The Football Association (FA) condemned the racist abuse directed at several England players after the Euro 2020 final loss to Italy on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, who missed penalties in the 3-2 shoot-out loss, were targeted on social media in the wake of the defeat at Wembley.

The FA slammed the abuse and called for action to be taken by government and social media companies.

"The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media," a statement read.

"We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team. We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.

"We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real-life consequences.

"Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse."

The Metropolitan Police confirmed there would be investigations into the abuse.

"This abuse is totally unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and it will be investigated," they said.

Playing alongside Gianluigi Donnarumma is similar to playing with Gianluigi Buffon, according to Leonardo Bonucci, one of Italy's Euro 2020 heroes.

Donnarumma saved two penalties in a 3-2 shootout success over England in the final on Sunday, as Italy became European champions for the second time after a 1-1 draw at Wembley.

The 22-year-old, who is set to join Paris Saint-Germain following the expiration of his Milan contract, denied Jadon Sancho before keeping out Bukayo Saka's penalty, which the Arsenal teenager needed to convert to keep England's hopes alive.

It sent the Wembley crowd from euphoria to despondency, with Jordan Pickford having just kept England in it with his second save of the shootout – the Everton goalkeeper parrying Jorginho's effort onto the post.

Italy have now won six major international tournaments, while they became the first team to win two shootouts in the same edition of a European Championship.

Donnarumma, meanwhile, has won all five of the shootouts he has been involved in with club and country so far in his career, and Bonucci, who scored the equalising goal to cancel out Luke Shaw's opener, compared the youngster to an Azzurri legend.

"I was lucky because I played with Gianluigi Buffon, now I play with Gigi Donnarumma – it is the same!" Bonucci told ITV Sport.

Along with fellow veteran campaigner Giorgio Chiellini, who at 36 years and 331 days is now the third-oldest player to appear in a European Championship final, Bonucci put in a towering display at the back for Italy.

Kept under wraps by Italy's wily defenders, England talisman Harry Kane failed to muster a shot or create a goal-scoring chance for only the second time in his 61 appearances for the Three Lions.

In the build-up to Sunday's showdown, Chiellini revealed Italy's squad were puzzled when Roberto Mancini outlined his intention to win Euro 2020 upon taking charge three years ago, but the Azzurri have been a joy to watch at the tournament and ultimately deserved their triumph, even if it came the hard way. Indeed, Shaw's opener was the quickest goal scored in a European Championship final.

"Anything is possible," added Bonucci, who became Italy's outright top appearance maker at the European Championship with what was his 18th game in the competition.

"England scored after two minutes, it was difficult to ask, all of the fans give their energy into the battle. It was important to be calm, we start to play, play, play and play. We were calm at the end of the first half, we talked altogether – we have to play, play, play. We find the right pass, find the right shot, this is the way to win.

"History. It is a dream come true. We feel some magic when we started this stage. We feel inside to come to Wembley, it is so difficult. We are more than happy. We see the image of [Fabio] Cannavaro holding up the World Cup – we are lucky."

Gareth Southgate acknowledged it was a "gamble" to bring on substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho to take penalties in the Euro 2020 final.

England suffered a 3-2 defeat to Italy in the shootout, after the match finished 1-1, with Rashford striking the post before Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved from Sancho and Bukayo Saka.

England have won just 22 per cent (two out of nine) of their major tournament shootouts, the lowest ratio of any European nation to have been involved in three or more.

When asked if Rashford and Sancho, both brought off the bench in extra-time a few minutes before the shootout, might have been "cold", Southgate said the decision was one fraught with danger.

"That is the risk you run but they have been the best in the lead in, and to throw all those attacking players on you have to do it late," he told ITV.

"You have got to have balance to the team. You can't just throw on attacking players earlier, or you lose your shape and don't have a foothold in the game.

"It was a gamble but if we gambled earlier in the game, we maybe lose the game in extra time. I chose the guys to take the kicks."

