Italy star Marco Verratti, on Thursday, opened up on the fast-approaching European Championship finale, singling England’s Raheem Sterling out for special praise.
Azzurri vs Three Lions
The two Euro 2020 semi-final clashes were of course played out over the last 48 hours.
First up was a showdown between Italy and Spain, with a pulsating, quality-filled affair having eventually been forced to a penalty shootout.
And, when all was said and done, it was the former who came out on top, after Alvaro Morata’s saved spot-kick was followed up by the coolest of strikes on the part of Jorginho:
🥶 Pressure? Not for Jorginho!
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) July 6, 2021
Wembley proved the venue for Wednesday’s 2nd final-4 fixture, too, when England played host to a game Denmark outfit.
Despite fatigue having evidently begun to take its toll, Kasper Hjulmand’s men managed to push the clash to extra-time, after Mikkel Damsgaard’s stunning opener was cancelled out by a Simon Kjaer own goal.
Following a sustained spell of pressure, though, England finally found a winner with 104 minutes on the clock, when Harry Kane slotted home at the 2nd time of asking, after seeing his initial spot-kick kept out by Kasper Schmeichel:
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) July 7, 2021
‘A great player’
In turn, Sunday’s Euro 2020 showpiece occasion will see an Italy outfit in the midst of an eye-watering unbeaten streak take on an England side who, save for Damsgaard’s moment of magic last night, have looked near impenetrable across the summer to date.
Safe to say, a thrilling 90 minutes lie in store.
And, as outlined above, one of those expected to play a key role at Wembley in three days’ time has today provided his take on the clash.
The player in question? Marco Verratti.
Speaking to the media on Thursday evening, Italian midfield maestro Verratti was drawn on a whole host of topics surrounding his country’s upcoming showdown with the Three Lions.
And perhaps most noteworthy was his take on Raheem Sterling, of course heavily targeted for what many deemed as simulation en route to clinching England’s crucial late penalty versus Denmark.
Verratti, though, was simply keen to heap praise on the Manchester City winger, explaining:
‘He’s fantastic, he proves this every year and is doing this with England. I think he’s a great player.’
From here, the midfielder also opened up on his admiration for Gareth Southgate’s side as a whole, assuring that England are fully deserving of their spot in the Euro 2020 final:
‘I think Italy v England is always a great match. Two great teams and nations. Both deserve to be in the final.’
‘They had a sensational tournament.’
Verratti, though, understandably concluded by adding:
‘We both performed well but there can only be one winner and I hope it’s us. We cannot wait to start in this magnificent stadium.’
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) July 8, 2021
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This article was edited by Ben Browning.