UEFA Euro 2020: I'm swept up in the hopes and pride of our nation

With three hours to go until kick-off, we can all feel that the excitement - and nerves - are rising ahead of England's biggest match for decades.

Sunday, 11th July 2021, 5:13 pm
Updated Sunday, 11th July 2021, 5:14 pm
Gina Stainer, editor of the County Times
Gina Stainer, editor of the County Times

Whether you're a die-hard fan or a more casual supporter, it's hard not to get swept up in the atmosphere of hope and pride in our team.

This morning my daughter's football team wore England shirts for their Sunday practice, and many people passing through the playing field stopped to voice their delight at seeing the girls playing, and to share their plans for watching tonight's match.

It'll be a great night for the pubs and sports clubs screening the game, but many of us will be watching from our sofas, surrounded by our families, phones in hand to share our thoughts with friends as the match unfolds.

Even those absolutely adamant that they won't be tuning in are conceding that they can't escape being part of the experience - the nail-biting semi-final proved that the sound of heart-felt cheers will travel through all but the best-insulated walls and windows.

And it's an experience that my family will be embracing, with drinks and snacks all prepped ready for 8pm when it all begins.

Amid such challenging times, it feels great to have a focus for optimism and enthusiasm.

It's going to be a great night, and I wouldn't miss it for the world.

We'd love to share your celebrations tonight - send your pictures to us at [email protected] and we can all celebrate together.