Southgate revealed England's order for the penalty kicks had already been decided in advance of the Wembley final, and said the decision to let Saka take one was his alone.

He added: "It's my decision to give him that penalty so that is totally my responsibility. Not his. 

"The same with Marcus or Jadon. We work together, worked through them in training, that was the order that we came to.

"I said afterwards that nobody was on their own in that situation [missing a penalty]. 

"We decided to make the changes late in the game and we lose together as a team. The players have been tight throughout and that's how it will stay."

Southgate said he was proud of England's overall display in the tournament although felt they were poor in possession in the final.

"In the end we were not quite able to see the game through in normal time and Italy showed the outstanding team they are with 30 plus games unbeaten," he explained.

"Our players have to be proud of themselves. Every one of them has been exceptional. First time we have to a final and we are very disappointed not go on a step further.

"Italy have some outstanding players but we didn't keep the ball well enough in that initial period in the second half. We changed the shape to get more of a grip. It was a lack of composure in possession which turned the game."

England will now switch their focus to next year's World Cup in Qatar, although Southgate needs time to let the wounds heal from this defeat.

"It's hard to reflect at this moment because the disappointment is enormous for all us," he said.

"The players have done us proud. The way the nation have got behind us. I know tonight has burst the balloon. But I hope everyone remembers what this group has given them.

"We have given everyone some fantastic nights and we wanted to give them one more and came close to having done that. It's hard for me to put that into words at the moment.

"At this moment it is hard to look that far ahead. This was a wonderful opportunity and we need let that sink in before thinking about Qatar."

In the 120th minute of the Euro 2020 final, Giorgio Chiellini decided it was time to race from his defensive station and give Italy a dashing overlap option on the left wing.

He does what he wants. And if this was his last stand for Italy, we witnessed classic Chiellini. What a captain: a nightmare to play against, a dream as a team-mate.

Glory went to his goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, for those saves from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka in the shootout, but Italy's success was founded on that Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci axis in the heart of defence.

When Donnarumma pushed away 19-year-old Saka's spot-kick to seal victory, Chiellini roared and grabbed the nearest man in a blue shirt, Manuel Locatelli getting the bear hug.

Moments later he went across to Harry Kane and attempted to console the England skipper, a player whose threat had been utterly blunted by the Italian defence.

The statistics show that Chiellini made just one tackle on the night, but he produced six clearances – four more than any other Italy player – and three interceptions, won more aerial duels (7) than anyone in blue and completed 95.7 per cent of his 115 passes. Just wow.

He turns 37 next month, but was indefatigable here, driving on his team throughout, helping the team that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup become European champions.

The veteran Juventus star retired from international football when Italy failed to qualify for that World Cup, but soon rowed back on that decision. This might be the perfect way to bow out, having guided the Azzurri through grim times and on to triumph.

 

It is 34 games unbeaten now for them, Roberto Mancini's team worthy kings of the continent. Wembley was perhaps less than a third full by the time Chiellini got to lift the trophy, having emptied of most England supporters.

Football's come home to Rome. Chiellini had tears in his eyes as he lifted the trophy, and doubtless it was the same for millions of Italians at home, the first European country to truly feel the horrors of the COVID-19 crisis last spring being given enormous cause for national celebration.

Italy have never lost against England at a major tournament, but when Luke Shaw fired Gareth Southgate's men inside two minutes the locals sensed this time it might be different.

Yet Bonucci became the oldest player to score in a European Championship final as Italian pressure told midway through the second half, tucking in the rebound after Jordan Pickford pushed Marco Verratti's header against the left post.

It had felt that England, with their early lead, were trying to Catenaccio the life out of the Azzurri, beat them at their own game.

Italy had six shots in the first half to England's one. Jorginho, who completed just five passes in the Spain half during Tuesday's semi-final, had 27 such balls that found blue shirts in the first half here.

There was freedom for Italy to play, and even when they lost livewire Federico Chiesa to an ankle injury they continued to dominate and swarm, leading the shot court 14-4 at the 90-minute mark.

