England captain Harry Kane expects Sunday’s Euro 2020 final against Italy to go down to the wire because the teams are so evenly matched.
England and Italy head into the Wembley showdown as the tournament’s two stand-out sides.
Four-time world champions Italy, who last won the Euro in 1968, made a flying start as they tore through their group before battling past Austria, Belgium and Spain to reach the final.
England initially found it harder to hit top gear as they scored just twice while winning their group, but Gareth Southgate’s men were dominant in knockout stage victories against Germany, Ukraine and Denmark.
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Kane believes either team would be fitting champions, but he is confident England have enough quality to win the European Championship for the first time.
“It’s a real 50-50 game I think. Of course Italy have a better history than us in terms of winning tournaments, but a lot of us in our team now have had experience at club level of playing in the biggest games, the biggest finals,” Kane told reporters on Friday.
“It’s a real tough game. From our point of view we have full belief in what we have been doing and how we have been setting up, and of course we believe we can win the game.
“But we also know it will be very tough. They’ve got some great players, some great experience.
“In any final, in any big game, you have to be on it on all aspects. We know that’s the case on Sunday and hopefully we can swing it in our favour.”
Asked if he had allowed himself to imagine lifting the trophy at Wembley in front of 60,000 England fans, Kane said: “For sure, as players you think of that moment, you dream of that moment.
“Obviously we’re all grounded enough to know we have a very tough game on our hands on Sunday. But there’s a good belief in this team.
“You play football to win, you dream of these moments as a kid, lifting trophies for your country and we have that opportunity now.
“A great prospect for us, we just have to enjoy the moment, take it all in, but of course perform, and we want to be on the winning side come Sunday.”
If England win their first major silverware since the 1966 World Cup, Kane can be mentioned in the same breath as Three Lions icon Bobby Moore, who lifted the trophy 55 years ago.
“Whenever your name is mentioned in the same company as players like that, it only gives you motivation, gives you confidence,” Kane said.
“Of course, it would be an incredible achievement. We’ve all waited so long as players, as public, as people to see us in a final.
“So these are the opportunities you have to grab with both hands. We have an amazing chance to win our second major trophy as a country. We’ve got to be excited for it.”