error code: 1003
11 July 2021

Euro 2020 final party in full swing as England prepare for Italy clash – live!

11 July 2021
  • Thousands of fans are partying in the streets as England prepare to face Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley (2000 kick-off)
  • Gareth Southgate has thanked the supporters as his men bid to deliver England's first trophy since the 1966 World Cup
  • Manchester City's Phil Foden is England's only injury concern after missing training on Saturday, with Jack Grealish touted as a 'great' alternative by former boss Sven-Goran Eriksson
  • Opponents Italy, who failed to qualify for the last World Cup, are now unbeaten in 33 games under Roberto Mancini

1515 Not everybody was in high spirits ahead of the game.

England fans looking for tickets outside the ground (PA Wire)

1510 The England captain took time out in the build-up to send a message to a fellow Harry – a two-year-old boy suffering from a brain tumour.

Kane said in the video posted on Saturday: “I just wanted to wish you all the best, not just from me, from all the England team. Hopefully we can put a smile on your face tomorrow night.”

1500 Lionesses defender Lucy Bronze showed her colours.

1455 England prepared to make the short journey from their Hertfordshire hotel.

England's team bus waits to depart for Wembley (PA Wire)

1450 The Italy captain is no stranger to a special occasion under the arch.

1445 Support continued to come from domestic clubs.

1435 Just a reminder that kick-off is not until 8pm.

1415 The final party is bouncing with less than six hours remaining before the big kick-off.

England fans on Wembley Way (PA Wire)
England fans on top of a bus before the big match (PA Wire)
England supporters with a fellow fan dressed as Gareth Southgate (PA Wire)
England fans party before the match (PA Wire)

1410 UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and general secretary Theodoros Theodoridis will be joined at the final by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and representatives of the English and Italian Football Associations, according to a guest list released by the European governing body.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be there with their son Prince George – the Duchess making a dash across from Wimbledon, where she watched the men’s wheelchair singles final – while political guests include Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella and undersecretary of state for sport Valentina Vezzali.

The Duchess of Cambridge, left, watches the Wimbledon men's wheelchair singles final (PA Wire)

Sir Geoff Hurst, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney will be among the ex-England players in attendance, along with Italy’s Alessandro Nesta and Gianluca Zambrotta – and Fabio Capello, the Italian who managed England from 2007 to 2012.

Hollywood star Tom Cruise and model Kate Moss were revealed to be among the celebrity guests.

1400 Ellis Genge and England’s rugby team were getting into the mood, with a nod to comedian Peter Kay.

1345 Wembley was looking a picture for the big occasion.

An artist paints a picture of Wembley Stadium ahead of the Euro 2020 final (PA Wire)
An artist paints a picture of Wembley Stadium ahead of the Euro 2020 final (PA Wire)

1340 A re-recorded version of Atomic Kitten’s 2001 hit Whole Again dedicated to England boss Southgate has been surging up the charts in the build-up to the final.

“It’s all very surreal to think that a song that was released over 20 years ago is now one of the main chants for the England fans, but when you hear it it just gives me goosebumps,” lead singer Natasha Hamilton told Sky Sports News.

“It’s been a crazy week but I’m so happy that Atomic Kitten have become a part of football history.

[xdelx]

On the new version of the song, Hamilton added: “We literally re-recorded the vocals on Monday, released it on Tuesday, by Wednesday it was in the top five of the charts. So it has been a whirlwind.

“If this song became number one it would just be the icing on the cake of the most incredible week.”

1335 Fans of both teams were in good spirits around Wembley.

England fans climb aboard a bus outside Wembley (PA Wire)
An England climbs onto the roof of a car (PA Wire)
An Italy fan outside the ground (PA Wire)
A dog in an Italy shirt outside of Wembley stadium (PA Wire)

1330 England settled their nerves with a team walkabout.

1325 A look ahead to the game with the key statistics and thoughts of both managers.

1315 The England manager’s first professional club celebrated his achievements.

1310 A big day of sport in London, with Italian representation across the board.

1300 Premier League and EFL clubs showed their support for England.

1250 Former England defender turned pundit Rio Ferdinand was on his way.

1245 Gareth Southgate sent a message to fans on the Lions Den programme broadcast on England’s Twitter feed.

The England manager said: “I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to everybody for the incredible support you’ve given us throughout the tournament. I hope we’ve represented you in the right way, I hope you’ve enjoyed watching us play.