In stoppage time at the end of that 90, Chiellini cynically grabbed the shirt of Saka as the teenager looked to burst down the right. Because of course he did. He had the wit to swallow a yellow card for the greater good. A professional's 'professional foul'.

Into the extra half hour and Chiellini made an excellent block to turn Raheem Sterling's cross out for a corner.

Soon afterwards, just as Sterling looked set to shoot or perhaps deliver a killer pass across goal, out stretched a foot from Chiellini to solve Italy's latest problem.

Will Roberto Mancini try to keep him on for the World Cup campaign? A conversation for another day, probably.

 

This was a night of joy for Italy, and what a moment for Mancini, too.

Italy's head coach knows all about Wembley heartbreak, having been on the Sampdoria team that lost 1-0 to Barcelona under the old stadium's twin towers in the 1992 European Cup final, when Gianluca Vialli's misses proved so costly.

Mancini's Manchester City team were dealt a stunning defeat at the rebuilt stadium by Wigan Athletic in the 2013 FA Cup final, with the Italian sacked days later.

He has known magical moments too, delivering City's first trophy for 35 years in the 2011 FA Cup final with a 1-0 win over Stoke City. The semi-final win over Manchester United that year, also at Wembley, was perhaps far more important in terms of the shift of power in English football.

And then Wembley has served Italy well in this tournament, the tense win over Austria, the penalty shoot-out victory over Spain in the semi-finals, and now this latest spot-kicks success.

Chiellini, the oldest player to start as captain in a European Championship final at 36 years and 331 days, as intimidating as a centre-back can be, has been a rollicking thorn in the side of the opposition.

And after all those Scudetto triumphs in the nine-in-a-row Juventus side, Chiellini is a champion with Italy. An outlaw legitimised by his nation's finest footballing hour in many a year.

Penalties. It just had to be penalties.

Having grown immeasurably as a football manager and a statesmanlike public figure over recent years, Gareth Southgate might one day consider himself a specialist in exorcisms.

Demons have been slayed from 12 yards and now here are another legion of them to haunt poor Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka – the latter remarkably taking the first penalty of his career.

English football, 55 years of hurt and counting, allows these events to stick to the collective consciousness.

When England beat Colombia in a 2018 World Cup shoot-out, Southgate let out a guttural roar; a cathartic celebration to banish memories of his decisive miss against Germany in the semi-final of Euro 96.

Except they needed snuffing out all over again when Germany arrived back at Wembley in the last 16. Then there was all the tension of a Wembley semi-final against Denmark. England's demons arrive in Whac-A-Mole form.

But there was another more subtle and ever-lurking tormentor for Southgate's excellent team as they came agonisingly close to immortality.

 

Dream opening scripted by Southgate

The absence and then avalanche of pre-penalties substitutions brought understandable questions over Southgate's decision-making, but the opening to the match felt like Pinewood Studios transplanted across town – a perfectly scripted demonstration of a coach's every call coming up trumps.

Luke Shaw's quickest goal in any European Championship final gave emphatic answers to all of the pre-match quandaries over Southgate's tactical plan for Italy, effectively ticking off all the of the key plot points like a neatly crafted screenplay.

How was Harry Kane going to deal with the formidable central defensive duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci? Would he be effective dropping deep to occupy the Azzurri's slick midfield operators? Before the England captain's tournament took off with that late goal in the last-16 win over Germany, his lack of penalty area involvement became a source of concern and conjecture.

 

He came into his own half to receive a Shaw pass, turned smoothly into space and released Kieran Trippier – opening up the whole pitch and a field of dreams.

Yes, Trippier. The experienced Atletico Madrid defender was introduced in place of livewire Arsenal teenager Saka as Southgate reverted to a 3-4-3. Would that end up being an overly defensive note sounded by the manager, leaving Italy's centre-halves untroubled and undercooked left-back Emerson without examination?

