England versus Italy hardly recalls memories of iconic past games. After all these two venerable nations have met just twice in tournament football; Italy winning both in the 1980 European Championships, and at the 1990 World Cup, third place play-off. Indeed, the Azzurri has the edge in recent meetings, having lost just once to England in the past 35 years. That loss came at the height of Glenn Hodle’s ‘chic’ England side at Le Tournoi, Nantes, in 1997, when Ian Wright and Paul Scholes scored.
Neither side was much fancied to make an impact on Euro 2012, but one will certainly reach the semi-finals after tonight’s fixture in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. However, it is, perhaps, Italy that has caught the eye to date – looking impressive against Spain in the opening fixture. But Roy Hodgson’s functional England side has warmed into the tournament – few expect anything other than an even match tonight.
Join United Rant Live for more comment, chat and analysis on this Euro 2012 quarter-final. We’ll be with you live with team news from around 7pm, with preamble, updates and quotes throughout the day.
Ed - Sunday 22:32
Well that’s it for England and Roy Hodgson’s men deserved the loss. Italy out passed, out moved and out thought England for almost the entire game. Pirlo was masterful. England’s midfield woeful. United’s men – Welbeck, Rooney and Young didn’t have the best of games. But in truth England are so far behind Italy technically that this was hardly the same sport, let along the same game. Embarrassingly one-sided. Italy superior in every department, expect for the scoresheet. And that’s what almost counted.
In the end though the right side won.
Will there be a scapegoat? There’s normally a scapegoat. This time it may well be Ashley Young.
Paul - Sunday 22:31
Well, England were good for 20 minutes, and the rest of it a complete shambles. Getting to penalties is a huge over achievement given how awful they were. Italy lucky not to be punished for missing all those chances.
The semi final line ups of this tournament are absolutely fantastic. Italy Germany, Spain Portugal. Promises some wonderful football. The THREE DAY wait will seem long!
Jony Ball - Sunday 22:27
Cruel My dogs Pants…..
One out of SevenÂ penaltyÂ shoot out wins preventsÂ EnglandÂ being totallyÂ embarrassedÂ by the might of Germany……
Terrible, Terrible Team…
Terrible, Terrible Tactics…
Terrible, Terrible, Terrible, Terrible Reliance on the Three Lions Passion…..
Basically Just Terrible!!!
Ed - Sunday 22:25
And ITALY win it on pens
England 3 – 4 Italy on penalties….
… and you can’t say Italy didn’t deserve it
Paul - Sunday 22:24
Bad day for Ashleys.Â
Doesn’t look like Germany get to beat England. Can’t say they didn’t deserve it.
Jony Ball - Sunday 22:23
The best Euro beard scores………
Jony Ball - Sunday 22:19
Hope he’s had his Glucosamine for all this sudden bending…..
Paul - Sunday 22:18
Just had a chat with my dad…
He said “At least Buffon will have something to do now”.
Jony Ball - Sunday 22:18
I’m still backing England to win….. Â Or John Terry to be seen Donning a Italian Shirt!!!
Jony Ball - Sunday 22:17
Full TIme Stats….
for those who care….
Shots: England Â 1/9 Â - Â Italy 8/36
Possession: Eng 32% Â - Â 68%
Passes: Eng 269/364 [74%] Â - Â 744/833 [89%]
Attacking Third: Eng 96/147 Â - Â 208/264
Tackles: Eng 18/24 Â - Â Ita 16/22
Blocks: Eng 13 Â - Â Ita 3
Ed - Sunday 22:15
Who’ll be the scapegoat then?
It’s normally a Manchester United player. Wayne Rooney doesn’t take a good penalty.
My money’s on Rooney to be the fall guy.
Paul - Sunday 22:14
Would be stunned if England win these. Stunned.
Paul - Sunday 22:13
Ed - Sunday 22:13
One minute to go
Will anybody create the chance to win this game?
