Euro 2020 LIVE: England vs Italy build-up and early team news ahead of Wembley final tonight
Euro 2020: Daily briefing
Follow live build-up before England take on Italy in the Euro 2020 final this evening in what will be their first appearance at a men’s major tournament final in over half a century.
Destiny has arrived for Gareth Southgate’s side, three years on from their incredible run to the semi-finals of the World Cup, a chance at immortality presents itself. Standing in their way is a formidable opponent in the shape of Italy, who are unbeaten in their last 33 matches across all competitions (with 27 wins and six draws), while scoring 86 goals and conceding 10 during.
The Three Lions are confident though, having edged past Germany in the round of 16 and then eased past Ukraine in Rome, with the historic Wembley semi-final win in extra-time over Denmark thanks to Harry Kane’s rebound from a missed penalty enough to secure their place in this evening’s showpiece game.
The energy and emotion of the national team’s stadium will prove a major weapon, according to Southgate, who hopes to harness that to get the better of Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri: “To be able to hear Wembley like it was tonight and to know how that will have been around the country is, yes, it’s an honour. 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 can’t be prouder to have the opportunity to lead my country so to bring happiness at this time where it’s been so difficult for this period is a very special feeling.”
We’ll have all the latest preview pieces, quotes and build-up ahead of the conclusion of Euro 2020 below:
‘We bought tickets in a newsagent’: What it was like in 1966
The privileged few inside Wembley tonight for the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy are the envy of the nation. For most supporters getting a seat for the biggest international match that the stadium has hosted for 55 years is an impossible dream.
Back in 1966, it seemed preposterously easy to get a ticket for the World Cup final. You could pick one up at the local shop along with your morning newspapers.
“My mother Ethel used to drive me to school,” said Albert Boniface, who attended all the England games in that glorious mid-sixties summer. “We passed a newsagent on Western Avenue with a sign in the window that said ‘World Cup tickets for sale.’
Ben Burrows11 July 2021 12:05
Sunderland pulling for Henderson and Pickford
Sunderland wished their former players Jordan Pickford and Jordan Henderson – now of Everton and Liverpool respectively – all the best for tonight’s showdown with Italy.
A tweet read: “You’ve made us proud, but now it’s time to bring it home… Wearside is with you, JHenderson, JPickford1! Come on, England.”
Ben Burrows11 July 2021 11:55
Midfield decisions for Southgate
Midfielders Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice have formed one of the best pairings at the tournament and will surely start again with fit-again Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson one of Southgate’s primary options from the bench, should he need them. Again, should Southgate want to go slightly more conservative, Mason Mount could drop back and form more of a traditional three in midfield instead of operating as a No 10 as he has in the last two games.
Southgate has a wealth of attacking options at the top end of the pitch with the in-form Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane two of the players of the tournament. Those two are must-starts with Bukayo Saka, Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho competing for the final spot on the right-hand side. Saka started the semi-final and is the man in possession heading into Sunday’s showpiece.
Ben Burrows11 July 2021 11:49
England fans hope to inspire their team
There are still more than eight hours until kick-off but the atmosphere is building all over the country.
Fans are displaying their support proudly as they hope to inspire England to bring it home after a tournament no one will forget.
Support for the team has been shown in many different ways by many different people, including Hollywood actor Tom Cruise, who called England captain Harry Kane and the players to wish them luck.
“They’ll all be cheering us on around the country and we just can’t wait to hopefully try to win the game for them,” Kane said.
Ben Burrows11 July 2021 11:35
Does the Queen think it’s coming home?
Does the Queen think it’s coming home?
Her Majesty, known for her diplomacy and Received Pronunciation, has apparently left a ‘secret’ message to England manager Gareth Southgate, ahead of their match against Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
Or at least that’s what fans think ahead of tonight’s game.
Ben Burrows11 July 2021 11:29
Foden a doubt for Euro 2020 final
Gareth Southgate again has the luxury of a virtually clean slate in terms of health and suspensions as he prepares to select his side for the final. His main decision may come over a possible change of shape with Italy presenting his side with their stiffest test of the tournament so far by some margin. The only fitness concern is Phil Foden, with the Manchester City midfielder missing training on Saturday and is considered a doubt to play. “He’s got a fairly minor foot injury,” Southgate revealed ahead of the game.
Despite conceding a first goal of the tournament against the Danes, Jordan Pickford will start in goal and could do so in front of an unchanged defence with Kyle Walker and Luke Shaw so far excelling in the full-back positions outside of first-choice central defensive pairing John Stones and Harry Maguire. Should Southgate opt to return to the three-man defence that performed so well against Germany, Kieran Trippier could return on the right side with Walker sliding inside to centre-back.
Ben Burrows11 July 2021 11:16
Two rivals with more in common than you think
Two different footballing cultures share a lot in common but only one can triumph at Wembley.
Here’s Mark Critchley on the two different countries that will be on show tonight and the similarities they share.
Ben Burrows11 July 2021 11:05
Leeds wish Phillips well
Leeds published a compilation of playing highlights and tributes from family and team-mates for their midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who has formed a successful partnership with Declan Rice across England’s run to the final.
An accompanying tweet read: “Good luck Kalvin Phillips! Bring it home England!”
Ben Burrows11 July 2021 10:44
Smith calls for calm
England Women record goalscorer Kelly Smith called for calm among the men’s side as they prepared to take on Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday evening.
“It’s a massive occasion, a massive day for the boys,” Smith, who played in England’s defeat to Germany in the Women’s Euro 2009 final, told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“They just need to be as calm as possible as it’s a long day for them today with the late kick-off, so they just need to handle the nerves.
“It’s a long drawn-out day, but the players will have had all the information from Gareth (Southgate) and it is just about managing the day now.”
Ben Burrows11 July 2021 10:30
Neville tells England not to be ‘nervous’
Former England right-back Gary Neville stresses it is “not a day to be nervous”.
Discussing how the players would be feeling on Sunday morning compared to his own experiences with the national team, Neville told Sky Sports News: “If you think about 1996 and Gareth’s abuse he received after missing that penalty, (David) Beckham in ‘98 and then my brother (Phil Neville) in 2000, it was a very pressurised situation with England because you weren’t performing at a level and there was a different way in which they approached it from a media point as well.
“These lads haven’t got that cynicism, they haven’t got that pain and dismay embedded within themselves, so I suspect that now they must be feeling on top of the world this morning, excited.
“I know there are a lot of fans nervous up and down the country but this isn’t a day to be nervous. I don’t feel nervous at all. It’s a moment and a day that this country’s been waiting for such a long time. I think the pressure moment was actually against Scotland or against Germany in the second round.
“We’ve gone past those things with this team, so this team have proven they can jump hurdles that none have done before in the last 55 years, and I suspect that they’ll be feeling really comfortable.”
Ben Burrows11 July 2021 10:14