Harry Kane has said he will be “extremely proud” to lead England on their mission to write football history in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.
The striker will become the first Englishman since Bobby Moore in 1966 to captain the team in a major final.
It was Kane’s goal in extra-time which sent them through against Denmark on a momentous night in front of 60,000-plus fans at an ecstatic Wembley.
Now, as the nation readies itself for what Kane said will be a special day, he admitted it will only count if they beat Italy to lift the trophy.
The final back at Wembley will inevitably draw comparisons with 1966, and England’s World Cup triumph against West Germany, which 55 years on remains their only major trophy.
Asked how it will feel to emulate Moore by leading the team out on Sunday night, Kane said: “It is going to be an amazing occasion, for sure.
“I am extremely proud to be leading the boys out in any game for England, let alone making history and getting to our first (European) final.
“As the game gets closer, I’m sure the excitement and the nerves will kick in.
“It is going to be a special day, but of course there is going to be a winner and a loser, so we’ve got to make sure we are on that winning side.
“We want it to be a special day for everyone after the 90 minutes, or after the 120 minutes.
“So, yeah, we are looking forward to it. I know all the boys are buzzing — what an occasion it will be.”
England have grown in confidence through the tournament, topping their group, then beating Germany in the last 16, and sweeping aside Ukraine 4-0 in the quarter-finals.
Against Denmark on Wednesday night, they recovered from the shock of Mikkel Damsgaard’s goal to take control of the game.
They levelled when Simon Kjaer turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Raheem Sterling, before a controversial penalty, won by Sterling in extra time, handed them the chance to win the game.
Kane’s weak initial effort was saved, but he tucked home the rebound.
He added: “Sometimes the ‘keeper goes the right way and, to be fair, the penalty wasn’t executed as well as I have done in the past. I was fortunate to see it bounce back, but that’s football.
“I’ve said all along, sometimes it just falls your way and thankfully it did tonight.”
On Wednesday night, the last big question that had remained against this England side was empathically addressed.
Having fallen behind for the first time in the tournament, they recovered superbly to go on to dominate against a tiring Danish side.
Kane feels it was a sign of the growing confidence and maturity in the squad.
He added: “We can talk as much as we want, and talk about how we have learned from 2018, but it is about doing it on the pitch and we definitely showed that.
“It was the first time we have been behind — credit to them, it was a great free-kick — but we stayed calm, there was no panic.
“We kept the ball, we kept getting into spaces and actually created a few more chances just after (their goal) — (Kasper) Schmeichel made a great save from Raheem, then obviously we managed to get the breakthrough.
“In the second half, we controlled it well, we had a few half chances, but these games are about character, about digging in and about belief, and we definitely have that as a squad, so this will just give us more going into Sunday now.”
Italy, who beat Spain on penalties in Tuesday night’s semi, are on a 33-game unbeaten run.
Kane added: “They are a great side, they have had a great tournament so far.
“Obviously defensively they have got a great record and they have some amazing attacking players as well, so we have to be fully prepared for what they bring.”
Kane is hoping for a repeat of Wednesday’s joyous scenes of celebration, when England players joined with the crowd in choruses of Sweet Caroline at the final whistle.
“As a footballer, as a professional, it’s always about the next one, and it is sometimes hard to take it all in — the crowd, everyone at home watching,” he added.
“Sometimes, nights like tonight, to be here with the fans, sing with the fans — we know we haven’t won nothing yet — but you have to enjoy that.
“You have to enjoy winning, which we have done in this tournament.
“But of course there is always that feeling in the back of your mind that there is one more to go.
“We don’t want to get too carried away … but we are excited for the final on our home ground.”