Euro Final: Sheffield city centre fills with ecstatic England fans as countdown to kickoff begins
Sheffield city centre is alive this afternoon as fans and families make a day out of this evening’s fateful Euro Final.
It’s now only a matter of hours until England face Italy at Wembley in the team’s first tournament final since 1966.
Ahead of the long-awaited match, thousands of Sheffield residents have made a day of it and the city centre is buzzing with families and ecstatic fans.
Supporters are nervous of what’s to come tonight but are out celebrating the Lions’ efforts so far. Street after street is thrumming with crowds of fans singing football chants and hoping this is the day Gareth Southgate’s squad brings it home.
"It’s magical, it’s unreal,” one fan, Sean, told the Star outside City Hall. “I’ve never felt like this before. These last few weeks have been like nothing else.
"I don’t think we’ve got anything to be worried about. Everyone is afraid of Italy like it’s impossible but we’ve got a great team this year. This is the one.”
It comes on a weekend where Sheffield City Council turned down putting up a big screen for supporters to watch.
However, the city is still alive with activity between food stalls on The Moor, a fayre outside town hall and the dozens of pubs and restaurants out to give residents a memorable day.
“I think it’s the wait for the game that gets you,” said one fan, Blessing, outside The Old House on Devonshire Street.
His mate Ben said: “There have been some fantastic games haven’t there? It’s brought everyone together.
"Italy are a brilliant team, they’ve got their own merit – but they aren’t going to beat us.”
This year’s squad features three players who grew up on Sheffield’s streets – defender Harry Maguire from Mosborough, full back Kyle Walker from Sharrow and striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin from Hillsborough.
In last Wednesday’s match against Denmark, Walker and Maquire were in the starting line up but Calvert-Lewin was not on the bench.
The squad for this evening will be announced in the last hour before kick off.
"Kyle walker is my hero,” said another fan, Will, on Devonshire Green.