MARCO VERRATTI says Italy will not be intimidated by the atmosphere in the red hot cauldron of Wembley at Sunday’s Euro 2020 final against England.
Wednesday’s semi-final win over Denmark saw Three Lions fans scream down the rafters supporting Gareth Southgate’s side – and the volume is likely to go up a notch again this weekend.
With only 7,500 Italian fans allowed, Roberto Mancini’s men will be stepping into hostile territory but Verratti insists it doesn’t worry them a bit.
The Paris Saint-Germain ace said: “The supporters will factor somehow, but we're all professional players.
“We know what it is to play in fan packed stadiums and this will drive us as well.
“We will be happy about it too – it's great to play in a packed stadium.
“We face a very tough team, they will be playing at home, they know the stadium well, but it is a dream for us to win the European Championship.
“Now it's all down to the final, which I think will be an epic and history-making either way.
“Moments such as this one might not come up again – we're all 100 per cent that these matches are there to be grabbed. We must win.
“We weren't given much credit abroad, but I think Italy is climbing back to the spot it belongs.”
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England’s penalty winner against Denmark has come in for fierce criticism across Europe amid claims Raheem Sterling dived to get the decision.
And Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport even claimed the spot-kick was all down to a Uefa preference for England to succeed in reward for them leading the fight against the European Super League and defying Covid-19 fears to allow 65,000 into Wembley for the last three matches.
It has fed a fear among some in Italy that Mancini’s men will be up against a biased ref on Sunday – something Verratti dismissed out of hand.
The 28-year-old added: “As far as the referee is concerned, I think the referee will be up to the task
“There'll be no problems, they are professional figures, they are officials in Champions League matches so this is by no means a source of concern.
“Perhaps it was a bit of a generous penalty, but it's part of the picture in football.”
If England are to triumph and win the Euros for the first time, they will have to unlock an Italy defence marshalled by the experience and mastery of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci – who was pictured looking stony-faced this morning during a gym workout.
The pair have been superb throughout the tournament and Verratti says they provide the rock on which the attacking Italian side base their open approach.
He said: “Giorgio and Leonardo help us out a lot, even in midfield.
"They have a great experience and they just get stronger, so we are very lucky to have them on our side.
“They make us feel safe, they give us that extra confidence, which is very important for us midfielders.
“We know we can go forward because we know that they are back there.”
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