Defender Kieran Trippier insists England cannot concern themselves worrying about Italy’s quality ahead of the Euro 2020 final.
England have now turned their thoughts to Sunday’s Wembley showpiece against Roberto Mancini’s side following their memorable extra-time victory over Denmark on Wednesday.
Trippier, who came off the bench during extra time in the semi-final, said: “They’ve had a fantastic tournament.
“Under Mancini they’ve been unbelievable. I think it’s like 33 games now they’re unbeaten. You can’t hide away from the fact that they’re a good side.
“But we need to focus on ourselves. We try to play good football, exciting football to put a smile on our nation’s faces.
“We’re in a final, and it’s something for the fans to be happy about and proud of and enjoy the moment.”
Verratti unimpressed by England penalty award
Italy midfielder Marco Verratti feels the spot-kick Raheem Sterling won in England’s victory over Denmark was “a bit of a generous penalty”.
Harry Kane scored the winning goal from a rebound off goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel after Sterling was adjudged to have been fouled by Joakim Maehle.
“Perhaps it was a bit of a generous penalty, but it is part of the picture in football,” Verratti said.
The Paris St Germain player went on to describe Sterling as a “fantastic player” and predicted to the final to be “an epic”.
Schmeichel laser incident examined
On the subject of that penalty, UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against England after a laser pointer was directed at Schmeichel as he prepared to face Kane’s shot.
Television pictures showed a green light on the Danish keeper’s face in the moments before the spot-kick.
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
Southgate pleased for family
England manager Gareth Southgate has played down his own personal journey from the heartbreak of missing his crucial penalty at Euro 96 to his success in charge of the team.
Former team-mate Tony Adams, however, has shed some light on the emotions Southgate has been feeling.
“Weirdly I texted him the other day, to say congratulations, because I felt so proud to be his pal,” Adams told Good Morning Britain.
“He came back with a beautiful answer. He said ‘Thank God my mum and dad don’t have to put up with all that pain any more’.
“He was more concerned about his family – the amount of stick they’ve taken down the years – that they actually can put it behind them and forget that.”
The success of England is rubbing off in 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.”
Italy v England (final, July 11, Wembley, 2000 BST)