What started on June 11 ends tonight: Italy take on England at Wembley Stadium in London in the final of the 2020 European Championship.
Both sides aim to end long droughts when they meet on Sunday.
Gareth Southgate’s England hope that a partisan home crowd will help them lift a first major trophy since winning the 1966 World Cup at the old Wembley.
Italy have not won the Euros since 1968 and Roberto Mancini’s team has impressed at least as much as England in the tournament held over four weeks in 11 European cities.
The Azzurri are on an unbeaten run of 33 games since September 2018 and have never lost against England at a major event.
England wins: 8
Italy wins: 11
This is Italy’s 10th major final (six World Cups and four Euros), with only Germany (14) having played more among the European nations.
This will be England’s first appearance in a Euro final and their first in the final of a major tournament since winning the 1966 World Cup – the longest gap (55 years) between major finals (World Cup or Euros) for any European nation.
Italy have never lost against England at a major tournament.
England ready to make history
On the eve of England’s day of destiny, Southgate’s squad received messages of support from Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and even Hollywood actor Tom Cruise.
After England were given a rousing send-off, with fans lining the streets on the journey from their St George’s Park base to the team hotel on Saturday, Southgate urged England to harness the outpouring of emotion into a winning formula in the final.
“The players need to feel that warmth and support. It has definitely helped inspire us. We’re in a final and we are here to win,” said Southgate. “Now we want to go and bring the trophy home for everybody.”
Southgate has revolutionised English football since taking charge in 2016 and his team has impressed in Euro knockout stage wins over Germany, Ukraine and Denmark.
But England were beaten in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals by Croatia and only a final triumph against Italy will be enough to satisfy them now.