Sunday 11 July 2021
When the Italian and English teams meet Sunday at Wembley Stadium in the British capital, London, in the final of the current European Nations Cup (Euro 2020), this match will be a new episode in a long series of exciting confrontations between the two teams throughout history.
The following lines illustrate the record of the most prominent confrontations between the Italian (Azuri) and England (the Three Lions) teams:
1934: The Battle of Highbury:
The Italian national team arrived at Highbury Stadium in London to play its first match after winning the 1934 World Cup, and the match was an unofficial “final” against the England team, which had not even participated in the 1934 World Cup.
A violent intervention broke the foot of Italian defender Luis Monti, paving the way for the England team to advance by three goals.
The player was eventually knocked out before the end of the first half, leaving Italy with ten men, and the two sides continued their revenge with a barrage of punches, kicks and broken bones. Despite the numerical shortage in the Italian team, the team almost snatched a tie after Giuseppe Meazzas double in the second half, but the match ended with England winning 3/2.
1977: England’s victory is not enough:
Only once did England beat Italy in an official match, but even that victory in 1977 was not enough for England to reach the 1978 World Cup finals.
Italy booked the only qualification ticket by excelling in the goal difference, after the Azzurri played their penultimate match in the qualifiers against England, which was playing its last match in the qualifiers, and it needed a big win.
Goals by Kevin Keegan and Trevor Brooking gave the English a 2-0 victory and put them two points ahead of Italy, but the Azzurri had a card left to play and with an easy 3-0 win over Luxembourg, the Azzurri qualified for the finals in Argentina the following summer.
1990: Italy elegantly predicted:
Neither team wanted to play the third-place play-off in the 1990 World Cup in Italy, but the home side Azzurri won 2-1.
Argentina knocked Italy out of the semi-finals on penalties in Naples, and West Germany beat England on penalties.
Italy’s top scorer, Roberto Baggio and Salvatroi Schillaci, scored Italy’s two goals, while David Platt scored England’s only goal in the third-place play-off.
1997: One night in Rome:
The feats have more to do with Italy than England, but Glenn Hoddle’s side pushed for a superb version of the Azzurri in Rome to reach the 1998 World Cup.
Italy had won the first leg match between the two teams at Wembley Stadium, but some of the following setbacks made the Azzurri need another victory over England in order to reach the 1998 World Cup in France.
It did not seem that this would happen in light of the negative tie between the two teams in Rome, but the Italian team, which won second place in the 1994 World Cup, finally succeeded in reaching the European play-off.
2012: Pirlo Paninka sets the tone:
England were a very weak candidate in Euro 2012, but the team led by coach Roy Hodgson upset his strongest Italian counterpart during the two teams’ match in Kiev in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
After a goalless tie, the Azzurri decided the match on penalties. The penalty kick missed by Ricardo Montolivo gave England hope, but Andrea Pirlos “Panenka” kick contributed to the decision of the penalty shootout in favor of the Azzurri, as Ashley Young and Ashley Cole missed their kicks to cross the Azzurri to the semi-finals, although they subsequently lost 0 / 4 to Spain in the final .
2014: Powers in Decline
Italy and England were drawn in the “Death” group with Uruguay and Costa Rica in the first round of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
With Uruguay and Costa Rica expected to perform well, the first match between Italy and England was decisive, and Italy won 2-1 thanks to a Mario Balotelli goal. Uruguay beat England in their next match, but Italy was also a ghost of what it was in the past, as it suffered defeat in the following two matches as well, so that the Azzurri quickly returned to Italy.