Come in late, enjoy the game, English schools tell pupils before soccer final

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LONDON (Reuters) - Soccer-loving children at some English schools will be allowed to come in late on Monday morning so they can stay up to watch England take on Italy in the final of the Euro 2020 tournament on Sunday evening.

The English men's team will contest its first major final since winning the World Cup in 1966, a once-in-a-lifetime experience not just for school children, but for many of their parents too.

However, the 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) kickoff presents a dilemma for parents: try to get their excited children to bed before the game, or let them watch and risk a tired Monday?

In notices seen by Reuters to parents at two schools, headteachers tried to make that choice a little easier, offering an optional 10:30 a.m. start.

"We would rather have children rested and in school ready to learn rather than absent all day or grumpy!" said a letter to parents from Birklands Primary School in Mansfield, central England.

"Let them watch, talk about team work, motivation, resilience and possibly disappointment. This is a learning opportunity."

The good news for pupils may not end there either.

Following Wednesday's semi-final win over Denmark, a petition demanding a national holiday if England win has gained more than 300,000 signatures.

Asked about the possibility of a celebratory day off, travel minister Grant Shapps did not rule out the idea, but was reluctant to commit: "I don't want to jinx this!"

(Reporting by William James; Editing by William Schomberg)

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