‘After 800 years? Níl’: Will you be cheering for England tonight?

We asked our readers whether they would be getting behind Gareth Southgate’s boys

English fans gather in Leicester Square, London ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 final. Photograph: Getty Images

English fans gather in Leicester Square, London ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 final. Photograph: Getty Images

 

England have reached the final of the European Championships for the first time and their first major tournament decider since winning the World Cup in 1966. But how much love will be making its way across the Irish Sea when Gareth Southgate’s side takes on Italy at Wembley on Sunday evening?

We asked our readers if they wouls be cheering for England when they take on Italy in tonight’s final. Here are some of the responses, some of which have been edited for length.

Italy. I admire the England team but a large proportion of their supporters are racist/xenophobic thugs, egged on by the tabloid press and the idiots at No. 10. BERNARD CULLIGAN Sligo

We’ll be cheering for England having lived there for a few years. We’ve lots of wonderful memories and friends and our youngest was born there. My sister, her husband and their 3 children also live and work there. There have been plenty of Irish looked after in England over the years. Come on England! RUTH CONNOLLY Ireland

England ... they are our neighbours and it’s time we let the past not affect the present… if we speak more about peace and getting on and what we have in common might be a chance to reduce more violence again in the north plus I like the team AISLING WALL Waterford City

Oh Italy to win. Would love England to win but we would never hear the end of it. They have beaten 1966 to a point where the players of ‘66 are fed up hearing about it. The English players deserve to win it but the world population cannot do another 40 or fifty years hearing about Euro 2020. BRIAN SWEENEY Dublin

Disgusted with the behaviour of England fans, they don’t deserve to be in the competition. If Italy do not beat then it will be a very bad day for sport. NAOMI SMYTH Bray

Italy. They deserve it after the 18.month they have endured. And England’s fans’ poor behaviour makes them very hard to side with...MAEVE COLLINS

Italy, I don’t like the way Grealish and Rice play for them after playing underage for Ireland. I also don’t like Grealish’s hair. Apart from that I would probably support them as I’m familiar with the players GARETH MURPHY

I’m hoping Italy win simply because they’ve been the better, more entertaining team throughout the tournament. Fans who want England to lose because of history probably don’t really love football and need to move on. Nothing wrong with a bit of rivalry but at its very heart, sport should be about unity. JACK GLEESON Bulgaria

I am Irish but living in London for 25+ years. I will be cheering for England and our house is decorated for the occasion. When Ireland played in the World Cup in Japan, I thought the roof of the building I worked in was going to come off when they scored! Everyone in England was supporting them. This current English team is very diverse, encompassing people from many backgrounds some of them growing up in poverty. It is great to see people like Marcus Rashford and others using their voice to help others. This has been a terrible year and a half for everyone, but finally it is great to have something to celebrate and be invested in. NINA WILLIAMS London.

Never never could I support England I will be supporting Italy like most ex pats here in The Hague MIA DE CAUPENNE KEOGH¨ The Hague

It’s the triumphalism.... so I have to cheer for the other tricolour team! PAUL KERNAN Letterkenny

I’m an Irish Italian American. Need I say anymore! TOMMY PARLANTE Ballymote-Tubbercurry

I moved to Ireland from Leeds in 2005. I have always ranked ‘Englishness’ lower in my internal list of self-descriptors, below Yorkshire, British and European. Well, used to with the European bit when it was legally valid. Thanks, Boris. My time in Ireland has covered several pits of mediocrity from the England team: the off-field focus on partners, failing to qualify for Euro 2008, and ineptly competing in those that they did reach. This new England team, with Southgate the unheralded emergency appointment after the pint of wine fiasco, and players who are providing a far greater opposition to the government that actual politicians, has made me feel more of a connection, as I look at the mess Britain has jumped into without a thought for consequences. Thanks again, Boris. In the end though, I’m a Leeds fan, and Kalvin Phillips’ performances have brought a smile to my face. Showing the naysayers exactly why he is worthy of his place has been my highlight of the tournament so far. I won’t be bothered if they don’t win - reaching the final has been more than enough. DARREN LEATHLEY

