Classic encounters between England and Italy

By Nick Purewal, PA
PA Media: Sport

England’s friendly clash with Italy was due to be held at Wembley on March 27 but has been cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Here, PA looks back at some classic encounters between the Three Lions and the Azzurri.

Italy 0 England 4, Stadio Comunale, Turin, May 16, 1948

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Tom Finney scored a brace in a masterful performances as England thrashed their hosts for a stylish and destructive victory. Still England’s record win over Italy, this was a potent performance and result – rounded off by goals for Stan Mortensen and Tommy Lawton.

England 0 Italy 1, Wembley, November 14, 1973

Bobby Moore, left, before kick-off in his final match for England (PA)
Bobby Moore, left, before kick-off in his final match for England (PA)

Sir Bobby Moore was unable to bring the curtain down on his glittering England career in a manner befitting its greatest exploits, as the hosts endured a galling defeat. Less than a month after Poland had dashed England’s chances of World Cup qualification, here was the World Cup-winning captain bowing out with a frustrating loss.

Italy 0 England 0, Stadio Olimpico, Rome, October 11, 1997

Paul Ince, left, hugs Ian Wright, right, after England’s crucial goalless draw in Turin (Adam Butler/PA)
Paul Ince, left, hugs Ian Wright, right, after England’s crucial goalless draw in Turin (Adam Butler/PA)

Captain Paul Ince invoked memories of Terry Butcher’s famed 1989 head wound by ending this World Cup qualifier in similarly blood-soaked fashion. The goalless draw allowed Glenn Hoddle’s England to squeeze ahead of Italy for automatic qualification for the 1998 World Cup in France. Ince’s bandaged head and blood-stained shirt proved eerily reminiscent of Butcher’s horrid head injury, that he had played on through when England drew 0-0 with Sweden in Stockholm. This was also to become Paul Gascoigne’s last competitive match for England, with the midfield star later overlooked for a World Cup berth.

England 0 Italy 0 (2-4 penalties), Kiev, June 24, 2012

Andrea Pirlo, pictured, shone as Italy dumped England out of Euro 2012 (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Andrea Pirlo, pictured, shone as Italy dumped England out of Euro 2012 (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Another in the almost-endless stream of English penalty shoot-out defeats, this time Roy Hodgson’s side were floored by Andrea Pirlo’s impudent Panenka spot-kick. A regimented England battled manfully to preserve a stalemate at the end of extra time – but after that it was the same old penalty story.

England 1 Italy 2, Manaus, Brazil, June 14, 2014

Mario Balotelli scored Italy’s winner at the 2014 World Cup (Nick Potts/PA)
Mario Balotelli scored Italy’s winner at the 2014 World Cup (Nick Potts/PA)

Mario Balotelli bagged the winner in this World Cup match and one week later England exited a World Cup at the group stages for the first time since 1958. Daniel Sturridge had cancelled out Claudio Marchisio’s opener before Balotelli intervened. Manager Roy Hodgson lamented a “very, very bitter pill” for England to swallow amid an insipid exit.

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