“I’m grateful, with the staff here, to get to our first final in 55 years but now we know we’ve got to deliver for you. Your support and energy has given us a huge lift and I know it will on Sunday.”

1240 The pre-match festivities are getting into full swing as England and Italy fans gather outside Wembley.

A young England fan outside the ground (PA Wire)
England fans outside Wembley (PA Wire)
England fans outside Wembley (PA Wire)
An Italy fan outside Wembley (PA Wire)

1235 England midfielder Jack Grealish told the Lions Den programme the team are in relaxed mood ahead of the game.

“It’s actually quite chilled here, probably not a lot of peoppe would expect that. We’re all just focused on the game – it’s probably the best way to be, chilled and focused.

“It’s the biggest game in I don’t know how long, one we’re looking forward to. I don’t really get nervous, I’ll just do what I do on any normal day.”

Regarding the atmosphere after the semi-final win over Denmark, he added: “We’ve been belting out a few Ed Sheeran songs – ‘Thinking Out Loud’, my favourite. We enjoy it in the changing room for a little bit after but there comes a point where you need to say ‘that’s done’ and focus on the next one.”

1225 Will Italy produce a masterpiece at Wembley to dash English hopes?

1220 Emile Heskey, who played for England at Euro 2004 and at two World Cups, insists “the pressure’s off” for England.

Heskey told Sky Sports News: “The major part of the pressure was getting to this point, getting out of the group stage. After the Scotland game (a goalless draw) there was a lot of pressure there because it wasn’t the result the nation wanted.

“But to get to where they are now I think the pressure’s off – they’ve just got to go out there and express themselves.”

1200 Jesse Lingard was one of the final players to miss the cut for England’s tournament squad after starring on loan from Manchester United to West Ham.

The playmaker told the Lions Den show on England’s Twitter feed: “I spoke to Marcus (Rashford) a little bit, spoke to Dec (Rice) a little bit, and they’re just confident – they’re thriving on the challenge and everyone’s ready to go.”

Lingard added: “100 per cent it’s coming home.”

1135 Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson thinks England are above reproach even if they lose the final.

“I think England – whatever happens tonight, I think they will win – have done a great, great tournament,” he told Sky Sports News. “They have played very good football in most of the games, very solid and defending very well, and they have a lot of young players for the future.

“I think they will win but I don’t think they will be criticised negatively whatever happens. Of course they have a lot to lose but they should go out and enjoy the match, doing what they normally do.”

Eriksson believes the best two sides at the tournament have justifiably reached the final, adding: “No doubt about that – yes. Italy have in many games played very good football, attacking football, with a lot of good players.

“They are the two best teams in the tournament so it’s fair as it is.”

Sven Goran Eriksson watches his England team in action during the 2006 World Cup (PA Archive)

On Southgate’s transformation of England’s fortunes since their shock early exit at the hands of Iceland at Euro 2016, Eriksson added: “He has done a great job, that’s for sure, and a lot of good young English footballers have come through. He has given them the chance which is great… he has let them play as well.

“Southgate has been great for England and to see them in the final of the Euros is fantastic.”

Young Manchester City star Phil Foden is an injury doubt for tonight after missing training on Saturday but Eriksson feels England have an abundance of suitable alternatives, highlighting Jack Grealish as a “great player”.

The Swede added: “You have so many options: you have Sancho, Grealish and Rashford. It’s just about choosing who is in the right shape and Southgate is very, very lucky as he has a lot of good footballers who are young and hungry, with pace and technique, on the bench.

“(Grealish) can make the difference. He’s a great player and I like him very, very much. In one-on-ones he can open up the Italy defence for sure, so he can be the man.

“I think that England have a better bench than Italy. The teams are both very good but England’s bench is much better.”

1125 Fans up and down the country are showing their support, with local residents carrying a giant England “Respect” flag from Raheem Sterling’s old home on Neeld Crescent in Brent to nearby Wembley.

Local residents carry an official giant England Nationwide Respect campaign flag from Neeld Crescent in Brent, where Raheem Sterling grew up, to Wembley Stadium (PA Wire)

Sterling also featured, alongside captain Harry Kane and manager Gareth Southgate, in a mural in Nuneaton by artist Nathan Parker.

Fans by a new mural in Nuneaton by artist Nathan Parker, depicting Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling (PA Wire)

Parker’s “Three Lions on the Wall” exhibit also urged fans to donate to fund a defibrillator, in response to Denmark playmaker Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest in their opening game against Finland.

