"It's hell!' Doncaster couple split down middle ahead of England-Italy final
A Doncaster couple will have divided loyalties this weekend - with one supporting England and the other Italy as the two countries meet in Sunday's Euro 2020 final.
England supporter Darren Burke and Italian partner Giulia Savini have described the two sides meeting in the crunch match as 'hell' - knowing that one of the pair will be left disappointed by the end of the big game.
Darren, 48, and Giulia, 32, admit they hadn't even considered the prospect of an England v Italy final when the tournament got under way back in June, with neither placing much faith in their respective countries to go all the way.
But now they say they are facing a 'nightmare scenario' after Gareth Southgate's England side set up a mouthwatering clash with Italy with a nail-biting 2-1 win over Denmark.
Said Darren, a reporter for the Doncaster Free Press: "Neither of us thought this would happen, but now it's here, it's hell!
"I'm over the moon that England have got to the final because it is the first in my lifetime and we've suffered so much disappointment in the past.
"I'd just rather it wasn't Italy we are playing because one of us is going to end up bitterly disappointed on Sunday night!"
Darren and Giulia have watched both England and Italy's matches together during the competition - but that might change come Sunday.
Said Giulia, a charity worker: "When England have been playing, I've wanted them to win and when Italy have been playing, Darren has been supporting them.
"But now the two sides are in the final it is a nightmare scenario. Of course we both want our countries to win but I don't know if we'll be able to watch it in the same room together."
Doncaster-born and bred Darren and Giulia, who originally hails from near Milan but who has lived in the UK for nine years, met in 2019 and have spent the last few years showing each other their respective homelands, with holidays in the Yorkshire Dales and along the East Coast as well as time in Umbria in Italy, where Giulia's family now live.
Added Darren: "We've loved Euro 2020 up to now, although there have been some nerve wracking moments for both countries and we've had some nervous moments watching games. The final is going to be tense as anything."
Said Giulia: "We both just want it to be a fair and exciting final. But Darren could be sleeping on the settee on Sunday night!"