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Your vital guide to tonight’s Euro 2020 final and more quirky talking points

A game of two halves. 55 years of hurt… countless cliches have been aired about tonight’s match but we’ve compiled some much more intriguing insights. 

For example, the two Harrys in England’s team (Kane and Maguire) are among 33 players with that name to have represented England – along with 61 Jacks and 60 Williams. 

Auspiciously, Gareth Southgate could today become the first England manager to win 40 matches, surpassing the great Sir Alf Ramsey who won 39.

A game of two halves. 55 years of hurt… countless cliches have been aired about tonight’s match but we’ve compiled some much more intriguing insights. Pictured: Atomic Kitten, who released a new version of their song Whole Again for Euro 2020

STATS BACK ENGLAND

According to the Fink Tank computer model, England have a 57.8 per cent chance of victory compared with Italy’s 42.2 per cent, largely down to the home advantage of playing at Wembley. 

The boffins also worked out that we have an edge of 0.22 goals… whatever 0.22 of a goal is.

Meanwhile, investment bankers Goldman Sachs analysed 6,000 matches since 1980 and believe England have a 58 per cent chance of becoming Euro champions – although the bankers previously predicted Belgium, who were knocked out in the quarter-finals, would win the tournament.

England and Italy have played each other 27 times, with Italy winning 11 games to England’s eight victories and eight draws. Worryingly, Italy has never lost against England at a major tournament.

According to the Fink Tank computer model, England have a 57.8 per cent chance of victory compared with Italy¿s 42.2 per cent, largely down to the home advantage of playing at Wembley

According to the Fink Tank computer model, England have a 57.8 per cent chance of victory compared with Italy’s 42.2 per cent, largely down to the home advantage of playing at Wembley

Did you know? 

England midfielder Kalvin Phillips has run a total of 41.8 miles in the six games he’s played during this tournament

THREE PROUD LIONS

The Three Lions emblem of the Football Association has its roots in the time of Henry I, whose coat of arms featured a lion rampant on a red background. Proudly adopted by Richard the Lionheart during the Crusades, three lions still fly on the UK’s Royal Standard.

The badge has been worn on England football shirts since 1872. In 1949, there was a minor change when a crown above the lions was removed, to differentiate it from the one used by England’s cricket team. 

The FA recently came up with a new ‘inclusive’ logo for the grassroots game that features a lion, lioness and cub.

DODGY TATTOOS

Scientific research shows that tattoos impede perspiration and can lead to overheating – with footballers suffering a drop in performance of up to five per cent.

Italy¿s Lorenzo Insigne¿s many tattoos include a crude drawing on his neck of three stick figures, believed to represent a mother, father and child

Italy’s Lorenzo Insigne’s many tattoos include a crude drawing on his neck of three stick figures, believed to represent a mother, father and child

While Harry Kane doesn’t have any, team-mate John Stones has a tattoo of his hero, former Barnsley player Norman Rimmington – and an image of his ex-girlfriend, among others. 

Italy’s Lorenzo Insigne’s many tattoos include a crude drawing on his neck of three stick figures, believed to represent a mother, father and child.

SWEET CAROLINE (Neil Diamond) 

Where it began, I can’t begin to knowing

But then I know it’s growing strong

Was in the spring

And spring became the summer

Who’d have believed you’d come along

Hands, touching hands

Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good

I’ve been inclined

To believe they never would

But now I…

…Look at the night and it don’t

seem so lonely

We filled it up with only two

And when I hurt

Hurting runs off my shoulders

How can I hurt when holding you

One, touching one

Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good

I’ve been inclined

To believe they never would

Oh no, no

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good

Sweet Caroline

I believe they never could

Sweet Caroline

Good times never seemed so good

© Universal Music

Team-mate Francesco Acerbi has a leg tattoo of a lion – having been called ‘the lion’ of football after recovering from testicular cancer.

ELECTRIC ‘BALL BUGGY’

Tonight’s match ball will be delivered to the centre circle by a tiny, remote-controlled Volkswagen mini-ID.4 as the motor giant uses its Euros sponsorship to promote electric vehicles.