Well, here were England flying at their opponents in the second minute. Kyle Walker, the right-sided centre-back, clattered past Shaw on the overlap like a freight train full of Gatorade. Trippier measured his cross to perfection.

But with this defensive formation and Kane as the deep-lying forward, paying an audacious tribute to his opponents by turning in a fabulous Francesco Totti impersonation throughout he first half, would England have enough players attacking balls into the box? Oh, there was Shaw, up from left wing-back and measuring a superb finish to spark pandemonium in the stands.

Azzurri's pass masters tame Three Lions

Two hours later, the mood music was sharply different as Southgate's men headed into extra time somewhat bedraggled.

Roberto Mancini's decision to remove Ciro Immobile after the centre-forward did 55 minutes of great work in the name of nominative determinism was key. With the electrifying Federico Chiesa leading an attack without a fixed focal point, Italy were a team transformed.

The Juventus forward sent a blistering left-footed drive just wide in a rare moment of first-half defiance from the Azzurri and he remained their main threat. Behind him, Jorginho and Marco Verratti were enjoying Wembley's green expanses amid wearying legs. During the first half, they looked more like tourists trying to shove their way through the impromptu pre-match revelry in Leicester Square.

 

Italy's equaliser came courtesy of the artisans rather than the artists – Chiellini manhandling John Stones at a corner and Bonucci on hand to scramble in the rebound after Jordan Pickford saved from Verratti's diving header.

Southgate changed shape after that leveller, introducing Saka for Trippier. Jordan Henderson followed in place of Declan Rice, whose influence had declined sharply along with that of Mason Mount.

Mancini's in-game intuition, honed through seasons of elite club management, proved more decisive in terms of changing a story told by a final pass count of 823-424 in Italy's favour. Before his thunderous penalty, Harry Maguire made the most England passes with 66. Five Italy players attempted more, with Verratti and Jorginho clocking 119 and 99 respectively.

As Italy's battery of playmakers shuffled into the ascendancy, Phil Foden's injury absence felt cruel for Southgate. For all the exciting talent in his squad, for all England's improvement in terms of game management and tactical flexibility, faced with a technically superior midfield there were problems beyond the footballing capabilities of the men in white.

It felt like Mount remained on the field too long, but Southgate does not have a Verratti or a Jorginho up his sleeve, however effective Rice and Kalvin Phillips have proved over the past month.

 

The world-leading academy system in England and the manner in which it feeds St George's Park suggests those players will come.

Imagine, even five years ago, an attacking midfielder such as Leicester City's James Maddison not being in the England squad because the likes of Jack Grealish, Foden and Mount already are. Talent will continue to bloom. Just think how good Jude Bellingham will be by Qatar 2022.

Midfielders to dictate alongside those who create are the next requirement if a team taking giant strides in the right direction are to make the final step towards glory and away from those gruesome trials by combat from 12 yards.

Harry Kane said the hurt of England's penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final would stay with his team-mates throughout their careers, but urged those who missed like Bukayo Saka to hold their heads up high.

After the Wembley showpiece finished 1-1, Kane scored England's first penalty of the shoot-out but Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Saka all failed to convert from the spot.

That left England to reflect on a missed opportunity to end their 55-year wait for a major trophy, but Kane insisted Gareth Southgate's team are moving in the right direction.

Kane told BBC Sport: "We couldn't have given more, the boys couldn't have given more. Penalties are obviously the worst feeling in the world when you lose. It wasn't our night.

"It's been a fantastic tournament and we should be proud, hold our heads up high. Of course it's going to hurt now, it's going to hurt for a while but we're on the right track and we're building. Hopefully we can progress from this next year.

"Obviously we got off to the perfect start. Maybe dropped a little bit too deep. Sometimes when you score that early it's easy to try soak up the pressure and hold onto that.

"They had a lot of possession but to be fair we looked fairly in control. They didn't create too many chances. They got their breakthrough from the set-piece and then after that it was probably 50-50.

