Italy aims to spoil England’s Euro 2020 party, putting the country on the verge of history.
As Euro 2020 fever seized the country ahead of Sunday’s final, Gareth Southgate’s England were only one game away from ending their 55-year trophy drought, but Italy were determined to spoil the party at Wembley.
Southgate’s young team has reignited interest in English football by reaching the first European Championship final in the country’s history, more than half a century after winning the World Cup in 1966.
Along with the projected 67,500 fans at Wembley, millions of others throughout the country will be watching the final on television, with some schools and companies opening later on Monday to allow for a lie-in after the kick-off at 1900 GMT.
Fans clad in red and white flags gathered down Wembley Way, the stadium’s famed approach, drinking pints of beer and chanting England anthems.
With thousands jammed into the pedestrianised area as kick-off approached, the atmosphere became more tense.
Fans tossed beer cans, flares, and traffic cones into the air as police kept a careful eye on them, despite the fact that coronavirus illnesses are on the rise in the UK.
Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and even Hollywood icon Tom Cruise have sent words of support to Southgate’s team.
Hundreds of fans gathered outside England’s Hertfordshire team hotel on Sunday to give them a raucous send-off as they travelled for Wembley, with Southgate imploring the players to channel the enthusiasm into a winning formula in the final.
Southgate, who has been praised for his leadership of the team, said the supporters’ support has given them a “great lift” in a video message on the official England football Twitter account.
“I owe it to all of the players and the great staff I have working with me to get us to our first final in 55 years,” he said.
“But, of course, we realize now that we have to deliver for you, so we’ll do everything we can to meet your expectations. Your encouragement and enthusiasm have given us a big boost, and I know it will continue to do so on Sunday.”
Since taking over in 2016, Southgate has transformed English football, with victories over Germany, Ukraine, and Denmark in the Euro knockout stages.
However, England was defeated by Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, and only a victory over Italy in the final can satisfy them now.
“That is the current challenge. We’ve been breaking down boundaries along the way, but now it’s time to win,” stated captain. Brief News from Washington Newsday.