08:31 GMT25 July 2021
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    England and Italy face off at Wembley Stadium in the UEFA European Championship 2020 final tonight, with the Three Lions desperate to win their first major tournament since 1966, and Italy hoping to repeat their Euro triumph of 1968.

    Ahead of the Euro 2020 final this Sunday, pitting England against Italy, the front page of a Scottish newspaper has created a stir by seeming to declare support for Roberto Mancini’s team, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek fashion.

    The Saturday edition of The National, a Glasgow-based paper, depicted the Italy manager as Scottish late-13th century national hero William Wallace, portrayed in the 1995 epic Braveheart.

    ​The headline urged Mancini to secure victory so as to spare the Scots another 55 years of the English “banging on” about an international tournament triumph.

    While the humour of the photo-shopped image and the cheeky headline was not lost on many, the internet reaction was split.

    Some accused the paper of being bitter, and whipping up anti-English sentiment in Scotland, where plans to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence have been gaining traction. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been arguing in favour of a vote by the end of 2023.

    Comments on social media cited “embarrassment” over the Scottish newspaper's front page and denounced the spreading of “hate and division”.

    ​Others, however, saw it as “harmless football rivalry”.

    And of course, there were memes…

    ​The 2020 European Championship final on Sunday at London’s Wembley Stadium will have some 60,000 fans, due to capped capacity over the coronavirus pandemic, arriving to watch England in their maiden Euro final, set to kick off at 19:00 GMT.

    Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Fans gather for England v Denmark - Piccadilly Circus, London, Britain - July 7, 2021 England fans celebrate after the match
    © REUTERS / HENRY NICHOLLS
    Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Fans gather for England v Denmark - Piccadilly Circus, London, Britain - July 7, 2021 England fans celebrate after the match

    The Three Lions, led by manager Gareth Southgate, booked their first final since winning the World Cup in 1966 by beating Denmark on 7 July, while Italy, after beating Spain on penalties in the semifinal, will be looking to secure their first European Championship title since 1968.

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    Tags:
    Gareth Southgate, Nicola Sturgeon, Roberto Mancini, Italy, Scotland, England
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