‘Christmas eve’ was trending on social media this morning ahead of England’s clash with Italy in the delayed Euro2020 final.
Gareth Southgate revealed he “couldn’t be prouder to be an Englishman” as he prepares to become just the second manager to lead the country in a major tournament final on Sunday evening.
It marks the Three Lions’ first appearance in a competition showpiece since they went all the way in the 1966 World Cup final – a sizeable 55-year gap.
Southgate will follow in the footsteps of Sir Alf Ramsey by taking charge for such an occasion and the honour has not been lost on the 50-year-old.
“It’s an honour,” said the England boss. “Because we’re a special country, we are historically an incredible country and I know I couldn’t be prouder to be an Englishman.
“I can’t be prouder to have the opportunity to lead my country so to bring happiness at this time where it’s been so difficult for this period is a very special feeling.”
The Euro 2020 final fills most of the Saturday front pages, with The Daily Mirror leading on Southgate’s rousing “rallying cry” for the nation.
The Daily Express also carries that theme, saying Southgate has highlighted “courage, pride (and) decency” as the historic values that will “drive the nation to victory” in the Euros.
And The Daily Telegraph says Southgate has summoned “the warrior spirit of generations past” in motivating his side for the final.
📰The front page of tomorrow's Daily Telegraph:— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) July 9, 2021
'Southgate summons the warrior spirit of generations past'#TomorrowsPapersToday
Sign up for the Front Page newsletter👇https://t.co/x8AV4Oomry pic.twitter.com/q09AJZ7mPx
North of the border
But not everyone was happy with England’s progress.
In Scotland, The National printed a picture of Roberto Mancini as William Wallace from Braveheart.
It ran with the headline: “Save us Roberto, you’re our final hope”.
Ouch…. pic.twitter.com/VBOAN3giyc— The London Economic (@LondonEconomic) July 10, 2021
On Twitter, Christmas eve was trending ahead of the big day.
Here’s what people had to say:
It's like Christmas eve 🏴🏴 pic.twitter.com/NIVZrfSBOU— Parsy …🏴 (@ParsPhil) July 10, 2021
Feels like Christmas Eve In ya bellies, it’s our time, our time🏴🇮🇹— ⚽️Disco-Stu🎩 (@Sonic_Sinclair) July 10, 2021