England boss Gareth Southgate says he’s ‘looking forward to the challenge’ of facing Italy on Sunday.

The Three Lions’ date with destiny was set on Wednesday as they overcame Denmark 2-1 at Wembley.

Southgate’s men have the chance to win their country’s first major tournament trophy in 55 years.


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Speaking about his team’s preparations, Southgate said: “We have been tucked away in our base camp, which has been perfect for us. We’ve been able to prepare without any distractions.

“It’s really felt like home for the last four weeks. It was a bit sad to leave the room, actually.

“But I think that that’s been very important for us through a tournament where so many matches were being played at Wembley.

“There has been a lot of expectation, there has been excitement and we’ve been able to calmly go about our business, really, and we see tomorrow very much the same.”

Despite Italy’s impressive 33-match unbeaten run, England go into the final high in confidence.

They’ve already beaten rivals Germany and 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia at the tournament.

Southgate continued: “Of course we’ll feel the energy as we get closer to the kick-off and as we get closer to the stadium.

“But it’s no use us playing the game over and over again tonight.

“We’ve got to have our composure and energy levels right for tomorrow, and I think the players are ready. They know the opponent, they know what they need to do.

“We said before the semi-final there’s very few scenarios as a group they haven’t been through and individually.

“It’s going to be a fantastic event and brilliant to be a part of. We’re really looking forward to the challenge.”

One blow for the manager is the potential loss of Manchester City playmaker Phil Foden.

Southgate says he is a ‘doubt’ for the 20:00 kick-off due to a minor foot problem.

The 21-year-old missed training on the eve of the match but has a chance of coming on as a sub, should his injury subside.

Centre-back Harry Maguire was asked about his form at the tournament earlier on Saturday.

The Manchester United player said he was ‘proud’ to be playing some of the best football of his career.





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