England train for era-defining Euro 2020 final as Southgate says he 'couldn't be prouder'

Three Lions take on Italy at Wembley on Sunday

England hit the ground running during training as they prepared for one final push in their quest for Euro 2020 glory. Gareth Southgate's team take on Roberto Mancini's Italy at Wembley in the final on Sunday, hoping to replicate the success of the 1966 World Cup - the last time they played a major final.

Three years after their defeat to Croatia in the World Cup semi-final, Southgate's men overcame Denmark 2-1 in extra time to reach their first European Championship final. And the England manager acknowledged the significance of the occasion.

"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," Southgate was quoted as saying by the Press Association.

"But I'm noticing the journey to the stadium - the tooting of the horns, the flags on the cars, so 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.

"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."

Even so, the task will not be easy. Their opponents are on an incredible run, having not tasted defeat since September 2018. Moreover, England have 24 hours less to prepare.

"It is definitely a bit of a disadvantage but we have to find the best way of dealing with that," he said.

"In terms of Italy, I think what Roberto [Mancini] has done and the way they've played the last couple of years, the record speaks for itself in terms of the wins, the small number of goals conceded. The style of play has been exceptional."

Updated: July 9th 2021, 5:05 AM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS