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Rio Ferdinand claimed he had “the best sleep in two years” with the former England star confident the Three Lions can beat Italy and win Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate’s side meet the Azzurri at Wembley hoping to end 55 years of hurt in major tournaments.

But in Italy, they face one of the most in-form international sides in world football, on an unbeaten run stretching back 33 matches – winning 27 of those games.

Roberto Mancini's team have scored 12 goals during their campaign, a tally only bettered by the side they vanquished in the semi-finals, Spain.

BBC host Gary Lineker predicts a close encounter, saying: “I sense a tense, possibly long evening lies ahead.”

Rio Ferdinand claimed he felt entirely comfortable ahead of the Euro 2020 final

But Ferdinand, who earned 107 caps during his playing days, believes the current crop of England stars are ready to write their name into national folklore.

Responding to Lineker, he said: “I can’t disagree with you more. I feel so comfortable. It’s what these guys have been able to make me feel like.

"It’s been the best sleep I’ve had in about two years. That’s how confident and comfortable I am but I think it’s testament to them.

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"I think these guys know this is an opportunity to make history. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for them. The most important thing is to win it but two, please enjoy it, please enjoy it.

“These boys have got the chance to change history for this country and this tournament."

Southgate has sprung a major selection surprise for the final, opting to revert the back-three which helped England to beat Germany in the last-16.

Gareth Southgate has opted to change formation for the final against Italy
(Image: Handout via REUTERS)

For the rest of the tournament, England have played in a 4-3-3 shape, but with Bukayo Saka dropping to the bench in place of Kieran Trippier, 3-4-3 now looks more likely.

Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker will make up the central defenders, while Trippier will play on the right flank with Luke Shaw on the left.

Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice will provide a security blanket to England's defence, with Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling either side of captain Harry Kane.

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Fellow pundit Alan Shearer wasn’t too shocked to see the bold change, with Southgate proving throughout their run to the final he isn’t scared to tinker with his lineup.

“Gareth has proved he isn’t afraid to make decisions and change the team around," Shearer explained.

“He’ll expect Trippier to get forward, just as Saka did as that’s one area we can cause them problems, behind Emerson [Palmeri].”

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How will England get on against Italy in the Euro 2020 final? Have your say here