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The Latest: British PM sends best wishes to England team

July 10, 2021 GMT
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England's Phil Foden gestures during a training session at St George's Park, Burton upon Trent, England Thursday July 8, 2021. England are preparing to face Italy in the final of the Euro 2020 soccer championship on Sunday. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)
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England's Phil Foden gestures during a training session at St George's Park, Burton upon Trent, England Thursday July 8, 2021. England are preparing to face Italy in the final of the Euro 2020 soccer championship on Sunday. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

The Latest on soccer’s European Championship:

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sent his best wishes to the “incredible” England soccer team ahead of the European Championship final against Italy.

Johnson praised the team’s “amazing performance” at Euro 2020 in a letter addressed to England coach Gareth Southgate and the players.

He says England has “already made history” by making the final of a major international competition. Sunday’s final at Wembley Stadium is the first one England has contested since winning the 1966 World Cup.

Johnson was at Wembley on Wednesday when England beat Denmark 2-1 to make the final and he singled out the team’s unity.

He says “you have forged a band of brothers whose energy and tenacity and teamwork ... seem to shine in everything you do.”

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England forward Phil Foden could miss the European Championship final because of a foot injury.

England coach Gareth Southgate says the injury is “fairly minor” but that Foden is a doubt for Sunday’s game against Italy.

Foden missed England’s training session at its team base at St. George’s Park on Saturday.

The Manchester City player started England’s first two group games but has been among the substitutes in the knockout stage.

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Queen Elizabeth II has praised the “spirit, commitment and pride” of the England soccer team a day before the European Championship final against Italy.

The queen reminisced in a letter to England coach Gareth Southgate about the national team’s only previous outing in the final of a major competition.

The queen says that in 1966 she was “fortunate” to present the World Cup to then-England captain 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.”

The 95-year-old monarch says she wanted to send her and her family’s “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.”

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There’s a spare ticket available for the European Championship final.

England rugby player Marcus Smith was planning to go to Wembley Stadium for the match between England and Italy on Sunday. But he found out moments after coming off the field following the England rugby team’s 70-14 win over Canada at Twickenham that he had been called up as an injury replacement by the British and Irish Lions for their tour of South Africa.

Smith was interviewed by former England rugby player Ugo Monye on British broadcaster Channel 4 after the Canada game. Smith was supposed to be going to the Euro 2020 final with Monye.

Smith says “I know we were meant to go but I think I’ll be on a plane instead.”

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Injured Italy defender Leonardo Spinazzola has flown to London with the rest of his teammates for Sunday’s European Championship final against England.

Spinazzola was using crutches and had his left leg bandaged. He will watch Sunday’s match from the stands at Wembley Stadium.

The 28-year-old Spinazzola was arguably Italy’s best player until he injured his Achilles tendon against Belgium in the quarterfinals.

Spinazzola had surgery in Finland on Monday and is expected to be sidelined for about six months.

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The English Football Association has been fined $35,600 by UEFA for incidents in the crowd during the team’s win over Denmark in the European Championship semifinals at Wembley Stadium.

That included the use of a laser that was pointed at Kasper Schmeichel by a supporter as the Denmark goalkeeper prepared to face a penalty by Harry Kane in extra time. Schmeichel saved the spot kick but Kane converted the rebound for the clinching goal in a 2-1 win.

The FA was also punished for England supporters jeering Denmark’s national anthem and lighting fireworks at Wednesday’s game.

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