PLAYING CATCH-UP?

Ever wondered why you sometimes hear people down the road cheering a goal when it hasn’t yet happened on your TV? 

The answer is that there can be delays in transmission, depending on the source.

Comparison site Uswitch says analogue radio coverage is almost instantaneous, delays for digital radio and satellite TV are up to two seconds, cable is five seconds and between ten and 45 seconds for web streaming.

PUNDIT BINGO

Prepare yourselves for a night of clichés from the TV pundits. 

For fun, you could compile a list of the most often-used and tick them off whenever you hear one from either Gary Lineker’s BBC commentary team or their ITV rivals led by Sam Matterface. 

Some examples: ‘…on the edge of your sofa’, ‘the big Italian’, ‘Sterling is unplayable’, ‘It was a great ball in, but there was no one on the end of it’, ‘engraving their name on the trophy’…

VEXED BY VAR?

VAR – the Video Assistant Referee – is used to help and correct referees.

Officials based in Nyon, Switzerland, have a bank of TV screens to review on-pitch incidents and feed back their judgment to the referee. 

Other jargon you might hear from pundits include ‘high line’, a style of play where defenders position themselves high up the pitch, near the halfway line – and ‘catenaccio’, the bedrock of Italian football with a strong defence which comes from the Italian word for ‘door bolt’.

MEGABUCKS REF

When not officiating, tonight’s referee Bjorn Kuipers, 48, is the multi-millionaire owner of a supermarket in his Dutch hometown of Oldenzaal. 

He was estimated to be worth £11.5 million in 2016. He’ll wear a garish neon pink kit with a map of Europe on the front with national borders erased to ‘convey a sense of a community’.

SPARE US HORROR OF PENALTIES! 

England have lost six and won three penalty shootouts at major tournaments.

When not officiating, tonight¿s referee Bjorn Kuipers (pictured), 48, is the multi-millionaire owner of a supermarket in his Dutch hometown of Oldenzaal

When not officiating, tonight’s referee Bjorn Kuipers (pictured), 48, is the multi-millionaire owner of a supermarket in his Dutch hometown of Oldenzaal

One risky technique is a ‘Panenka’ where the player gives a subtle kick under the ball, causing it to dink over the diving goalkeeper. Named after a Czech who invented it in 1976.

Did you know? 

The sterling silver trophy was made by Asprey of London, based on a winged Greek vase from 510BC. It weighs 17lb and is 24in tall

BACK OF THE NETTI? 

Some handy Italian phrases:

  • Sei cieco, arbitro? (Are you blind, ref?)
  • Merita un cartellino rosso (He deserves a red card)
  • Sta tornando a casa (It’s coming home)
  • In fondo alla rete! (Back of the net!)

SAUCY SANCHO

England’s Jadon Sachno’s love of Nando’s peri-peri chicken led the firm to ask him to help launch a special ‘Sancho Sauce’ that’s ‘fruity and fiery.’ 

Appropriately enough, he plays on the wing.

TO CAP IT ALL

England players received a cap for every appearance. They’re hand-made by Toye, Kenning & Spencer, of Bedworth, Warwicks.

THE GROUCHO CLUB…

When TV cameras turn to the Italian coaches’ bench throughout the game, don’t be confused if you think you’ve spotted Groucho Marx.

The Three Lions badge has been worn on England football shirts since 1872. In 1949, there was a minor change when a crown above the lions was removed, to differentiate it from the one used by England¿s cricket team

The Three Lions badge has been worn on England football shirts since 1872. In 1949, there was a minor change when a crown above the lions was removed, to differentiate it from the one used by England’s cricket team

For with his manicured moustache, floppy hair and thick-rimmed glasses, Italy’s assistant coach Alberico Evani is a lookalike for the great comedian – and has been teased on social media during the tournament.

The dapper 58-year-old former AC Milan player has also won a legion of admirers. 

Men’s style bible Mr Porter said that he looked much better than Gareth Southgate’s right-hand man Steve Holland, who it said, witheringly, looked like a ‘retired geography teacher’.