I am an Irish woman who loves football. I am married to an Englishman and we have two daughters together. We will be cheering for England with all our energy. We all support Ireland when they play and when Ireland meet England in matches, I cheer Ireland and my husband cheers for England. Our daughters are in a lucky position that it is always a victory for them when Ireland and England play as they support both teams equally. The thought that Irish spectators would cheer anyone but England when so many of them spend their time, money and energy supporting English premiership teams is unreasonable. The Covid pandemic has given us all time to reflect on what matters and the Euros have provided a space to celebrate talented athletes. It has also given our family an opportunity to share the excitement of England’s success with our family in England who we miss and haven’t seen since the start of the pandemic. We are hoping for a great game of football. DELIA DONOHOE Dublin

I’m supporting England for one reason. Harry Kane. My favourite premiership player captain of Tottenham the club I support and because of his close links to Ireland. I see his dog is called Séamus . SHAY HUSSEY Dublin

I'll be cheering for Italy, not only because I’m Italian, but also because Italy has had the worst times under the Covid pandemic, especially at the beginning of 2020, and I felt so distant to my home... For 2 years. C’mon Italy!! You’re staying, you can make it!! Simona Placano Ireland

Brit living in Ireland for 24 years. I feel very much part of Ireland until events like this happen and I hear people say they will cheer for anyone but England. I understand the history but I wish we could get past it. Ill be cheering for England anyway, I think they have played so well and they thoroughly deserve it. Elizabeth Humphrys Dublin

After 800 years, níl PAUL RIORDAN France

I will reluctantly be supporting England for the win. I’m an English person living in Ireland for 17 years, and moved in part to what was even then a toxic nationalism based on ignorance and xenophobia in my home country. I’ve seen this get worse over the years, particularly the last few Brexit years. I’ve been one of the “traitors” that would have been the “anyone but England” until this week. The humility of the team with Southgate at the helm has made me want the team to succeed for themselves, if not necessarily the nation. A confusing few weeks for me! Still wouldn’t move back… MARTIN EDWARDS

I will be supporting Italy today. As a team that have entertained throughout the competition. My gut tells me England but my Heart says Italy. DENIS KEILY Dublin

They have the most horrible supporters in the world. I hope the Italians hammer them. CLEMENT HERRON Maynooth

Cheering for Italy, my mother is Italian but has been living in Ireland for over 50 years. Have a strong sense of my Italian heritage and just love it when the Italian footballers are doing what they do best! ANITA DOYLE Dublin

Moved to England in 1985 returned in 2003. Loved every minute of it. Great people, good career, great experiences. I’ve always supported England even back to the 70s. Probably watching them as club players on TV all those years influenced that but also I felt on the side of the players who were lambasted by their own press or patronised by thd broadsheets. The average English footballer was always considered thick... Remember the vitriol poured on Beckham. He did shut them all up in the end. And Southgates open letter was a stinger for the UK politicians and Brexiteers..... Brilliant timing. I feel very uncomfortable with nationalist anti English sentiment. It’s lazy. I’ll be screaming at the telly and supporting England yes. Mind you the British press can go all syrupy at the prospect of an English win. NICK ALLEN Kinnegad

Italy, because England only got through to the final through luck, not skill. It reminds me of the Australian speed skater in the Olympics who was in last place but won gold because everyone else in the race fell over. LENNY A Brussels

My brother lives in England and my Mum’s family are from England. So I’m cheering for England! OISIN CONROY Dublin

I’m Welsh, and that normally means “anyone but England”. But when the team’s own fans are booing them “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” applies. So good luck England. ANDREW OWEN Ratoath

I have a sound English son-in-law, a gorgeous English daughter-in-law and we hope to attend the wedding of my wife’s beautiful niece – to an Englishman – in September. I was 100 per cent behind England until Sterling’s “fall” for a penalty against Denmark. Whatever about the ref, who was easily fooled and Sterling, who, as a professional footballer is expected to con the ref if he can, what was unforgivable was that the VAR team, who could see Sterling’s “fall” upwards, downwards, forwards and backwards but still allowed themselves to be conned. Fortunately, I also have an excellent son-in-law of Italian extraction so I can still keep it in be family by shouting “Forza Italia” ANTHONY O’LEARY Dublin

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