Wednesday, May 25

Southgate cleans up his past

Eight finals to two, five titles to one. The numbers and tradition make Italy the favorite for the title, but little history will intervene on the grass of Wembley, the home of England, the home in which they conquered the only title of the list (the 1966 World Cup) and where he will play the second final of his history. An unforgettable episode in the year of Brexit.

More appropriate than ever was the abuse of the adjective “historical” in British newspapers, in stiff competition with the game that gave the term “Finally” in the headlines for their meaning: finally or finally. Desperate and long has been the wait. Frustrating and self-conscious, even.

Ended a long 55 year delay to qualify for a title, after four lost semifinals since then, two at the World Cup (1990 and 2018) and two at the European Championship (1968 and 1996), all four in extra time, one against Italy (1968). “Enjoy it, we do not know when it will happen again,” stressed the Daily mail.

A compensated technician

Gareth Southgate was right on the eve before facing the duel against Denmark: winning was more of a challenge than an obligation. Overall, he had already escaped a semifinal at Wembley: the 1996 one against Germany, on penalties. After eleven hits from the pitchers, Southgate missed.

The current coach, before the feat of putting England into a final, achieved another, smaller but influential: that the team overcome a penalty shoot-out after six adverse episodes. It was in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with which the coach (Watford, September 3, 1970) in three years, has compensated for the misfortune he starred in.

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The general state of joy relegated gloomy issues to smaller dimensions, such as the trigger for the victory: the suspicious penalty caused by Raheem Sterling, surname that invited to play with the word “stealing” (“Stole”). It was not reported this time that the winger simulated or exaggerated or was ugly that he fell so easily when he felt the contact with Maehle.

And Verratti, happy

The selected Italians followed from their concentration of Coverciano (near Florence), the semifinal that would reveal the name of their contender. “I am happy to be able to meet a great team like England at such a prestigious stadium as Wembley,” said Marco Verratti. He had reason to wish pross: against England he made his debut with the Italian national team (2012) and against England he made his debut in a World Cup (2014).

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“I am happy to be able to measure myself against a great team like England in such a prestigious stadium as Wembley.”

Marco Verratti / Italy Midfielder

He did not mind playing in the opposite field or that the atmosphere will be more heated. UEFA opened a file with the English Federation for the use of laser pointers and lighting of flares of the supporters and for the whistles to the Danish anthem.

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