The Queen has paid tribute to the “spirit, commitment and pride” of the England football team in a good luck message ahead of the Euro 2020 final.
In a note to manager Gareth Southgate, the monarch sent her “good wishes” for Sunday’s match against Italy at Wembley Stadium.
Victory would mark the men’s football team’s first major tournament win since the 1966 World Cup success, also at Wembley.
In her written message to the team, the Queen recalled presenting the Jules Rimet trophy to Bobby Moore almost six decades ago.
She said: “Fifty-five years ago I was fortunate to present the World Cup to Bobby Moore and saw what it meant to the players, management and support staff to reach and win the final of a major international football tournament.
“I want to send my congratulations and that of my family to you all on reaching the final of the European Championships, and send my good wishes for tomorrow with the hope that history will record not only your success but also the spirit, commitment and pride with which you have conducted yourselves.”
Southgate said it was “fantastic” to get a letter from both the Queen and the Prime Minister and vowed he and the team are “here to win” for the final.
He told reporters at a press conference on Saturday evening: “We want to go and bring the trophy home.”
Support has swelled in recent days across an expectant nation – with the players even receiving a call from Hollywood star Tom Cruise.
The Mission Impossible and Top Gun actor, who is currently in London, called the players to wish them luck, captain Harry Kane revealed.
He told BBC Radio 5Live: “I think he was over here in the UK and he just dialled in and FaceTimed us just to wish us the best as a group, so that was nice of him.
“I’m not sure if he will be there at the final or not, but football is such a big part of the world and it’s nice to have that support from all different types of businesses, I guess.”
Kane said the team is determined to do the fans proud when they take to the pitch.
Addressing the press conference, he said: “To see the fans on the street like they have been and to see the reception that we’ve had as we’ve pulled into the hotel here and as we was leaving St George’s Park, it has just shown us how big an occasion it is.”
He added: “We know how much it means to the English fans all over the country so we’re proud to be representing them and hopefully we can do them proud again tomorrow night.”
Supporters lined the road and waved flags as they cheered the team bus off from the England training complex on Saturday.
A video was tweeted from the official England team account with the message: “Wow… what a send-off! Amazing scenes as the #ThreeLions depart St George’s Park for the final time.”
Following booing heard during opposition anthems at previous matches, Southgate urged the crowd at Wembley not to disrespect the Italian national anthem.
“It’s important that our fans always respect the opposition,” he said.
“We know that in actual fact when we play abroad and fans boo our anthem it probably inspires us even more, so I don’t think it will help the team.”
A good luck message from David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds – who are behind the anthemic Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home) – has been projected onto the white cliffs of Dover ahead of match.
Across London’s transport network there will be good luck messages on digital display, with well wishes visible at Tube stations, the DLR and London Overground as well as at bus stops and on road traffic alert signs.
Southgate has previously spoken of his pride in England’s history, and his squad’s role in driving “tolerance and inclusion” in modern England, as he rallied fans across the nation.
As the England manager readies himself for his team’s own place in history, he said he wanted his players to help do “positive things that we could help to change or influence in society”.
The team under Southgate has been hailed for its social conscience which has seen squad members saluted for taking the knee against racism, making a stand on donating to the NHS, and taking the fight for free school meals to Downing Street.
As the country readies itself for the chance to be crowned champions of Europe, it is predicted England fans will buy millions of pints and withdraw hundreds of million of pounds in cash – and some are even changing the names of their streets to show their backing for the Three Lions.
Over the weekend, an estimated £750 million is expected to be withdrawn from cash machines – an increase of 12% compared with the same period a year earlier, according to ATM network Link.
And the British Beer & Pub Association predicts England fans will buy 7.1 million pints on Sunday.
By the end of the competition, it is estimated that £815 million will have been spent in pubs and hospitality venues, with 32.6 million pints sold, a report by Vouchercodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) said.
Flag makers have been working “through the night” following the squad’s 2-1 semi-final victory over Denmark to keep up with the surging demand for England-themed paraphernalia.
Residents on Wales Street, in Oldham, Greater Manchester, renamed their road England Street, erecting a new red-and-white sign above the original.
In response to the anticipated celebrations or commiserations, employers and school heads are considering allowing staff and pupils, respectively, to enjoy a lie-in the morning after the game.
A number of schools have already said they will allow pupils to start later on Monday if they want to.
The final is due to kick off at 8pm and will finish by 10pm if it ends in normal time.
However, if it goes to extra time or a penalty shootout, the game would conclude closer to 11pm.
The final is expected to attract a record television audience, with Coral bookmakers saying it is odds-on at 4-5 to be the most-watched programme or broadcast ever in the UK.
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