UK's Queen Elizabeth wishes England team good luck ahead of Euro soccer final


FILE PHOTO: Britain's Queen Elizabeth reacts as she visits Manchester Cathedral, in Manchester, Britain, July 8, 2021. Christopher Furlong/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain's Queen Elizabeth has sent a message to the England soccer manager to wish the team luck ahead of its most anticipated game since the 1966 World Cup final.

England are due to play Italy on Sunday in the Euro 2020 final at London's Wembley Stadium, prompting excitement across the country, with beer sales soaring and special permission for children to start school late on Monday.

Elizabeth wrote a letter to manager Gareth Southgate in which she recalled her memory of presenting the World Cup to England in 1966 and seeing the joy that brought.

"I want to... send my 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," she wrote.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also wished the team good luck in a letter on Saturday. He congratulated them on what they have achieved so far and praised their teamwork and "sheer flair".

"You have lifted the spirits of the whole country, and tomorrow we know you can lift that trophy too," Johnson wrote.

"We are not just hoping or praying. We believe in you, Gareth, and your incredible squad. On behalf of the entire nation, good luck, have a great game - and bring it home!"

If England wins the tournament, there is speculation that Johnson could announce a national holiday to celebrate. A petition asking for a day off if the team win has gained more than 350,000 signatures.

While England have only once previously reached the final of a major tournament, this will be Italy's 10th such final. In England's favour, the 60,000-strong crowd will be overwhelmingly supporting the home nation.

Of the other nations in the United Kingdom, Scotland and Wales were knocked out in earlier stages of the tournament while Northern Ireland did not qualify.

(Reporting by Sarah YoungEditing by Toby Chopra and Angus MacSwan)

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