Joseph Roberto is from the Wirral, but he explains here why he’ll be staying loyal to his Neapolitan grandad at 8pm on Sunday.
After a month of incredible goals, unforgettable moments and an unusual number of own goals, the Euro 2020 final is finally here.
Out of the 24 countries which qualified, England and Italy are the two lucky teams to be in with a chance of getting their hands on the Henri Delaunay Trophy.
It will be England’s first major tournament final appearance since 1966, while Italy will be bidding to win their second European Championship.
With the chance of England breaking their 55-year-old duck, the country has reached fever pitch with The Lightning Seeds, David Baddiel and Frank Skinner’s Three Lions being the de facto national anthem.
But come 8pm on Sunday, excitement will be replaced by nerves as people across the country will collectively hold their breath and hope that England end those years of hurt.
Well, not everyone in England…
The Roberto household will also be full of eagerness and tension, but hoping for a victory for the Azzurri instead of the Three Lions.
I shouted it’s an England – Italy final
Seconds after the referee blew for full time in England’s semi-final triumph over Denmark, I let out a sigh and shouted downstairs: “It’s an England – Italy final.”
I let out another sigh moments later as I opened my phone to be greeted by a number of messages all saying the same thing: “See you on Sunday!”
It was the final I didn’t want.
I was born into a football-mad family, and for better or for worse, this obsession from both sides of the family was passed onto me. As a kid, I would play and watch it and spend hours upon hours reading about the sport.
Someone I would regularly read and watch with was with my grandad, who was born just outside Napoli. He owned a large amount of paraphernalia to do with football, with his most treasured being videos of Italian football.
I vividly remember him showing me videos of Italy winning the 1982 World Cup and Napoli games from the ‘80s when Diego Maradona played for them. Watching these videos started my now obsession with Italian football.
This fascination was strengthened even more when Italy won the 2006 World Cup after beating France on penalties in Germany.
Celebrating with my family on the Wirral as Fabio Cannavaro lifted the trophy hundreds of miles away in Berlin got me hooked and, unfortunately for England, there was no turning back for me.
Since then, it’s hard not to admit that I’ve had it pretty well off compared to my England supporting friends. A World Cup win, beating Germany on a regular basis and beating England in Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup. Lovely stuff.
But Sunday’s game is different.