What it's like being English and Italian ahead of the Euros 2020 final - YEP comment
When I set out supporting two teams for the Euros 2020, I didn’t imagine that they’d end up battling each other for the trophy in the final.
I am English with Italian heritage, so I have always supported both teams in major tournaments, and always had an English team and Italian team (Bradford City and Udinese, for my sins).
My nanna, the youngest of eight sisters, took on the daunting task of moving to England all by herself, and it was in Bradford that she met my granddad and had my wonderful dad in 1965 (he was seven-months-old when England picked up the 1966 World Cup Trophy).
In my 26 years on this earth, I have never seen England make it to the final of a major tournament.
I was there in Portugal for the Euros 2004 when we lost on penalties, the sound of the country’s celebrations jarring with our misery, and since then I’ve become accustomed to the all-encompassing hope and last-minute disappointment we usually get from the England squad.
If I am honest, I didn’t quite dare to dream that this year would be any different - and as the tournament progressed and people began asking me who’d I’d support, I batted them away with a ‘ah, we’re not there yet’, because I didn’t really think it would happen.
I will be supporting England in Sunday’s final because this is where I grew up and this is my home. I also think the team has been outstanding and deserve this history-making win.
However, my Italian heritage is such an important part of who I am and allows me to feel close to my nanna, who we lost a decade ago this year, but who I miss more and more with each passing day.
So, if the Azzurri do triumph, I’ll be gutted but not heartbroken, because I’ll be fortunate enough to be able to share in the happiness of my Italian cousins. They've had a tough year and deserve some joy.
The Italian team has also played exceptionally throughout the tournament, so no one can say they wouldn't have earned a win.
I’ve supported two teams so far, but my loyalties lie with Southgate’s lads now - but either way, there’s going to be plenty of banter on the family WhatsApp group this weekend.