For with his manicured moustache, floppy hair and thick-rimmed glasses, Italy¿s assistant coach Alberico Evani (pictured) is a lookalike for the great comedian ¿ and has been teased on social media during the tournament

When TV cameras turn to the Italian coaches¿ bench throughout the game, don¿t be confused if you think you¿ve spotted Groucho Marx (pictured)

When TV cameras turn to the Italian coaches’ bench throughout the game, don’t be confused if you think you’ve spotted Groucho Marx (right). Pictured left: Italy’s assistant coach Alberico Evani

Don’t call us WAGS, say this team of brainboxes

With six of the England squad’s partners being university graduates, ‘Wag’ is no longer said disparagingly about these footballers’ wives and girlfriends.

‘Wags’ was first used in a headline in The Mail on Sunday during the 2006 World Cup in Germany when Victoria Beckham and others went shopping in Baden Baden.

However, it had been coined in 2002 by staff at a Dubai hotel when the England squad visited en route to that year’s World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

WAGADEMICS: From left: Jordan Pickford¿s wife Megan Davison, who has a degree in media studies, Harry Maguire¿s mum Zoe, his fiancee Fern Hawkins, who has a first-class degree in science and physiotherapy, and friend Amelia Johnson

WAGADEMICS: From left: Jordan Pickford’s wife Megan Davison, who has a degree in media studies, Harry Maguire’s mum Zoe, his fiancee Fern Hawkins, who has a first-class degree in science and physiotherapy, and friend Amelia Johnson 

The Sunday Telegraph reported their activities at the time: ‘The Wags’ biggest dilemma was whether to baste their backs or their legs in SPF25 sunscreen, to have a manicure or buy a bikini in the resort boutique, or to cruise the sights in one of a fleet of Jaguars laid on for their transport.’

Italy’s (long and scary) national anthem 

Whereas the Wembley version of God Save The Queen lasts just 44 seconds, Italy’s much more strident national anthem – with references to victory being ‘created by God’, the Roman general Scipio and the refrain ‘We are ready to die’ – is more than twice as long at one minute and 34 seconds. 

Fratelli d’Italia,

L’Italia s’è desta;

Dell’elmo di Scipio…

Chorus:

Stringiamci a coorte!

Siam pronti alla morte,

L’Italia chiamò.

Brothers of Italy,

Italy has awakened;

Scipio’s helmet…

Chorus:

Let us unite!

We are ready to die;

Italy called.

HOME AGAIN (Atomic Kitten) 

The stadium will sing Southgate You’re The One (Football’s Coming Home Again) – which began as a re-working by fans of the 2001 hit Whole Again by Atomic Kitten.

The stadium will sing Southgate You¿re The One (Football¿s Coming Home Again) ¿ which began as a re-working by fans of the 2001 hit Whole Again by Atomic Kitten

The stadium will sing Southgate You’re The One (Football’s Coming Home Again) – which began as a re-working by fans of the 2001 hit Whole Again by Atomic Kitten

If you see me walking down the street

Staring at the sky

And dragging my two feet

You just pass me by

It still makes me cry

But football’s coming home again

And if you see me sitting in the stands

I’m laughing and I’m joking

Doing what I can

I won’t put you down

’Cause I want you around

Football’s coming home again

Looking back on when we first met

I cannot escape and I cannot forget

Southgate, you’re the one – you still turn me on

Football’s coming home again

Time is laying heavy on my heart

Seems I’ve got too much of it

Since we’ve been apart

My friends make me smile

If only for a while

Football’s coming home again

Looking back on when we first met

I cannot escape and I cannot forget

Southgate, you’re the one – you still turn me on

Football’s coming home again

For now I have to wait

But this is our time

It is our fate

’Cause I just can’t go on

It’s already been too long

Football’s coming home again

Oh, oh, oh, oh

Looking back on when we first met

I cannot escape and I cannot forget

Southgate, you’re the one – you still turn me on

Football’s coming home again

Oh, oh, oh

Looking back on when we first met

I cannot escape and I cannot forget

Southgate, you’re the one – you still turn me on

Football’s coming home again

Southgate, you’re the one – you still turn me on

Football’s coming home again


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