When Councillor Matt Brereton got an email on giving him an opportunity to book Euro 2020 tickets for Sunday's final between England and Italy, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

He was making plans with his friends in South Lakeland for where to watch the game when the opportunity came along.

He said: “I booked tickets before Covid-19 for the semi-final and final games through the Follow My Team FA initiative.

“They later wrote to me saying that those tickets wouldn’t be honoured because of uncertainty around stadium capacity.

“Then on Friday I got an email saying I could go online with a unique code.  I went on, booked the tickets and couldn’t quite believe it.”

He had to quickly rearrange plans with friends and family for the weekend, as his plans changed to go to London.

“I thought ‘What an incredible opportunity.  I’ll be happy to just be there, no matter the result.’”

He's not wrong.  Sunday was the first major tournament final England have been in since 1966.

While it wasn’t to be on the night - England lost on penalties 3-2 in an unpredictable game either side could’ve won - Cllr Brereton wasn’t perturbed.

“England had surpassed expectations to be there.  No-one expected us to perform as well as we did throughout the tournament.  We were right behind the goal where the penalties were taken.  The shootout was exciting.  It just wasn’t to be.

“The only way I could describe it is unreal.  I had to keep pinching myself.  As we got towards extra time and everyone’s mind started to drift towards penalties I think everyone in the stadium sort of conceded that it could go either way. 

“Actually, it was surprisingly calm during the penalties.  Both keepers pulled off some really good saves.  Rashford’s miss was unlucky, a few inches the right direction and it would have been a goal.”

There has been a lot of media coverage about off-the-field events throughout Sunday.  Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka - who all missed penalties during England's shoot-out defeat to Italy - were all targeted by online trolls, while several fans without tickets stormed an entry gate at Wembley to watch the match.

The Metropolitan Police made 49 arrests on Sunday for "a variety of offences" and confirmed investigations are ongoing into fans' behaviour.

Cllr Brereton was spared much of the ugly side of Sunday.

“It was all a bit chaotic trying to get into the stadium.  Fans were trying to get into the wrong gates or maybe some didn’t have the right tickets.  I was quite early though and once I was inside, it all calmed down a lot.  I didn’t really see any of that.”

The game from a first-person perspective

“England’s formation caught them [Italy] on the hoof.  Italy started on the back foot but changed formation and looked a bit more in the game.  We were possibly a little bit too reactive in the second half.  Fans were calling for Grealish, Rashford and Sancho but he seemed to leave it a bit late.  Italy looked to be playing for extra time and penalties.

“I don’t think Gareth could have done too much more.  He’s given a great account of himself at this tournament from relatively low expectations and to bring the players together as a band and get the most out of them is incredible.”

The friends he left in Cumbria

“My friends were just happy that one of us got tickets.  Someone else in a WhatsApp group I’m in got tickets but there were so many people, I didn’t even manage to find him!

“It was nice.  It was fun, it wasn’t the right result but we should all be proud of the team.  They’ve tried their best with a young group of players.  They’ve got a lot of potential and time on their side.”