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Italy star Marco Verratti picks out Raheem Sterling as England’s main threat ahead of Euro 2020 final

Marco Verratti is looking forward to Italy’s Euro 2020 final clash with England (Picture: Getty)

Italy star Marco Verratti ‘cannot wait’ for the Euro 2020 final to begin and has picked out Raheem Sterling as England’s major threat ahead of Sunday’s showpiece at Wembley.

Harry Kane made the breakthrough in the the 14th minute of extra time – scoring on the rebound after his initial penalty was saved by Kasper Schmeichel – to secure England a 2-1 victory over Denmark in front of a rapturous home crowd last night.

The match had to be taken beyond normal time after an own goal from Danish captain Simon Kjaer cancelled out Mikkel Damsgaard’s stunning free-kick but the Three Lions eventually prevailed to book a place in their first final at a major tournament since 1966.

The previous semi-final between Spain and Italy, meanwhile, went all the way to a penalty shootout and it was the latter who progressed which saw their unbeaten run extend to a staggering 33 games, dating back to September 2018.

England players celebrate Harry Kane's penalty against Italy

The Three Lions saw off Denmark in extra time to set up a clash with Italy (Picture: Getty)

Reacting to England’s win on Thursday, Italy midfielder Verratti underlined that he and the rest of Roberto Mancini’s squad were well aware of the almighty challenge that awaits them this weekend.

‘We will face a very tough team who will be at home and know the stadium well,’ the Paris Saint-Germain ace told reporters at a press conference.

‘It’s a dream to win this European Championship and the supporters will be important.

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

Verratti reckons Chiellini and Bonucci will be key this weekend (Picture: Getty)

Verratti believes the invaluable experience of Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini and centre-back partner Leonardo Bonucci could be key for the visitors on Sunday evening.

‘Giorgio and Leonardo are two players who really help us out a lot,’ he added.

‘They have great experience, they get stronger with age and we are very lucky to have them on our side.

‘They make us feel safe, they give you that extra confidence which is very important for us mentally.

‘We know they are back there, two excellent defenders who are probably most representative of this side. So, again, we are happy and lucky to have them on our side.’

Sterling produced another mesmeric performance at Wembley (Picture: Getty)

Sterling was unable to add to his goalscoring tally (3) as England progressed past Denmark but the Manchester City attacker shone throughout and was perhaps unfortunate to lose out on the man-of-the-match award to Kane.

On Sterling’s impressive Euro 2020 campaign, Verratti said: ‘He’s fantastic.

‘He proves this every year and is doing this with England.

‘I think he’s a great player.’

The diminutive PSG midfielder is confident Italy’s entire squad will be ‘100 per cent’ prepared for the task at hand come kick-off.

‘These games are in a way easy to prepare for,’ he continued.

‘Everyone will give it their best shot. You know moments like this one might not come up again. I hope that’s not the case. I don’t think we need to charge up for it.

‘We are 100 per cent. You must grab it and win. We want to win.

‘We most focus on our playing staff and put aside everything else. These games can put you under a lot of pressure and I think the team that will play more lightheartedly with a free mind will gain the upper hand.

‘Sometimes when you play football you just focus on that and you don’t properly realise what’s going on. That’s the thing about football, it all happens quickly.

‘You can focus on one single match and celebrate, but you must not exaggerate, because there is another one.

‘We are focused on the final now. We don’t want to be overwhelmed. We’ve seen people celebrating in the streets, but every game you give it all you can. That’s truly all that matters.’


MORE : Gary Neville predicts Bukayo Saka will be dropped for England’s Euro 2020 final vs Italy


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