Jony Ball - Sunday 22:10
Carroll’s passing Talent…
Since coming on Andy Carroll has completed 7 out of 17 final third passes at anÂ awe inspiring 41% completion percentage….
Ed - Sunday 22:08
Somewhere Gary Neville is talking about the stars
Jony Ball - Sunday 22:07
Andy Carroll has now given away more freekicks than any other England Player
4 out of 15 fouls committed… 26% of the fouls….
Paul - Sunday 22:06
Oh my goodness
How did Mario convince Pirlo to let him have that?
Italian fans must be driven to despair by their inability to put this away. Once again, England’s last ditch defending has been their only redeeming feature, but as Ed said, Italy’s finishing has been so wasteful.
Also, “False Big Man” has made my evening.
Ed - Sunday 22:02
Italy so wasteful in the final third
There’ll some strikers thrown the the lions after this if Italy don’t win. Have been materially superior in every department except goals scored. That, of course, is the only one that counts.
Jony Ball - Sunday 22:02
Really lost for words….. Exactly how bad can England be…… VERY… simples…
Ed - Sunday 22:00
False big man
Andy Carroll’s new position! © @sgevans on Twitter.
Ed - Sunday 21:57
Half time in extra time
It’s dire, isn’t it? We’re up to 31 chances for Italy (8 on target). England 9 attempts (1 on target).
England need to play for penalties now. England’s players look shot. Too much running without the ball.
Paul - Sunday 21:53
How are Italy not winning this?Â
They have missed so many chances, hit the woodwork when they weren’t trying, and just generally should have scored. But they haven’t. Does this mean England are destined to nick a late winner, or is it all a great cosmic joke to enable Italy to win on pens? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!
(Starting to get a bit delirious from fever and boredom).
Ed - Sunday 21:51
Definitely England’s best chance!
Although Italy hasn’t created a good chance for a while. It’s petering out. England’s ‘breaks’ generally non-threatening. The tactic, surely, for England has to be – get a free kick.
Ed - Sunday 21:48
Trying to pass it. England haven’t quite worked out Roy’s gameplan here. Needs to go LONG. Very LONG. You know, onto Carroll’s head.
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:47
Just as Ed and Paul have debated the poor midfield options for United….. England are really suffering….
But great we’ve Got Jordan Henderson from England’s 8th best team….
Paul - Sunday 21:46
So, how’s everyone doing?Â
Been up to anything interesting? (Struggling to find interesting things to say about this.) (Rooney looks so tired).
Ed - Sunday 21:43
JORDAN HENDERSON IS ON
The saviour is here.
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:40
England have won one of their six previous penalty shoot-outs at major tournaments – beating Spain in the quarter-finals of Euro 1996 after a 0-0 draw.
Italy have lost five of seven penalty shoot-outs at major tournaments, and two of three at European Championships; they beat the Dutch in the semi-finals of Euro 2000, but lost to Spain in the quarter-finals four years ago and to Czechoslovakia in a third-place play-off in 1980.
Paul - Sunday 21:38
The first nil-nil
That’s sounds like a Christmas carol. But it’s an Andy Carroll. This is the first 0-0 after 90 in this tournament. Well done England and Italy! It’s a tremendous achievement!
Ed - Sunday 21:36
Full time stats
ENG – ITA
Possession: 35% – 65%
Passing: 214/290 (74%) – 511/589 (87%)
Att third: 79/118 – 121/171
Chances: 9 – 27
On target: 1 – 6
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:33
Carroll Can Not Jump…
Finally A ball for Carroll to feed off and he entirely and utterly fails to get up of the turf!!!
Paul - Sunday 21:33
In a parallel universe…
A magical thing just happened. Not in this game, sadly, where mostly it’s been hoofs and that.
Ed - Sunday 21:31
Ok, so this game isn’t quite as bad as a park kickabout but the level of quality has dropped markedly. Even if Italy was outpassing England in the first half, at least England were *trying* to break. Hodgson’s men have now given up on that altogether…
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:28
If This was Football Manager…
I’d of turned this game off and gone back to <Load Last Game>…..
