The Guardian (Nigeria)
Football Comes Home Or Goes To Rome?
ENGLAND manager, Gareth Southgate, wants his players and the fans to enjoy the fact that the team has reached the final of Euro 2020, but he has warned there is still “one more massive hurdle to conquer”.
The hurdle that England are facing at Wembley tonight is Roberto Mancini’s Italy, a team that are unbeaten in 33 games.
The Azzurri have gone from failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to making it to the Euro 2020 final, Al Jazeera says. And having not lost since
September 2018, if they extend their “astonishing” record to 34 matches Mancini’s men will be crowned European champions.
Describing Italy as a “fantastic team”, Southgate knows the size of the task that his squad must take on if they are to win their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup. However, he is “so pleased” for the country and “so proud” of his players that the Euro run will continue until Sunday’s showpiece fixture, the BBC reports.
Captain Harry Kane, who scored the extra- time winner against Denmark in the semi- final, added: “We got there when it mattered. We reacted really well and we’re in a final at home. We know it’s going to be a very tough game against Italy. We’ve had a great tournament so far. One more game to go at home.”
Winger, Federico Bernardeschi has revealed that when Mancini took over as head coach in 2018, he was the only person who believed that Italy could get to the final of the Euros, the London Evening Standard reports.
“There was only a madman three years ago to say we could get to this point and it’s Mr. Mancini,” Bernardeschi said. “He’s always believed in us, he has always brought enthusiasm to everyone. When he says that we are a squad of 26 players, it is the truth, because we are a wonderful group.”
After beating Spain on penalties in the semi- final at Wembley, Italy will return to England’s national stadium full of confidence of winning the European Championship for the second time in their history.
“We have been working towards this for many years so we are very happy and I can only thank the players for what they have done so far. We have won nothing yet; we will have to win on Sunday ( today) to consider it a success. England will have an entire stadium behind them. It will be on us to put them under pressure. A final is a bit different from other games, we will have to play with focus but also with joy because you can only win a final if you take pitch to have fun,” said Roberto Mancini.
According to Gareth Southgate: “We’ve got to enjoy the fact we’re in the final but there’s one more massive hurdle to conquer. Italy are a very good side, I’ve thought that the last couple of years. They are in outstanding form and have defensive warriors who have been through everything. It’s a great game to look forward to.”