1115 From Sunderland to Merseyside and England – the two Jordans have the backing of their old club.

1110 The England Women team were fully behind their male counterparts.

And there was also support from the national summer sport.

1100 Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham, appearing on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, said of the England squad: “I think they are a fantastic group of people who we are very proud of. What they have done on the pitch has been fantastic but I think it goes beyond that.

“I think there are some individuals who have driven social change and who have been incredibly supportive of charities and, as I said, we are proud to have them as our team.”

Bullingham urged England fans not to boo the Italy national anthem and also clarified the position of the FA and the team on taking a knee.

“We’ve been really clear, we do not support the booing of national anthems. We want them to really get behind the team in the right way,” Bullingham said.

“We have also been very clear on what taking the knee stands for. It is an act of equality, not a political gesture, and quite frankly anyone who tries to position it in that way is wrong.”

1045 England will be competing for the attention of one of PA’s reporters on duty.

1040 Former England defender Jamie Carragher believes Gareth Southgate should stick with the team who saw off Denmark in the semi-finals.

“I think it is (time to stick),” he told Sky Sports News. “I’d have actually stuck with the team that played against Ukraine. I was surprised when Saka came in.

“I can’t say I’ll be hugely surprised if he changes again because he’s done it so often and it keeps the opposition guessing, but I think Saka’s done really well in the last game and you need that pace and that energy around Harry Kane to make runs in behind the Italian defence.”

Do you agree with Carragher? England want you to have your say.

1030 England will be back in their white shorts for the big game.

1020 Former England striker turned BBC presenter Gary Lineker is ready to “go absolutely bonkers” if England join Leicester in helping him achieve his twin broadcasting ambitions.

Lineker paid tribute to the work done in the community by the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling – while his memories of watching major tournaments as a child featured a surprising appearance from Engelbert Humperdinck.

1005 The Duke of Cambridge, who is also president of the Football Association, sent his best wishes to the team with a video posted on Twitter.

“Gareth, Harry and to every member of the England team on and off the pitch, just want to wish you the very best of luck for tonight,” he said.

“What a team performance it’s been, every member of the squad has played their part and all the backroom team as well have been truly essential.

“Can’t really believe this is happening, so exciting, and just wish you the very best of luck.

“You bring out the very best of England and we are all behind you, the whole country is behind you, so bring it home.”

1000: Good morning! Tonight, at 8pm, England face Italy at Wembley.

At stake is the European Championship trophy, potentially England’s first and only a second major honour since Bobby Moore and his team-mates won the World Cup in 1966.

The Queen has wished the Three Lions well, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson also penned a personal note to Gareth Southgate and his squad, who were FaceTimed by Hollywood A-lister Tom Cruise on Saturday.

England’s calm and composed manager Southgate remains determined to stay focused on the job in hand while the country has allowed itself to dream of football finally coming home.

Today the PA news agency will chart the build-up to the historic clash, bringing the best opinions, pictures, video, graphics and social media together as we count down to kick-off.

Former England right-back Gary Neville, who along with Southgate experienced semi-final heartbreak as a player at Euro 96, stressed that today was “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.

Gary Neville earned 85 England caps (PA Archive)

“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.”

Former England boss Terry Venables, who led the Three Lions to the last four of the Euros 25 years ago, has written an open letter to Southgate in The Sun.

Venables said: “I will be with you in spirit on that touchline. I knew exactly how, and what you were feeling as those incredible days which brought the country together back in ’96 came flooding back to me, feelings which cannot be fully appreciated unless you are standing on that spot.

“As you know, sport teaches us so many lessons about life and the saying, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is so true.

Gareth Southgate shares a joke with Terry Venables (PA Archive)

“Having watched all of the games, I have to say that your team are a credit to you as mine were to me, and I know that to achieve a connection like that is a luxury many managers could never accomplish.

“Enjoy every moment of your day on Sunday, knowing that our wonderful country are all behind you and your team cheering you on, willing you the success which you all deserve.”

Italy watch

Italians are confident their national side will win their second European Championship, a title they first claimed in 1968.

The front cover of today’s Gazzetta dello Sport instructs the Azzurri to ‘make them blue’. The Corriere dello Sport talks of ‘a love so big’ for Roberto Mancini’s men.

Where can I watch the final?

BBC One – build-up from 1820ITV – build-up from 1830

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