England v Italy Preview

It's almost upon us, the biggest game in over half a century for England. After so many what ifs, this group of players have a real chance to make history, to become heroes and to make a country proud.

Two brave members of NE1's Game have made their predictions for the game.

Graeme - @GraemeBell_NUFC

England really have brought this country together over the last 6 weeks or so. It's amazing what football can do! It's been a long time coming for England, many have tried and failed to get this far in a major tournament since the glory of 1966. Gareth Southgate has a group of players who will run through a brick wall for him, even those who have yet to see any game time in the tournament are united behind Southgate, and what he is trying to achieve with this side.

Italy have been fantastic throughout this tournament, and it will be an incredibly tough game for England. There are a lot of things in England's favour, of course. The fact that the final will be played at Wembley will be a massive advantage.

There's a togetherness in this England side, that I haven't seen for a long time, and a real determination to make the country proud. There are no egos in this squad of players, it's refreshing to see. I do think the way Italy play will suit the likes of Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling running in behind. It will be important for England to move the ball quickly, so they can release Sterling and Saka. They've been able to do this to good effect throughout the tournament so far.

It won't be straightforward, it never is with England! It'll be nervy, and we'll be watching through our hands or from behind sofa for a lot of it. I'm strangely confident, and I think England will edge Italy. Prediction: England 2 - Italy 1

Rob - @ImRobM

I can’t quite believe I am going to watch a team I support in a major final! Sadly, Newcastle United haven’t quite been able to deliver the success our fans deserve, but this summer England have brought a nation together and played with great pride.

We have seen two versions of Italy in this tournament. We have seen the flowing, free scoring Italy, who swept aside everyone in their path in the group stages. We have also seen the resolute, gritty Italian side that grafted their way through the knockout stages and used every weapon in their arsenal to get over the line. They have put in every sort of winning performance in these Euro's, and will no doubt have a game plan sorted to try and get the better of England.

As tense as the Denmark game was, I think that it was a good thing that England conceded the first goal, and faced having to come from behind for the first time this summer. I think that adversity really will have set England in good stead for Sunday’s final, and give them a belief that even if things aren’t quite going their way, we can still dig in and come out on top, as Italy did in their semi-final against Spain.

It’s going to be incredibly tough, but surely there isn’t a better opportunity for England to win our first tournament since 66’? The final will be played at Wembley in front of our home crowd, and I feel the momentum is really with us at this point. I am not usually an optimist (thanks NUFC), however I really feel we are going to win this final and become European Champions.

Prediction: I am going for a very tense 1-0 win for England.


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