England v Italy: Excitement at fever pitch ahead of Euro 2020 final – here’s how the country’s gearing up

Euro 2020

Fans singing in Leicester Square, the evening before the England football team play in the Euro 2020 final


Have you heard? It could be coming home – today.

At 8pm, England will take on Italy in the Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium in London in what will probably be the biggest game of football in a generation.

Victory would mark the men’s football team’s first major tournament win since the 1966 World Cup success, which also took place at Wembley.

However, this game will be no easy ride for the Three Lions, with the Italian team impressing throughout the tournament and proving they can find a way to win any type of match.

Still, unsurprisingly, the nation is positively buzzing with football fever as the nerves and excitement build – with even politicians and the Royal Family attempting to get in on the action.

The Queen led the nation’s support to the team, recalling in a written message how she presented the Jules Rimet trophy to Bobby Moore almost six decades ago:

Her grandson the Duke of Cambridge also wished the team good luck in a video message and said it was “so exciting” to get to this point:

Boris Johnson, who has been getting more and more vocal in his support as the tournament has gone on, also wrote a letter to Gareth Southgate’s team, which praised the squad for “lifting the spirits of the whole country”:

He also posted a video message, just to reiterate how into the whole thing he is:

Away from political support, the team has also gained well wishes from the world of celebrity.

Mission Impossible and Top Gun actor Tom Cruise, who has been in London this weekend, called the players to tell them good luck, captain Harry Kane revealed.

And there were plenty of others who signalled their support:

The fact England’s men’s team have reached the final even had Piers Morgan eating his words...

Some of the squad also put out their own rallying cries on social media:

There was also a message from England’s very own boss:

Elsewhere, across the country, fans have been savouring the run-up to a game. On Saturday, football fans lined the road and waved flags as they cheered the team bus on its departure from the England training complex:

Houses have been bedecked with flags amid a surge in demand for England-themed paraphernalia:

The Shard in London was lit up in the team colours

And residents on one street have even patriotically renamed their road in honour of the Three Lions. Wales Street, in Oldham, Greater Manchester, has become England Street, with a new red-and-white sign erected above the original.

A good luck message from David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds – who are behind the anthemic Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home) – has been projected onto the white cliffs of Dover ahead of the match:

And, of course, the Three Lions song is being sung and played absolutely everywhere...

We’ve even had it in Latin...

There are several animal fans getting excited around the country, too, including one of the UK’s more famous cats:

And there are already wild scenes across London, where huge crowds have gathered in the usual spots to sing and chant with fellow fans.

Score wise, there are mixed predictions.

One Cabinet minister didn’t want to be drawn on the result, but insisted England would win:

England legend David Seaman is equally confident:

But the Italian ambassador to the UK was, perhaps unsurprisingly, certain that Italy would emerge victorious:

But, amid the excitement, there is also trepidation. The word ‘nervous’ was trending on Sunday morning...

As was ‘Come on England’ – for obvious reasons...

There were also some wise and cautionary words of advice to help fans stay safe during the game:

The Metropolitan Police has urged fans without tickets to the game not to travel to London. But the pubs and bars are expected to be busy.

The British Beer & Pub Association predicts England fans will buy 7.1 million pints on Sunday, while over the weekend an estimated £750 million is expected to be withdrawn from cash machines – up 12% on the same period a year earlier, according to ATM network Link (if you want help picking a venue, we’ve got you covered in London, around the UK and in New York).

Nevertheless, some got into the party spirit early:

There were queues outside London pubs first thing this morning...

Meanwhile, a number of schools have already said they will allow pupils to start later on Monday if they wish to and some employers are considering letting staff enjoy a celebratory – or consolatory – lie-in after what could be a very late night.

The final – which is expected to attract a record television audience – is due to kick off at 8pm and will finish by 10pm if it ends in normal time, but could end closer to 11pm if there is extra time or a penalty shootout.

Which we hope there won’t be.

Whatever happens, the England team has done the country proud. Come on, England!

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