England ready to get ‘payback’ against Italy for Euro 2020 final, says Kyle Walker16 October 2023
Kyle Walker is hoping England can get "payback" against European champions Italy in Tuesday's Euro 2024 qualifier.
It will be Italy's first match against England at Wembley since beating them there in the final of Euro 2020.
A point would secure top spot in Group C and a place in next summer's finals for Gareth Southgate's side, while Italy's qualification hopes would remain in the balance.
Recalling the Euro 2020 final, Walker said: "We fell short that night."
He added: "Hopefully we can get a little bit of payback."
England opened the scoring in the final of Euro 2020 - a tournament played a year later than planned because of the Covid-19 pandemic - with a goal from Luke Shaw after two minutes, but Leonardo Bonucci equalised from a corner in the 67th minute, and they subsequently won on penalties.
"To do what we did in that special summer, to arrive so close. To concede a goal through a set-play when we've been so good it was devastating," Manchester City defender Walker said.
He drew parallels with Manchester City's Champions League triumph against Inter Milan in June, which came two years after they lost the final to Chelsea in Portugal.
Walker said: "At club level, I went to Porto and lost against Chelsea and then two years later we won the Treble. People and teams evolve from that, I think you learn from occasions where you've been in finals and lose in finals, and setbacks and then you go on to achieve something great."
England boss Southgate said his current team are a different side to the one that lost the Euro 2020 final.
"[We have] experience of winning big matches, consistent performances. We've been ranked in the top five in the world since 2018. I don't think there has been any other period over the past 30 or 40 years where that's been the case," Southgate said.
Luciano Spalletti's Italy are second in Group C and level on points with Ukraine, on whom they have a game in hand, and who they play in their final qualifier on 20 November.
Southgate said England will not be reckless in search of victory. "If it's the 87th minute and we're level, we don't need to lob the goalkeeper into the box," he said.
Walker added: "It's about putting a performance on and going out there and winning, but I won't be ashamed if it's 0-0 and we're in the Euros and I'm going to represent my country in the finals."
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