Thursday, 29 Jul 2021

Luis Enrique snubs England ahead of final: ‘If Italy win, I will cheer for them!’

Euro 2020 final pre-party gets underway on Wembley Way

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Italy take on England at London’s Wembley Stadium in the final of Euro 2020. Italy have not won the Euros since 1968 but the Azzurri are on an unbeaten run of 33 games since September 2018 and have never lost against England at a major event. This is Italy’s 10th major final, with only Germany having played more among the European nations.

On the other hand, this will be England’s first appearance in a Euro final and their first in the final of a major tournament since winning the 1966 World Cup – the longest gap (55 years) between major finals (World Cup or Euros) for any European nation.

It will also be the first tournament after Brexit, and while many have tried to keep politics out of it, Euro 2020 automatically gained a considerable international political value.

Pierre-Etienne Minonzio wrote for L’Equipe that in France there is a feeling that UEFA have done everything they can to help England win because of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

Moreover, when asked if French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would want to see England winning the Euro 2020, Swedish MEP Peter Lundgren told “From the experience I have…

“I would say they would definitely not be in favour of England winning.

“They never like [it] when the UK is successful.”

Even Spain’s manager Luis Enrique said he will not support England this evening, despite La Furia Roja losing against Italy in a tense penalty shootout earlier this week.

After being beaten by the Italians, he told Corriere TV: “I am happy because I was able to enjoy a very high level match, one of the best of these European Championships.

“I congratulate Italy.”

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He added: “Will I support Azzurri in the final?

“Yes, it’s not nice for the British, but I’ll cheer on Italy.”

In a recent article, famed Italian journalist Beppe Severgnini has argued it is because of England’s Football’s Coming Home attitude, Italy often does better.

He wrote for Corriere Della Sera: “We Italians believe we can lose, the English think they have to win.

“This is why we often do better than them: caution, experience and superstition are mixed in our attitude.

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“In their attitude are added pride, imprudence and impatience.

“It has been since the 1966 World Cup – played at home, and not exactly transparently – that England have not won a European or world title: 55 years.

“The motto that resonates in these days in English stadiums should be corrected: Football’s coming home! – trophies not yet.”

Mr Severgnini added: “Will it happen on Sunday at Wembley? We’ll see.

“While English club teams win with merit, have fun and enjoy admiration – the Premier League is the most watched league in the world – the national team is struggling.

“They reached the continental final this year for the first time (third place in 1968, semi-final in 1996).

“We, four times (1968, 2000, 2012, 2021).”

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