Why Australians are praying for an Italian win in Euro 2020 final

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Michael Clarke, pictured here speaking to the media.
Michael Clarke is desperate to see England lose the Euro 2020 final. Image: Getty

It's the open-top bus ride more than the actual loss that still grates former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke after all these years.

He could handle – only just – losing the Ashes to the Poms in 2005, but just can’t erase the vision of that trip England players took around London in a red double-decker, cheered on by massive crowds.

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It's that over-the-top, in-your-face celebrations that have Clarke and every non-England fan dreading Harry Kane lifting the Euro 2020 trophy on Monday morning (Australian time).

"Please don't tell me Italy can't beat England," Clarke pleaded.

"Those open bus tours…England carry on like they're the only team in history to have won a competition or series.

"We don't carry on like that. We don’t carry on like England. C'mon Italy. I'm wearing my (Italian) jersey."

The majority of Australians will be wearing Italian colours – figuratively speaking at least – as we figure this game means a lot to the Poms and so it means a lot to us that they lose.

It’s the Australian way – if you can’t be part of something then wish misery on your greatest enemy.

Australian football fans don't have a lot of time for the Italians and their diving ways, either, (hello Fabio Grosso, wherever you are), but an Azzurri victory will be a lot more palatable.

The local Italian community will celebrate with class and, dare say, a touch of sophistication.

Thrusting a ristretto in your face while screaming "It-er-lee" just isn't the Italian way.

Italian players, pictured here on the training paddock ahead of the Euro 2020 final.
Italian players hit the training paddock ahead of the Euro 2020 final. (Photo by Michael Regan - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Australians desperate for Italy to beat England

England's tortuous history of failure in world football since the one-off 1966 World Cup miracle has provided the rest of us with decades of enjoyment.

There's been the odd scare along the way when we thought the fun would stop and England might actually win at a game they invented, but there was always a botched penalty shoot-out, defensive blunder, Hand of God or untimely red card to save us.

It's been coming home for 55 years but apparently to the wrong address. This time feels a little different.

Everything has pretty much gone to the plan for the English in this tournament.

They are playing well, winning games, avoiding injury, suspension and off-field drama.

They're playing before passionate and supportive home crowds let loose after 18 months in Covid captivity.

They're already talking about a public holiday if England wins and knighthoods for Kane and manager Gareth Southgate.

It will be the biggest party England's ever seen. Italy, no pressure, but the rest of the world is relying on you to save us.

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