AN OSWESTRY expat who writes for an Italian football publication in Italy has provided an insight to the atmosphere in the country ahead of the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.

Ben Hughes, a former Oswestry residents who lives in Sardinia and writes for Forza Italia Football, has been following the tournament from his home on the Italian island.

After overcoming Spain in the semi-finals earlier this week, Italy booked their spot in the final, and later found out they would be facing England who will be competing in their first international final since 1966.

While England fans are heading into the final believing that ‘football’s coming home’, Ben believes Italian football fans seem to be taking a more cautious approach.

“They’re not really like England fans,” he said. “They’re reluctant to claim that they’re going to win it.

“They seem to be listening to the noise coming out of England and have more of a ‘let’s just see what happens’ kind of attitude.

“It’s a very different approach. But what has been highlighted over here is that England have the home advantage and have the fans behind them.

“But at the same time there’s a large number of Italians living in London, so they’re hoping plenty of them will be able to get tickets.

“There’s no expecting their team to win, because the fans see it as quite an even game I think.”

Italy are heading into the last game of the tournament having avoided defeat in their last 33 games, and have given their country reason to celebrate in recent weeks.

Fans have been making the most of the summer weather on the Italian island to watch the games so far, and Ben expects to see more of the same on Sunday.

He said: “The atmosphere here has been great – it ties in with the usual summer atmosphere here as well.

“People are out and about all hours anyway in the summer, but if anything people have been starting their nights earlier because the games kick off at 9pm here.

“Everyone’s having a good time outside all night. There was a big gathering in one of the main squares here for the semi-final.

“Flags are flying and horns are beeping – it’s really good.”

The 32-year-old, who moved from Oswestry to Italy in 2016, was rooting for his home country of Wales before they were knocked out by Denmark.

He has been keeping up with the action from Italy and England’s matches so far, and believes it will make an interesting final.

“I do think it’s tough to call,” Ben said.

“One thing I would say is England have only conceded one goal and look solid defensively.

“But I do feel like the final is their biggest test so far. They played a Germany side which is a shadow of its former self, and got past Ukraine comfortably.

“And Denmark did well to get to the semi-finals but aren’t the best side in the tournament.

“Italy faced Spain in their semi-final, who are a nice side. So I feel that England’s first big test will come on Sunday.”

He added: “I’ve supported Wales throughout the tournament, but will be watching the game.

“There are a few English expats here who I’ve made friends with and they’re arranging to go out at the main square to watch the game.”