England vs Italy build-up LIVE: Lineker slams Sterling critics, UEFA charge, ref confirmed

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Euro 2020: England through to home final

England are into their first major tournament final since 1966 after seeing off Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-finals in remarkable fashion on Wednesday night. Harry Kane’s close-range effort, after initially seeing his penalty saved, gave the Three Lions a brilliant 2-1 victory to see off the Danes inside a raucous Wembley and set up a showdown at the same stadium with Italy this Sunday.

Euphoria has swept the nation, as has the three-word phrase ‘It’s Coming Home’, as Gareth Southgate’s squad look to deliver only England’s second ever major triumph.

The 1966 World Cup stands alone as the only time England have won either the Euros or the World Cup – but this weekend will also mark the first occasion they have contested a final since then.

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They come up against Roberto Mancini’s streetwise Italy at Wembley and face the toughest possible test against a team unbeaten since September 2018, going 33 games unbeaten since.

Yet with Southgate and co. having used the experience of their run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals so well thus far, the country is confident of a long-awaited tournament win.

Express Sport provides all the latest updates as we build up towards Sunday’s 8pm kick-off, with the final all everyone is talking about ahead of what will be a historic day for English football.

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England vs Italy build-up LIVE (Image: GETTY)

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

  • Italy’s Marco Verratti warns Wembley is not massive advantage for England
  • UEFA charge England after laser pointed in Kasper Schmeichel’s eye
  • Gareth Southgate picks out where England must improve vs Italy
  • Gary Lineker shuts down claims Raheem Sterling dived for penalty vs Denmark
  • Bjorn Kuipers to referee Sunday’s final, UEFA confirm

6.45pm: MATCH REFEREE CONFIRMED

Dutchman Bjorn Kuipers will referee England’s match against the Italians this Sunday, the UEFA Referees Committee has announced.

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The 48-year-old has previously taken charge of Champions League (2014) and Europa League (2013 and 2018) finals but never a European Championship final.

He did oversee England’s under-21 Euros loss to Germany way back in 2009 when Mesut Ozil was among the scorers for the Germans.

More recently, at this summer’s tournament, he was the man in the middle for Denmark’s 2-1 loss to Belgium, Spain’s 5-0 win against Slovakia and the Danes’ 2-1 quarter-final victory over the Czech Republic.

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Kuipers also served as fourth official for England’s 1-0 group stage win against Croatia. The full refereeing team is below.

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands)
Assistants: Sander van Roekel, Erwin Zeinstra (both Netherlands)
Fourth official: Carlos Del Cerro Grande (Spain)
Reserve Assistant Referee: Juan Carlos Yuste Jimenez (Spain)
Video Assistant Referee: Bastian Dankert (Germany)
VAR Assistants: Pol van Boekel (Netherlands), Christian Gittelmann, Marco Fritz (Germany)

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

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England vs Italy build-up LIVE (Image: GETTY)

6.25pm: FIGHTING TALK FROM VERRATTI

Italy midfielder Marco Verratti insists he and his team-mates will be spurred on, rather than fazed by, the Wembley noise this weekend.

Several England players and even Southgate hailed the atmosphere against Denmark as the best the stadium has seen, at least since its 2007 rebuild.

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But Verratti says: “It’s a dream to win this European Championship and the supporters will factor in somehow.

“Both teams want to win, so we will face a very tough team who will be at home and know the stadium well.

“But we are all professionals and know how it is to play in fan-packed stadiums. It will drive us on as well.

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“England are very physical with players who are very skilled. They deserved to get to the final and it will be a difficult match.”

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

England vs Italy build-up LIVE (Image: GETTY)

6pm: ENGLAND HIT WITH UEFA CHARGE

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England are facing a fine from UEFA after a laser point was shone in the face of Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel as Harry Kane prepared to take his penalty.

Schmeichel saved the spot-kick but Kane followed up the rebound to condemn the Danes to defeat.

The Uefa Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will oversee the case in ‘due course’ and it is likely England will be hit with a fine, but no punishment more severe than that.

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UEFA have also charged England with disruption of the Danish national anthem, presumably due to fans booing it, and the lighting of fireworks inside Wembley on Wednesday night.

The official spokesman of Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “UEFA are looking into that, that’s a matter for them but it’s not something we would want to see.”

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

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England vs Italy build-up LIVE (Image: ITV)

5.45pm: IT’S KØMMÖN HOME

Want to buy your own Euro 2020 trophy? Well it turns out you might be able to… sort of.

IKEA UK has listed its own version of the Euro 2020 cup on the mugs and cups section of the IKEA website.

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Aptly titled ‘KømmönEngland’, its price tag is currently ‘priceless’ with the blurb of the product reading simply: ‘It’s coming home.’

Whether they actually go up for sale we’ll soon see – but if they do, don’t expect them to actually be priceless!

5.15pm: LINEKER SHUTS DOWN STERLING CRITICS

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Gary Lineker has hit out at suggestions that Raheem Sterling dived to win the penalty that Harry Kane scored to put England into Sunday’s final.

There has been widespread debate over whether the contact that made the Manchester City winger go down was enough to constitute a spot-kick.

But Lineker insists it could’ve been two pens on Twitter and added in a follow-up post: “The reactions to this are beautiful. I love this bitterness.”

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He added in another tweet that “having been on the end of so many awful decisions over the years” England were “long overdue a little luck”.

Not everyone will agree with him though! Do you?

4.50pm: SKINNER AND BADDIEL TO PERFORM AT FINAL?

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But of course, Southgate’s word of warning won’t be heeded by everyone, with a wave of confidence sweeping the nation that football truly is coming home.

And fans are urging Frank Skinner and David Baddiel, who were spotted inside Wembley against Denmark singing along to their iconic anthem, to sing as much pre-match before the final.

The two comedians were sat side-by-side against the Danes and footage on social media caught them joining in with the chants while ‘Three Lions’ was played aloud on the PA system.

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Now, England supporters want them out on the pitch at the national stadium to gee up the crowd pre-Italy. You can read more about it here.

Should England get the pair to sign Three Lions before kick-off against Italy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

England vs Italy build-up LIVE

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England vs Italy build-up LIVE (Image: GETTY)

4.30pm: SOUTHGATE’S ITALY WARNING

It was an incredible night for England’s players and fans on Wednesday night after beating Denmark 2-1 to reach the final.

But Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate is wary improvements must be made against Italy this weekend.

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He said post-match: “I felt calm in the lead up to the game because I felt the players, with what they’ve been through, were ready.”

“You’re never 100 per cent sure how they react in difficult moments but we have talked about it and they stayed clam.

“I didn’t think we kept the ball well enough through Denmark’s pressure from the front three and we’re going to have to do that better on Sunday because Italy are very good at it so we need to find better solutions with that.”

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