"In extra time we grew into the game, had a few half-chances, and then obviously penalties is penalties. We went through our process, the boys did everything they could and it wasn't our night.

"You've just got to hold your heads up high. Fantastic tournament. These things can happen. Penalty shoot-out you go through a process, put it where you want to put it, but anyone can miss a penalty."

Kane was seen consoling Saka at the final whistle and he underlined the togetherness of Southgate's squad and their ambitions to achieve highly at the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

The 27-year-old Tottenham striker is yet to win a major trophy in his career, but insisted he is surrounded by players with a winning mentality in the England squad.

"We win together, we lose together," said Kane. "We'll learn, we'll grow from it, and it'll give us even more motivation to do well in the World Cup next year.

"We should be extremely proud as a group of what we've achieved. We're all winners and want to win, and it'll probably hurt for the rest of our careers, but that's football.

"We've progressed well from Russia [2018 World Cup, where England reached the semi-finals], and now it's about continuing that.

"We've got a great squad, loads of great players hungry for more football like this. All we can do is build and learn, and hopefully go into next year in a better way."

Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini insists his side were deserved winners in Sunday's Euro 2020 final against England after dominating from the moment they fell behind.

The Azzurri recovered from Luke Shaw's strike after one minute and 57 seconds – the earliest ever European Championship final goal – to win the competition for a second time.

Leonardo Bonucci levelled up for Italy with 67 minutes played, becoming the oldest scorer in a Euros final, and it was Roberto Mancini's side who prevailed 3-2 on penalties for their sixth major tournament title.

England had just 34.4 per cent of the ball, the Three Lions' lowest figure at Wembley since drawing 2-2 with Spain in November 2016.

Italy also outshot their opponents 19 to six across the 120 minutes and Chiellini felt his side were good value for their famous victory in London.

"We won, I think deservedly," he told RAI Sport. "We felt something magical in the air. We'd been saying it since the start of May and we deserve it, all of Italy deserves it.

"It was an incredible sensation. Thank you to everyone who was part of this group over three years and we dedicate it to all those players who are watching from home too.

"They key was always to play football and enjoy ourselves. We wanted to control the game, to hold possession.

"Despite getting that punch in the face within two minutes, we dominated the rest of the match and wanted it at all costs."

 

Gianluigi Donnarumma was Italy's shoot-out hero with two saves, including the decisive stop from Bukayo Saka's attempt to end the Azzurri's 53-year wait to lift the coveted trophy again.

That is the longest gap between championships in the tournament history, surpassing Spain's 44-year wait from 1964 to 2008.

Donnarumma was mobbed by his team-mates at full-time and was hailed by skipper Chiellini, who compared the 22-year-old to the great Gianluigi Buffon.

"We had Gigione! We've gone from Gigi to Gigio," Chiellini said. "It was right to win this way. We are all so happy and can't wait to celebrate with all the Italians tomorrow."

Italy are the first side in European Championship history to win two shoot-outs in a single edition of the competition, having also gone the distance against Spain in the semi-finals.

It marks an incredible turnaround for the Azzurri, who failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018 but are now a national record 34 matches without defeat.

Mancini has overseen that long-running streak and was in tears when interviewed at the end of the game at Wembley.

"The lads are marvellous. I don't know what more to say. It's important for all the people and all the fans," Mancini told RAI Sport.

"England did well. We conceded the goal straight away and struggled, but then dominated from there on in.

"We are happy that we played well when winning the game. I hope the supporters are celebrating right now. We're happy now. That's all that matters."

Gianluigi Donnarumma was Italy's hero as he saved from Bukayo Saka to clinch a 3-2 penalty shootout victory over England after a 1-1 draw in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley. 

Jordan Pickford saved two of Italy's spot-kicks, yet it was his counterpart who came up with the goods to clinch the Azzurri's second European Championship title. 

It was a night that started so well for England, with Luke Shaw scoring the quickest goal in a Euro final. 

