London, Jul 10 (EFE).- Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions will have a final outing in the hunt for their maiden Euro title against a renewed Italy, who are seeking their second continental crown.
Over 60,000 fans will roar for England in Sunday’s final at Wembley in what is the nation’s first major final since claiming the 1966 World Cup.
Southgate reaches the final having already found the perfect combination; with Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips the backbone of the midfield, alongside Luke Shaw, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Kily Walker in defense.
“The reality of any team is that we never get these 26 players together again,” Southgate said prior to the final, according to the UEFA website.
“It just doesn’t work that way. They’ve left a great legacy, whatever happens, but now it’s about the color of the medal, and you get very few opportunities in your life to do something like this,” he added.
“So we have to seize that moment and give ourselves the best chance of winning,” he continued.
He also praised their opponent, “a fantastic team” and “a hugely experienced coach” Roberto Mancini who have gone from a team lacking in ideas and confidence to a one fighting for European glory in the space of just three years.
“There was only a madman three years ago to say we could get to this point and it’s Mancini,” midfielder Federico Bernardeschi said after knocking out Spain on a penalty shootout in the semifinal.
Under Mancini, Italy upgraded its game, taking the initiative, without neglecting its natural defensive aspect, the basis of the previous four World Cups and the 1968 European Championship.
The result is a fourth Euro final appearance after defeating Yugoslavia in 1968 and losing to France and Spain in 2000 and 2012 respectively and high expectations for a second success. EFE