Five epic tussles between England and Italy

Cole and Balotelli England Italy

With Tuesday's friendly in Turin set to re-ignite an age-old international rivalry, we look back on some of the best-remembered encounters.

England and Italy have met 25 times in all competitions, with England winning eight, losing eleven and the two international heavyweights drawing just six. The most significant encounters have been in either tournament qualifiers or in the major finals themselves, where England, sadly, have rarely been victors.

1. 17th November 1976. Italy 2 England 0.

In qualification for the 1978 World Cup, the two teams met in Rome with Italy winning 2-0 through goals from Giancarlo Antognoni and Roberto Bettega. The win heaped further pressure on under-fire England manager Don Revie who had fielded a defensive line-up against the Italians. By the time the two met again at Wembley 12 months later, Revie had resigned and Ron Greenwood's men won 2-0, but lost out on qualification on goal difference. 

2. 15th June 1980. Italy 1 England 0.


1980 (June 15) Italy 1-England 0 (European... by sp1873

England had a pretty miserable time in the 1980 European Championships in Italy, with each of their three games marred by crowd violence. This was the second group game and was settled by a late Marco Tardelli goal as England limped to a third-placed finish in the group and a disappointing elimination.

3. 11th October 1997 Italy 0 England 0.

Italy had beaten England 1-0 at Wembley through a Gianfranco Zola goal in the earlier group game in qualifying for the France '98 World Cup tournament. But England had recovered to set up a Rome showdown in which the winners would qualify and consign the losers to a play-off, however, for England a point would be enough to automatically qualify. In the event, a magnificent rearguard action saw England close out a 0-0 draw, with a midfield of a bloodied Paul Ince, David Batty and Paul Gascoigne standing firm and Ian Wright hitting the post late on as England held out.

4. 24th June 2012 Italy 0 England 0 A.E.T.  (Italy won 4-2 on penalties)

England had won their group to set up a quarter-final tie against Italy in Kiev in the European Championship finals of 2012. Italy dominated the contest but couldn't find the breakthrough, and the tie eventually went to penalties with England's Ashley Young and Ashley Cole missing the vital spot kicks as the Azzurri triumphed again.

5.  14th June 2014 Italy 2 England 1.

The Brazil World Cup of 2014 was a brief affair for England and this opening game in Manaus was typical of how it went for Roy Hodgson's men. Claudio Marchisio had given Italy a first half lead and although Dean Sturridge equalised two minutes later, a header from Mario Balotelli shortly after half-time was sufficient to give Italy the points despite England having chances to square the contest. 

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