat Denmark after extra time in the semis, Harry Kane netting the decisive goal on the rebound of his own penalty, took book the Three Lions’ spot against the Azzurri and send Wembley into ecstasy. The manager went as wild as any other supporter at the final whistle and says the energy and emotion of the occasion was incredible to be a part of. “I’ve always had that sort of relationship with the fans at the clubs I was at. I suppose it was everybody’s emotion,” he said. “I knew how much that would mean to everybody to be able to be here tonight. The crowd were incredible in giving us that energy throughout the game and, yes, it was a special moment for all of us. So I’m not embarrassed about losing my head a little bit in that moment.”
One night previous, Roberto Mancini’s Italy saw off Spain on penalties to clinch their own place in the final, having been perhaps the most impressive side of all this summer. While it’s England who are on home soil, Italy will benefit from an agreement which sees 1,000 of their supporters able to travel for the game without needing to quarantine.
Meanwhile, the fallout from the semi-final has seen England charged by Uefa after a laser was shone in the face of Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during the game and there have been calls to ban the supporter responsible for life. Follow all the latest Euro 2020 news updates and build-up to the final below:
Classic England vs Italy encounters
There have been a fair few battles between the two nations over the years – though of course Sunday’s Euro 2020 final will be the biggest of them all.
We all have our own memories from the games which had an impact – Pirlo’s Panenka and some which perhaps hurt somewhat less – and here’s a run-down of five classics between Three Lions and Azzurri.
Karl Matchett9 July 2021 08:42
Gareth Southgate starts preparations for final with England
Italy will be the toughest test of the summer for England – just as it should be in a final of such magnitude. Gareth Southgate is under no illusions as to the task his side face, with the Azzurri unbeaten in 33 matches across all competitions.
“It’s the biggest possible test we could have. We’ve a day less to recover but we have got to prepare from now and of course it’s wonderful to have that opportunity to take them on,” he said.
The manager also had words for beaten semi-finalists Denmark, who he praised for their conduct and performance throughout the tournament after the most difficult of starts to Euro 2020.
“I was talking to Simon Kjaer at the end – his leadership, the way the team have played, the way they’ve responded to everything that’s happened to them has been immense.
“They gave us an incredible game. We knew it was going to be difficult, we knew that before the autumn, we knew that from the games in the autumn and they’ve got some very, very good players and the coach has done a fantastic job. They played an incredible tournament.”
Karl Matchett9 July 2021 08:25
Build-up to Euro 2020 final as England play Italy
Morning all and welcome to the Independent’s latest news surrounding England and Euro 2020.
Gareth Southgate has led the Three Lions through the group stage and the knockout phase without conceding a single goal from open play, without suffering a defeat and without earning the wrath of the nation for any perceived misdemeanours – possibly the biggest surprise of all in the age of social media.
There’s still one rather large game to go though, and a victory there would transform the squad from icons of the modern age to legends of eternity – the men’s national team have not been in a final, or won one, since 1966 after all.
Who knew ‘30 years of hurt’ would turn into more than 50, hey? But maybe, just maybe, it’s finally coming home.
Karl Matchett9 July 2021 08:01