The scene has been set as the Euro 2020 final has finally and there is a buzz in the atmosphere as England find themselves in the final against Italy.
England find themselves in their first ever final in the European Championships and only their second ever final in a major tournament – their first being that memorable World Cup final in 1966.
Gareth Southgate’s side have picked up results against Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic, Germany, Ukraine and Denmark to set up a final tie with Robert Mancini’s Italy at Wembley Stadium.
Italy, however, have a much stronger affiliation to the competition featuring in three finals.
They were victors in the 1968 final against Yugoslavia – winning the replay 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome after drawing 1-1 two days earlier.
The Azzurri had to wait 32 years before they reached another European final, losing to France 2-1 under the golden goal rule and crashing out in 2012 to Spain 4-0 despite a brilliant display throughout the tournament.
The Italians failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and hit rock bottom. Confidence was low and they were a laughing stock in their own country before Mancini changed their fortunes around, creating a force to be reckoned with once again with a defensively solid approach.
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The top matches require top players to perform and the England captain will certainly want to make his mark on what is the biggest match of his international career so far.
Harry Kane has scored three goals already in this tournament and will want to look for more as he looks to find a way past an Italian defence that has only conceded three goals in this tournament – a defence record that is second to Southgate and his side.
Kane’s style of play has allowed him to drop back and create chances but I feel we are due another masterclass from the striker as he continues to silence his critics and prove exactly why he is world-class.