Marco Verratti has praised England as a great team although the Italian believes the Three Lions’ penalty against Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-final was ‘generous’.
The penalty debate has raged on since Raheem Sterling won a spot-kick in extra-time and Harry Kane scored from the resulting rebound.
The goal gave England a lead against Denmark they managed to keep until the full-time whistle and Verratti was asked his opinion on the penalty decision.
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He replied: "Perhaps it was a bit of a generous penalty, but it is part of the picture in football. I think it was a bit of a generous penalty."
Italy beat Spain to reach the semi-final in what was a gruelling game that swung back and forth.
England will be underdogs despite being at home, but Verratti insisted Italy were not fearful of the Wembley crowd.
"I think England did a great job. They got to the final for the first time and this says a lot,” he said.
They conceded only one goal, so it is a very solid team, great players, very balanced, and I think they did deserve to get to the final.
“Now it's all down to the final, which I think will be an epic final, and history-making either way.
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“England is a very physical team, and they have players who are very skilled as well. We will face a very, very tough team, they will be playing at home, they know the stadium well.
“But it is a dream for us to win this European Championship.
Surely the supporters will factor in somehow, but we're all professional players, we know what it is to play in fan-packed stadiums, and somehow this will drive us as well.
“We will be happy about it too - it's great to play in a packed stadium.
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“I think Italy-England is always a huge match. There will be only one winner and I hope it will be us. We will give it our very best shot.”
“These matches are there to be grabbed – we must win,” Verratti continued. “They want to win clearly because they are playing at home and have never won a European Championship so the details will decide things.
“We must focus on our playing style and put aside everything else.
“These matches can put you under a lot of pressure and I think that the team that plays with a mind that is free will gain the upper hand.”
Midfield is expected to be a key battle in the final with Italy blessed with a talented lynchpin of Chelsea’s Jorginho and Inter’s Nicolo Barella.
England’s duo of Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips will have their work cut out for them and Verratti conceded Italy’s midfield could dominate.
“I think the two matches will be very different,” he said. “Yes, midfield is a key area and we can perhaps make the difference there.
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“We must keep the pace of the game high but we know that they play with two central midfielders who make the team very balanced.
“That allows them to play with almost four forwards, so they are very strong.”
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