Gareth Southgate knows the nation is “delighted” to have reached its first major final since 1966, but says he and his players will not be satisfied unless they leave Wembley with a trophy in their hands.
Although they face an Italy side revitalized under former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini after missing out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and are now Europe’s most in-form team, approaching the European Championship final on a 33-game unbeaten streak.
However, Italy have overcome Belgium, the tournament favorites, and Spain to reach their 10th major final and Southgate has warned that “we will have to be at our best to win the game”.
“It’s an exceptional team and I think, without doubt, the two best teams in the tournament have made the final, and now it’s whoever performs well on the day,” Southgate told Sky in Italy.
“Once you get to a final, you have to win, and that’s going to be very difficult, we know that, but that has to be our ambition, and that has to be our belief. I’ve been watching them closely for two years, because I know the job Roberto Mancini was doing.
“We’re excited about being able to prepare for a European Championship final. We are very conscious that for our country, this has been a fantastic journey but if you are in finals, you have to win, and we are playing against the team that have probably the best record in European football over the last three years, with some exceptionally experienced players and a fantastic coach.”