Kyle Walker believes England have evolved from the team that lost the 2020 European Championship final to Italy, ahead of their clash with the Azzurri on Tuesday evening.
England can confirm their place at Euro 2024 with a draw or win against second-placed Italy this evening, as the two teams meet at Wembley in a rematch of the 2020 final, a tournament played a year later due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gareth Southgate’s side took an early lead in that final through Luke Shaw, but Leonardo Bonucci’s equaliser forced extra-time and penalties, with Italy emerging as European champions after a shootout.
Walker admits England ‘fell short’ in their first major tournament final since 1966, but believes teams can learn lessons from painful defeats.
“We fell short that night,” Walker said at a pre-match press conference.
“Hopefully we can get a little bit of payback.
“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.”
Walker compared England’s situation to that of club side Manchester City, who lost the 2021 Champions League final to Chelsea before going on to win the competition last season.
“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.”
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