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Verratti vs Kuipers: Why referee selection for Euro 2020 final could spell bad news for Italy

Verratti vs Kuipers: Why referee selection for Euro 2020 final could spell bad news for Italy

 

The team of officials for this weekend’s European Championship final has been unveiled, with the choice of referee having no doubt turned more than a few heads in the Italy camp.

Azzurri vs Three Lions showdown

A wonderful summer of football is of course set to come to a head at Wembley on Sunday.

After dispatching of Spain and Denmark in their respective Last-4 outings, Italy and England will go head to head for the title of Europe’s finest international outfit.

The former are of course in the midst of a frankly staggering stretch of form, having not fallen to defeat in any of their last 33 fixtures across all competitions.

Roberto Mancini’s men also won each and every one of their 10 qualifying fixtures, along with six straight Euro 2020 outings to date.

Upcoming opponents England, though, will also head into the action in three days’ time brimming with confidence.

The Three Lions have too enjoyed a fine summer, with the defensive strength boasted by Gareth Southgate’s side aptly highlighted by the fact that Mikkel Damsgaard’s stunning free-kick last night marked the first occasion on which Jordan Pickford has been beaten at Euro 2020.

Verratti vs Kuipers

As such, a high octane, quality filled affair is widely predicted on Sunday.

As outlined above, though, with less than 72 hours to go before the action gets underway at Wembley, on Thursday, one of Italy’s stars has no doubt been made to sweat.

This comes after the team of officials set to take charge of the showpiece occasion was unveiled.

The man chosen to oversee the clash? Bjorn Kuipers.

Why would such an assignment cause a member of Roberto Mancini’s squad such concern, you may ask.

Well, back in May, Kuipers took charge of a Champions League semi-final 2nd-leg showdown between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. Marco Verratti took to the pitch for the latter, and, amid flaring tempers at the Etihad, was lucky not to have joined teammate Angel Di Maria in being sent for an early bath.

PSG, in the end, were of course sent packing from the competition, an outcome which inevitably didn’t go down too well with the club’s stars.

Speaking in the aftermath of the clash, an incensed Verratti revealed to the media that, so badly did his on-pitch relationship with Kuipers deteriorate that, on a pair of separate occasions, the official uttered ‘f**k you’ in his direction.

Kuipers, in turn, was no doubt less than happy with such information being made public, setting the stage for an icy reunion between the pair in London this weekend…

 

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