England meet Italy tonight at Wembley in the final of the European Championship
England meet Italy tonight at Wembley in the final of the European Championship as the Three Lions aim to finally win a major tournament, 55 years after their first in 1966.
Speaking on the BBC before kick-off, Shearer, who scored 30 goals for England and scored in the Euro 96 semi-final defeat by Germany in which current manager Gareth Southgate famously missed a penalty, referred to the missed chances in the intervening years.
“There are 330 caps here between us [presenter Gary Lineker, plus Shearer and his fellow pundits Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard], we’ve got 110 goals, you [Lineker] had a Golden Boot, the best defender of his generation [Ferdinand], the best midfielder of his generation [Frank Lampard], and we never won a thing.
“We came close, all ifs buts and whys, but this England team tonight have the chance to be the England team that won a major tournament. It’s life changing, career changing, for these guys tonight. I’m so excited.”
The country has unified behind the team and Shearer believes they have changed perceptions of football.
“England have actually restored a lot of people’s faith in football because of the shenanigans that had gone on with the Premier League [Super League scandal], and a lot of people had fallen out of love with football. Over the past month these guys and the manager have made the people think again and feel how special football can be.”