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EURO 2020

Gareth Southgate tells England to play for past legends who got so close to glory

Gareth Southgate’s lads will play on Wednesday for all the England legends who never made it to a major final.

Southgate has urged his squad to end 55 years of hurt by beating Denmark for a place in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.

And he promised supporters: “We’ve learned a lot from their near misses.”

Millions of anxious fans will watch at home, praying they have learnt enough.

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The England squad will walk out on to the Wembley turf to the roar of 60,000 fans, 25 million more watching on TV, willing them to make it to the first final since 1966.

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England manager Gareth Southgate during a training session at St George's Park, Burton upon Trent. Picture date: Wednesday June 30, 2021.
Gareth Southgate’s inspirational words

Southgate tonight told how past England players and managers, including Glenn Hoddle, had been in touch to wish the Three Lions luck.

He said his team felt “fortunate” to still be in the Euro 2020 tournament.

And he said: “We’ve spoken a lot about the legacy and the players who have gone before us – so many exceptional role models, exceptional players, incredible individual achievements.

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Southgate at St George's Park on Tuesday
Southgate at St George’s Park on Tuesday

“They had the same level of passion as these players have for playing for their country.

“Without a doubt, we are in a privileged position and it has been great to get so many messages from former players and former managers.

“You are part of a family and a line of people who have a very special experience.

“Without a doubt, the boys should recognise that – and I think they do.”

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As Southgate watched his squad, including top scorers Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane, train at St George’s Park today, PM Boris Johnson wished the team well against Denmark.

He said: “Gareth Southgate and the England squad have done the nation proud.

Team captain Harry Kane
Team captain Harry Kane proudly sports the badge

“We will all be wishing them the best of luck in getting to the final. Bring it home!”

No10 said pub opening hours would be extended by 15 minutes on Sunday to let people stay in case of extra time and penalties in the final, even if England don’t get through.

Prince William will be at Wembley, and at royal residence Clarence House today, the Coldstream Guards Band delighted onlookers by playing Three Lions.

Fans are confident England can go all the way.

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Ex-England youth star Mike Fillery, 60, said: “Come on, boys, we can do this. What a team.”

Pub owner Steve Gough, 40, from Derby, said: “This is our time. They are still such a young side.

“The future is very bright. And the World Cup is only 18 months away.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Harry Kane of England celebrates after scoring their side's second goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Round of 16 match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium on June 29, 2021 in London, England
Harry Kane celebrates after sending Germany packing

Wednesday’s match has kicked off a £315million blowout on booze, meals and snacks, with a further £160million expected to be spent in pubs, bars, fanzones and other hospitality venues.

Figures from the Centre for Retail Research and show another £20million will go on retro kit as replica shirts have sold out.

Anita Naik, of VoucherCodes, said: “The Euros have provided the economy with the boost it needed.”

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Goal scorer Raheem Sterling and Declan Rice in training on Tuesday
Goal scorer Raheem Sterling and Declan Rice in training on Tuesday

Asda expects sales of curries such as chicken tikka masala to soar by 38%, while vindaloo, onion bhajis and naan bread will be up 50% week-on-week at the Co-op.

Beer sales at Sainsbury’s are expected to increase by 50% with packs snapped up at the rate of 17 a second in the run-up to the game.

The British Beer and Pub Association expects fans to sink 6.8 million pints in local pubs during the match.

And those watching at home will be ordering takeaways at the rate of 2,500 a minute according to Just Eat.

Ladbrokes have taken bets on: the match being the most-watched event of the year, at odds of 1/4; the most-watched event ever, at 4/1; and ITV Hub crashing during the game, at 1/2.

Sales of a navy, polka-dot tie have rocketed by 350% month-on-month at T M Lewin due to Gareth Southgate’s faith in his “lucky” neckwear.

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