It finally comes home: Malta holds its breath as Italy face England in Euro final

A true treat for Maltese supporters tonight: a final between the titans that have commanded football supporters’ attention for generations, Italy and England. Who wants to go car-carding tonight?

The Euro 2020 tournament draws to a close Sunday evening with a final that is all thes more special for Maltese football fans.

The footballing divide between English and Italian team supporters is a long-standing feud that crops up every two years or so when the World Cup or the Euro arrives. This year’s final sees one set of fans claiming ultimate bragging rights: a cup final win.

But this rivalry is further intensified here in Malta, where followers of the big teams of the English and Italian leagues extend their support to their national teams in the international competitions in which no Maltese national team has ever been able to qualify for.


Former Genk, Verbania and Malta international Carmel Busuttil ‘il-Bużu’, says both teams are well-prepared and capable of lifting the trophy, but is cheering on the Italians due to his sympathies for Milan.

Footballing great Michael Mifsud says predictions are hard. “The Italians will defend for a long stretch of the game, and then attack you and score immediately. On the other hand, the English are formidable when they counter attack.”

Mifsud thinks the Italians have the edge, technically. “Collectively they are more compact, and slightly more experienced. The English are good young players, but I still think that experience will play its part.”

Both players credit England and Italy’s success in this year’s tournament to their collective mindset. “Their success is based more on collective teamwork inside and outside the pitch. They have top players but both coaches managed to make everyone fight for the same objective and work for each other. Even the players who are not playing regularly feel important and valued,” Busuttil said.

“I think both teams’ secret is that they are taking it game by game, and not letting expectations get the better of them,” Mifsud said.

Both footballers have also played their share of games before fired-up crowds, but they said that it will not be the deciding factor. “A professional player on the pitch is so concentrated in the game, that it will not affect them,” Mifsud said. “But obviously England are playing in Wembley, and the English support is what it is.”

But Busuttil thinks the English home crowd will help the Italians. “In my experience, I was always motivated when playing in full stadiums. It won’t make a big difference... except maybe for the referee.”