Natal: Ahead of their Group D clash in Manaus on Saturday, we take a look at five classic England-Italy matches:
'Battle of Highbury', London, November 14, 1934: England 3 Italy 2
Five months after Italy triumphed in the 1934 edition of the World Cup the Azzurri played England at Highbury in London in a friendly which was anything but. England, who had not taken part in the World Cup, faced ferocious tactics throughout on their way to a win that ultimately prompted calls for international friendlies to be banned.
Turin, May 16, 1948: Italy 0 England 4
England's 4-0 win away to Italy is considered one of their best performances against the Azzurri. World champions Italy had been preparing for months with a squad featuring several players from the great Torino side that had dominated Italian football but, only a year later, tragically disappeared in the Superga airplane crash disaster. While Italy were led by long-standing coach Vittorio Pozzo, England had only just appointed their first coach, Walter Winterbottom, who had no say in selecting players. Stan Mortensen opened the scoring in the fourth minute, Tommy Lawton added a second on 23 minutes and Tom Finney hit a double inside two second-half minutes.
Turin, June 14, 1973: Italy 2 England 0
Having failed to beat England in their four meetings following the 4-0 rout of 1948, Italy finally beat the Three Lions for the first time in a 2-0 friendly win thanks to goals from Pietro Anstasi and Fabio Capello, who would later spend four years as England manager from 2008 to 2012.
Bari, July 7, 1990: Italy 2 England 1
Having narrowly failed to make the World Cup final following semi-final defeat to Germany on penalties, England's bid to claim a third-place finish came undone at the end of a dramatic 15-minute spell in the second half which saw three goals. Roberto Baggio opened Italy's account on 71 minutes and although David Platt levelled 10 minutes later, the Azzurri took an 86th minute lead when Toto Schillaci fired past Peter Shilton from the penalty spot.
Kiev, June 24, 2012: Italy 0 England 0 (Italy win 4-2 on penalties)
In the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, an Andrea Pirlo-inspired Italy were held to a scoreless draw after extra-time by an insipid English side, prompting manager Roy Hodgson to later claim they had under-performed. England went ahead 2-1 on penalties when Riccardo Montolivo missed his spot-kick but when Ashley Young missed for England, Pirlo beat England's Joe Hart with a cheeky 'Panenka' chip to level. Azzurri goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon then saved from Ashley Cole, with Antonio Nocerino and Alessandro Diamanti scoring their efforts to send Italy to the final with a 4-2 win.
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