Veteran Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini has said he senses his arrival at Euro 2020, when the Azur will remember a tournament they will remember when they are “a few inches” from Glory to go to the final against England at Wembley on Sunday. The Italians have left behind a defeat to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in a national record of 33 unbeaten matches, including six tournament matches and two friendly warm-ups. “I decided to continue with the national team because I thought we could do a really good job and as soon as we put the competition back a year I thought our youngsters would be even more mature and could have a great tournament,” Juventus center back Chiellini, who turns 37 next month, told Reporters -i on Saturday.
“Since we played in the Czech Republic and won 4-0 (in a friendly on June 4) I really felt that there was something special and magical about the team, and now we are just a few inches away from completing the job.”
Chiellini made his debut in Italy in 2004 and is playing in his fourth European Championship.
The Azur, who was in favor of being beaten in the 2012 final, lost 4-0 to Spain in Kiev, beating England on penalties in the round of 16.
“These are games that won’t come back in a player’s career, so we’re very lucky,” Chiellini added.
“You just need a little bit of excitement to get into a final. That goes for us and England.
“This time we have to go ahead and taste it. When we got together before the competition we just needed that suggestion of Madness and keep our heads cool. That has brought us here and we hope it can lead us to win the competition.”
The home advantage has diminished
Italy arrived in London on Saturday and prepared for the final at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground.
England will have a huge advantage at home playing at Wembley, as more than 65,000 people are expected to support most of them – only about 7,000 people from Italy will attend.
However, the hosts were losers on the final two occasions when they reached the final of the competition: France Portugal won the Euro 2016 in Paris, the Portuguese lost to Greece in the 2004 Euro Cup final in Lisbon.
England will play their sixth game of seven at Wembley, with the only exception being that they beat Ukraine in the quarter-finals in Rome.
With nine nations playing home matches at a European tournament, Italy took advantage of three team games in Rome.
However, Chiellini on Sunday tried to downplay the importance of the home advantage.
“There’s always a home team. That’s happened in the past and it won’t be the last time,” he said.
“They did a very good job reaching the final. They were on the side of the draw, once they beat Germany, they had a very nice opponent, but above all they are a very good team.
“For me it was the strongest team on the other side of the draw, and of course playing at home helped them avoid traveling too much, but we had the same thing in the first three games.
“But there’s no discussion. All I want to do is try to enjoy this wonderful pitch, because it’s a dream not only for the English, but also for football fans to take part in the final and it will be better if possible.”
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