London: Competing Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday evening, England are looking to end Italy’s 33-game unbeaten run and end their 55-year wait for a major international football title.
The UEFA Euro 2020 finalists have met on the last 27 occasions. We look back at their most important head-to-heads.
1. Italy 2-1 England, 2014 World Cup group stage
The last competitive meeting between these sides was their opening game at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the tropical climate of Manaus, Brazil, and it was Roy Hodgson’s men left feeling the heat. Claudio Marchisio’s fine strike gave Cesare Prandelli’s charges the lead, but the Three Lions leveled quickly as Raheem Sterling and Wayne Rooney combined to set up Daniel Sturridge. The winner came via the head of Mario Balotelli four minutes into the second half, though it proved the only victory for either side at the finals as both were eliminated in the group stage. Curiously, Björn Kuipers was the referee that day – just as he will be in Sunday’s final.
2. Italy 2-1 England, 1990 World Cup third-place play-off
Both sides had suffered heart-breaking defeats on penalties in the semi-finals, but there was an air of celebration at their achievements as they faced off for a third place in Bari. Understandably, it took a while for the game to spring into life, though eventually, it did when Roberto Baggio danced through to clip Italy in front in the 71st minute. David Platt’s bullet header hauled Bobby Robson’s outfit level before Salvatore Schillaci sealed victory – and the Golden Boot – by winning and converting an 86th-minute penalty for Azeglio Vicini’s hosts.
3. England 0-0 Italy, EURO 2012 quarter-finals
These two nations are no strangers to a penalty shoot-out and it took a nerve-shredding one to send the Azzurri through on a dramatic night in Kyiv. There were plenty of chances for Prandelli’s side to avoid such a scenario in the first 90 minutes, with Daniele De Rossi rattling the bar and both Balotelli and Riccardo Montolivo blazing over.
4. Italy 0-4 England, 1948 friendly
This was England’s first ever success away to Italy and remains their biggest. The margin of victory underlined the quality of a star-studded England team containing the likes of Billy Wright, Wilf Mannion and Stanley Matthews – and they were just the high-profile names not to get on the scoresheet! Stan Mortensen struck early from the narrowest of angles and Tommy Lawton swept home a second before half-time for Walter Winterbottom’s purring machine. A quickfire double from the great Tom Finney – the first from a delightful Mannion cross – capped an emphatic win.