All the years of hurt, England fans sing about it. All that sense of entitlement, rival fans are irritated by it. After decades of embarrassment and moaning at tournaments, the English have a chance to finally back up the bravado — just listen to the team anthem, “Football’s Coming Home” — with a trophy.
The nation that lays claim to being the inventor of the beautiful game, but is more fittingly one of the sport’s great underachievers, is back in a final — against Italy in Euro 2020.
The teams will meet at Wembley in London where England will be going for its first major title since winning the 1966 World Cup on their home field. The Italians are unbeaten in 33 games.
It’s been 55 agonizing years for England through 26 World Cups and European Championship tournaments, seven of which they didn’t even qualify for.
Here’s a look back at how they booked their place in the final:
SEMI-FINAL: England Beat Denmark
England overcame Denmark 2-1 in extra time in the sem-final to reach the European Championship final for the first time. Harry Kane’s goal, following up after his penalty had been saved, saw off battling Denmark on a night to remember in front of almost 60,000 roaring fans. England fell behind to Mikkel Damsgaard’s superb free-kick, which was equalised with an own goal from Simon Kjaer.
QUARTER-FINAL: England Beat Ukraine
Playing their first and only match away from home, England thrashed Ukraine as Ukraine 4-0 as Harry Kane scored twice and Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson netted one each. England kept a clean sheet for the fifth straight match.
ROUND OF 16: England Beat Germany
Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane fired England into the Euro 2020 quarter-finals as they sealed a 2-0 win against Germany that ended decades of hurt at the hands of their bitter rivals. Sterling struck with 15 minutes left before Kane clinched England’s first knockout stage victory over Germany since 1966.
England Beat Czech Republic: Raheem Sterling settled fans’ nerves with an early headed goal, which ultimately proved decisive as England found an attacking spark to beat the Czech Republic 1-0 at Wembley.
England Drew Scotland: England, the Auld Enemy, were held to a goalless draw by Scotland in a match that was characterised by long spells of mid-field tussles. A few changes in personnel from Gareth Southgate couldn’t help change the outcome of the game as the game finished as it started.
England Beat Croatia: Raheem Sterling found his tournament touch when his goal gave England a deserved 1-0 win over Croatia at Wembley to begin their EUROs campaign with a victory for the first time in nine attempts.