Euro 2020 matchday 29: Marco Verratti expecting epic final against England

Italy midfielder Marco Verratti is preparing for “an epic” contest in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final against England at Wembley

Italy, the four-times world champions, are bidding to win the championship for the first time since 1968, while England are making their maiden Euros final appearance.

We will face a very, very tough team.

Verratti said: “Now it’s all down to the final, which I think will be an epic final, and history-making either way.

“England are a very physical team, and they have players who are very skilled as well. We will face a very, very tough team, they will be playing at home, they know the stadium well. But it is a dream for us to win this European Championship.”

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Henderson ready for final hurdle

Jordan Henderson has called for “one more big push” as England eye glory.England’s appearance at Wembley this weekend will be their first in a major final for 55 years.

Midfielder Henderson, who lifted the Champions League trophy as Liverpool captain two years ago, says the team cannot spend too long savouring Wednesday’s memorable semi-final win over Denmark.

The 31-year-old said: “It is an unbelievable feeling but at the end of the day we haven’t achieved anything yet, we’ve got to go one more big push to try and win it, recover well and focus on the next job in hand, a tough game against Italy.

“We know how good they are, it is a tough test for us but one that we are confident of going out there and putting in a good performance.”

Schmeichel laser incident examined

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against England after a laser pointer was directed at Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel on Wednesday.

Television pictures showed a green light being shone on Schmeichel’s face as Harry Kane lined up his crucial penalty in extra time. Schmeichel saved the initial shot but was beaten by Kane on the rebound for what proved the winning goal.

England are also facing two further charges relating to the booing of the Danish national anthem and the lighting of fireworks inside the stadium.

Kuipers takes charge

Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers will be the man in the middle on Sunday, UEFA has confirmed.

It will be the 48-year-old’s fourth match of the tournament after the Denmark v Belgium and Slovakia v Spain group games and the quarter-final between Denmark and the Czech Republic.

He was also the fourth official for England’s opening victory over Croatia at Wembley.

Kuipers has previously refereed the Champions League final, in 2014, and the Europa League final twice.

If England are looking for tournament omens – he was the man in charge for their World Cup quarter-final victory over Sweden in Russia in 2018.

The assistant referees will be fellow Dutchmen Sander Van Roekel and Erwin Zeinstra, while Carlos Del Cerro Grande of Spain will be the fourth official. Germany’s Bastian Dankert will be the video assistant referee.

Post of the day

Quote of the day

The success of England is rubbing off on the unlikeliest of manners with Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, even moved to try his hand at rap. Speaking in the chamber itself, Mr Mogg, clearly bitten by the football bug, was moved to recite John Barnes’ famous vocals from the 1990 World Cup song, ‘World in Motion’.

“Everyone, I think, is rejoicing at the football success and I think the line to take is from Mr Barnes,” he said. “You’ve got to hold and give but do it at the right time. You can be slow or fast but you must get to the line. Can I reassure you, Mr Speaker, that we ain’t no hooligans, this ain’t a football song.”

Stat attack

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Italy v England (final, July 11, Wembley, 2000 BST)

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