Yet mounting Italy pressure told when Leonardo Bonucci scored midway through the second half, and after late substitutes Marcus Rashford hit the post and Jadon Sancho failed to beat Donnarumma in the shootout, Saka fell foul of Italy's goalkeeper as England suffered heartbreak on home soil.

Leonardo Bonucci made history when he scored Italy's equaliser against England on Sunday, becoming the oldest player to score in a European Championship final.

The Juventus centre-back, aged 34 years and 71 days, netted from close range after 67 minutes at Wembley to cancel out Luke Shaw's early strike.

Bonucci, who made his Italy debut in 2010, became the second-oldest player for a European side to score at any major tournament, after Nils Liedholm (35y 264d) for Sweden against Brazil at the 1958 World Cup.

He was making his 18th European Championship appearance - the most of any Italian player, overtaking Gianluigi Buffon's 17.

England wing-back Luke Shaw scored the fastest goal in a European Championship final with his strike inside two minutes against Italy.

Shaw got on the end of a Kieran Trippier cross at the far post and thumped a volley past Gianluigi Donnarumma to give Gareth Southgate's side an early lead in Sunday's clash at Wembley.

The goal was Shaw's first for England on his 16th appearance and was timed at one minute and 57 seconds, surpassing the previous record held by Chus Pereda for Spain against the Soviet Union in 1964 (05:04)

It was also England's fastest goal in a European Championship match, 17 seconds quicker than Alan Shearer's effort against Germany in 1996.

Shaw has been a key player in the Three Lions' run to the final on home soil, having also assisted three goals prior to the Italy showdown. In fact, only Cristiano Ronaldo (six) and Patrik Schick (five) have been directly involved in more goals at Euro 2020 than Shaw.

 

UEFA has released a statement confirming that the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy is set to go ahead despite disruption caused by fans jumping perimeter barriers in the build-up to kick-off.

Videos of supporters appearing to break through perimeters set up by stewards at Wembley Stadium have been widely shared across social media prior to Sunday's game.

However, UEFA insists that no fan has managed to enter the stadium without a ticket and so the game should take place as scheduled.

UEFA's statement read: "Fans have been jumping over barriers but there has been no access to the stadium. No concern that any protocol will come into place in which the stadium will be shut down.

"There is no concern this final will not go ahead."

A spokesperson for the Football Association said: "We are dealing with an incident that occurred at the outer security perimeter area of the stadium, with support from police.

"Safety measures were quickly activated in the relevant areas and there were no security breaches of people without tickets getting inside the stadium."

UEFA have released a statement confirming that the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy is set to go ahead despite disruption caused by fans jumping perimeter barriers in the build-up to kick-off.

Videos of supporters appearing to break through perimeters set up by stewards at Wembley Stadium have been widely shared across social media prior to Sunday's game.

However, UEFA insist that no fan has managed to enter the stadium without a ticket and so the game should take place as scheduled.

UEFA's statement read: "Fans have been jumping over barriers but there has been no access to the stadium. No concern that any protocol will come into place in which the stadium will be shut down.

"There is no concern this final will not go ahead."

A spokesperson for the Football Association said: "We are dealing with an incident that occurred at the outer security perimeter area of the stadium, with support from police.

"Safety measures were quickly activated in the relevant areas and there were no security breaches of people without tickets getting inside the stadium."

Kieran Trippier returns as Gareth Southgate makes one change to his England starting line-up to face Italy in the final of Euro 2020.

The Atletico Madrid defender takes the place of forward Bukayo Saka as the Three Lions return to the back three that saw them through against Germany in the last 16, while Phil Foden has missed out of the squad altogether due to injury – the Manchester City star having missed training on Saturday due to an unspecified injury.

The change opens up a place in a likely front three for Mason Mount, who previously operated in central midfield in wins over Ukraine and Denmark.

England are otherwise unaltered, with four-goal forward Harry Kane – now the country's joint-leading goalscorer at major tournaments – leading the line and a familiar midfield axis of Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice named.

