Marco Verratti hopes the pressure will weigh heavier on England than Italy in the UEFA EURO 2020 Final, especially after a ‘generous penalty’ allowed them to beat Denmark.
The Final is on Sunday at Wembley Stadium at 20.00 UK time, as England eliminated Denmark 2-1 in extra time with a Harry Kane spot-kick.
“We watched the game together,” revealed Verratti in his press conference.
“England are physically strong, but also have players who are technically good with the ball. They deserved to reach the Final, but we both want to win.”
Although some Italy fans are hoping to travel, we’ve already seen against Austria and Spain that the huge Italian community in England and especially London has stepped up.
“They’ll have home advantage and it’d be a dream for them to win it there. Playing in a huge stadium will motivate us too and give us strength with this atmosphere.”
There were question marks about the Raheem Sterling fall that prompted the penalty, which many felt should’ve been revoked or at least reviewed by VAR.
“It was a generous penalty, I wouldn’t have given it,” noted Verratti. “That was a very important goal, as it allowed them to win the game. Let’s say it was generous…
“Sterling is fantastic, every year he proves himself to be a great striker and is having a wonderful tournament. We’re happy England won and it’ll be an historic Final for both of us.
“Even the French papers were happy for us, which shows how much we’ve regained credibility and taken Italy back to where we belong.
“We want to give our all and have no regrets at the final whistle. We’ll be in peace with ourselves because we’ll hold nothing back.”
It fed into the Italian media narrative since the start of EURO 2020 that England are favoured due to them hosting the semi-finals and Final, while some more outlandish suggestions from the Corriere dello Sport point to UEFA ‘thanking’ England for killing the Super League project.
“There will be a great referee who will have a great game and won’t let himself be affected by the Wembley atmosphere. These officials are accustomed to Champions League matches, so we have no fear,” added the PSG midfielder.
“The Final is easy to prepare, because whoever plays – whether from the start or for one minute – will give their lives for this team. These are moments that might never come around again, although we hope they will.
“There is pressure, especially on an England side who have never won the Euros, so the team that wants to enjoy itself the most and feels more clear-headed could have a big advantage.”
Italy dominated possession in every game except the semi-final with Spain, which went to penalties.
“This is going to be very different to the Spain match, as the midfield is where we can and must make the difference. We’ve got to set the tempo, England force you to play badly and don’t allow chances, so every detail could be decisive.”
Verratti adds that the presence of two legends in defence is what allows Italy to be more aggressive in midfield.
“The more times goes on, the stronger Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci seem to get. They give you the confidence, as midfielders, to press without fear, as our backs are covered by two phenomenons.”