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Gareth Southgate and his players are set to receive knighthoods, should they beat Italy in Sunday's Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

The match is England's first appearance in a final since the legendary 1966 World Cup win on home soil.

Gareth Southgate's side previously made it to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, where they lost against Croatia.

The 2018 run was England's first semi-final appearance since Euro '96, and the first World Cup semi-final appearance since 1990.

Should England win, and Southgate receive an invitation to the palace, he will join an exclusive club alongside Alf Ramsey and Bobby Robson of England managers who have been knighted.

England manager Gareth Southgate has unified the country amidst a global health crisis around his vision of an inclusive, progressive and tolerant England. Victory against Italy on Sunday will likely be rewarded with a knighthood. (Photo by Shaun Botterill – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
(Image: UEFA via Getty Images)

Both England captain Harry Kane and Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling already have MBEs, but are expected to receive upgrades to CBEs, if England win.

England cricket and rugby captains, Eoin Morgan and Martin Johnson, both received CBEs for leading their teams to international success.

Historically, international sporting success has been rewarded with knighthoods and awards. In 2003, England Rugby World Cup coach Sir Clive Woodward was knighted, with the rest of the squad awarded CBEs, OBEs, or MBEs.

However, because of a surge in awards following the England cricket team's epic 2005 Ashes victory, and then the 2012 London Olympics, the government has since scaled back on handing out awards, with the England ODI cricket team handed just four awards after winning the World Cup in 2019.

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But given the lack of footballing success for England, the unique manner in which Southgate has united the country under his own vision of civic nationalism, and how both he and his players have advanced the case for equality, this team's contribution is set to be recognised.

Writing in the Player's Tribune, ahead of Euro 2020, Southgate said:

"This is a special group. Humble, proud and liberated in being their true selves.

"Our players are role models. And, beyond the confines of the pitch, we must recognise the impact they can have on society. We must give them the confidence to stand up for their teammates and the things that matter to them as people.

"I have never believed that we should just stick to football. "

Southgate went on to reaffirm his support for his players taking the knee and applaud their bravery.

Who in the England squad deserves a knighthood? Let us know your thoughts below.

Reports of knighthoods come after it was revealed that England's players intend to donate their Euro 2020 prize money – cumulatively around £9.6 million – to NHS charities, following on from the donations and commitments they made last year, when Jordan Henderson brought Premier League captains together to help support the NHS.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford also received an MBE for his work over the last year in ensuring school children on free school meals would be able to receive support over the summer holidays.

Given the exemplary nature of the squad, and the relative lack of scandal and controversy compared to previous England groups, it's hard to think of a more deserving group of players.

But if Gareth Southgate and his boys are to receive awards, they must clear the final hurdle, by beating Italy on Sunday 11 July at Wembley.

Fans in the UK will be able to watch the match on BBC 1 or ITV, and they will also be able to stream the match via both the BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub.

The match kicks off at 8PM, and an England victory may even be met with a Bank Holiday Monday, the following day, so celebrations can run through the night and into the early hours of the morning.

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