As for Italy, they name an unchanged starting XI from their penalty shootout win over Spain in the semi-final.

Federico Chiesa starts on the right flank of a 4-3-3 formation despite pre-match suggestions that he might miss out through injury.

And Roberto Mancini's men once again count on defensive warriors Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci as they earn their 112th and 109th caps respectively.

England: Pickford, Trippier, Walker, Maguire, Stones, Shaw, Phillips, Rice, Mount, Kane, Sterling.

Italy: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson, Barella, Jorginho, Verratti, Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne.

Gareth Southgate has offered heartfelt thanks to England fans for their support ahead of a first major tournament final appearance in 55 years.

The Three Lions have played five of their six games en route to the showpiece fixture of Euro 2020 in front of a partisan crowd at Wembley Stadium.

And they will contest a sixth at their home ground on Sunday when they take on Italy aiming to win a first piece of silverware since the 1966 World Cup.

Ahead of that showdown, Southgate has placed on his record his appreciation for the backing he and his team have received both from the stands and further afield.

He said: "I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to everybody for the incredible support we've received throughout this tournament. 

"We hope that we've represented you in the right way, we hope that you've enjoyed watching us play. 

"I'm very grateful to all of the players and in the incredible staff I've got with me that we've been able to get to our first final for 55 years, but of course we know now we've got to deliver for you. 

"We'll be doing everything we can, your support and energy has given us a huge lift and I know it will on Sunday."

Gareth Southgate could spring a surprise by starting Jadon Sancho instead of Bukayo Saka for England in the Euro 2020 final against Italy.

That is the view of former England defender Gary Neville, who believes the spot on the right wing that was filled by Saka in the semi-final win over Denmark is the only position up for grabs.

Neville would have been tempted to play Marcus Rashford if the Manchester United forward had been in better form.

Instead he believes another soon-to-be United player Sancho, who started the quarter-final against Ukraine in Saka's absence, could be the man who gets the nod if 19-year-old is indeed left out.

Saka has had an impressive tournament for England and Neville acknowledges it could be an "unpopular" decision.

He feels it would be easier for Southgate to pick an unchanged side and then take Saka off in the second half as he did in the extra-time triumph in the last four.

The Arsenal youngster has been put forward for many press interviews prior to the Italy clash, but Neville thinks that could be a red herring.

 

"There is only one possible change and that's Saka," he said to ITV Sport.

"I know that would possibly be an unpopular thing to say.

"He may say [to Saka] go for 60 minutes and we'll get you off - which he's done before - he may say that and go with the same team. 

"But I just wonder whether he might bring someone else in.

"Actually putting him up for interviews before the final makes me think he might not be playing.

"If Rashford was in form I'd go Rashford-Sterling just to get in behind [Giorgio] Chiellini and [Leonardo] Bonucci but Rashford hasn't been in the greatest of form. 

"I would think it would be Sancho if Saka doesn't play.

"I think you have to play two of the quicker ones, so it would be Saka, Sancho or Rashford with Sterling on the other side."

 

Phil Foden missed training on Saturday with a knock and the Manchester City star is the only injury doubt for England.

While he called the development "a blow", Neville believes England can cope due to their strength in depth, particularly in the attacking positions.

He told Sky Sports: "It would be a blow for Phil Foden personally and for the team because he is an important part of those six or seven forward players that we have that float around Harry Kane.

"One of the great strengths in this tournament is that you can start Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling and bring on Jack Grealish or Jadon Sancho or Phil Foden and not really drop in quality that much.

"We have got an exceptional amount of talent in those positions.

"We are better in the latter half of games, the danger against Italy is that if we do start badly in that first half an hour then the Italians will punish us more than Denmark did.

"You don’t want to be behind to a team with the defensive record that they have.

"It's important that Foden is fit for him personally but if not then an injury is an injury, it's important that we have a lot of players who are fit in those positions going into the last 20 minutes of games which has become critical for us."

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