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Verratti expects ‘epic’ Euro 2020 final against England

Italy midfielder Marco Verratti believes Sunday’s Euro 2020 final against England will be one for the ages, as the Azzurri look to win the tournament for the first time since 1968.

Having failed to qualify for the last World Cup, Roberto Mancini has defied expectations and led Italy on a national record 33-match unbeaten run, leaving them on the cusp of a second European crown.

“We want to win. We will face a very, very tough team who want to win. It’s a dream for us to win this European Championship,” Verratti told a virtual news conference on Thursday.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm around Italy. We weren’t given credit abroad but I think Italy are climbing back to where they belong.”

Italy will be appearing in their 10th major final, and first since losing 4-0 to Spain at Euro 2012.

“These matches are in a way easy to prepare for because you know everyone is going to give it his very best, whether you start or come off the bench,” said Verratti.

“You know moments such as this one might not come up again. I hope that’s not the case clearly. These matches are there to be won, and we must win.”

Italy have never lost to England at a major tournament, their most recent such encounter resulting in a 2-1 victory in the 2014 World Cup group stage.

“I think England did a great job. They got to the final for the first time and this says a lot,” said Verratti.

“They’ve conceded only one goal, they’re a very good team and a very balanced one. I’m happy to be playing them in a great stadium, a great final.

“It’s the dream you have as a kid as a footballer. I think it will be an epic final, history-making either way.”

Verratti believes whichever team is more successful at blocking out the distractions will come out on top at Wembley.

“We must focus on our playing style. We must put aside everything else. These matches can put you under a lot of pressure, but I think the team that plays more with a more free mind will gain the upper hand.”

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