Paul - Sunday 21:26
If this was Football Manager…
Young would be orange at ML, and bright green at AML. Playing him at ML is a miserable experience for him and everyone watching.
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:26
On behalf of all ‘Jokes’ I declare that latest attack a disgrace Paul…. Jokes and Lawrenson have nothing in common!!!
Ed - Sunday 21:25
There’s three options in this game
Italy actually put one of the many chances away
England score from a set piece
Paul - Sunday 21:23
Since Welbeck was replaced by Carroll England have been an absolute joke. They were quite fun to watch in the first half, but they’ve become a launch it parody of themselves.
Also. Mark Lawrenson is a joke.
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:22
The rest of the England team left Rooney & YoungÂ completelyÂ alone to try to get out the corner against 6 Italians!!!
Paul - Sunday 21:18
Gerrard picks the wrong head to aim at.Â
Rooney’s “hair” didn’t do the job. England look hopeless. Italy haven’t looked all that much better, and Prandelli takes off Cassano and brings on Diamanti.
Ed - Sunday 21:17
I did say about nine hours ago that the pattern in this game would be Italy dominating possession, England hoping for free kicks. I wasn’t being sarcastic. It’s how it was always going to be.
Ed - Sunday 21:14
I think it was Napoleon, rather than poker… #just saying#
Paul - Sunday 21:11
To use a poker analogyÂ
England would clearly rather be lucky than good. They’re going to have to be.
Oh good. The national anthem.
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:10
So far so Expected….
Possession 35.5% : Italy 64.5%
Passing 173/229 [76%] : Italy 392/452 [87%]
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:07
Henderson And Downing
The hostility towards Welbeck and Young from Mark Lawrenson makes me wonder when he’s going to question why Downing, Henderson and Adams aren’t in the team…… Err
Ed - Sunday 21:06
Much being made of his passing.. 76% passes accurate. About the same as the England average (77%). Young’s real problem – he’s getting the ball way deeper than he would at United and having to run and find the (very few) England men in space. Easy enough to blame him – he’s not playing that well in the system. But it’s arguable the system isn’t helping him either.
Ed - Sunday 21:00
England’s new tactic. Danny Welbeck off for the Liverpool man. England players just can’t help themselves but hit the big man early. Will it work?
Ed - Sunday 20:59
43/51 passes – 84% completed. Actually not as high as normal from Pirlo …. a few ‘longer balls’ gone astray. Mind you he’s passed the ball as many times as Gerrard (20/23) and Parker (26/28) combined.
Paul - Sunday 20:58
He’s coming on, he’s coming on, he’s coming..
Carroll’s coming on. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOFFFFFFFFFF (This post broke the formatting, like Carroll will break up England’s counter attacks).
Paul - Sunday 20:57
Where’s it written? In the stars you say? Ok. Well..maybe you’re right.
Of course a higher power is what it’s going to take for England getting through this game, so if it is destiny, it’s a good job, because if it’s football, it’s Italy all the way.
Ed - Sunday 20:56
I’ve said it time and again – HE’S JUST NOT VERY GOOD. I know this is a controversial opinion. But he’s not. When parking the bus, when there’s no space, when the game isn’t end to end England’s Brave and Loyal John Terry (© The Guardian) excels. When the game opens up and players attack space Terry falls to pieces. Not literally, unfortunately.
Ed - Sunday 20:53
How many chances do Italy need?
That is 16 chances and counting for the Italians. Very few of them actually on target. It can’t remain that way. Can it?
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:50
I really did just hear the commentator compare Stevie-ME to PirloÂ didn’tÂ I???
Ed - Sunday 20:49
Extraordinary De Rossi Miss
Daniele De Rossi misses from no more than 4 yards out… unbelievable miss. He had nobody around him, no challenge and loads of time.
Paul - Sunday 20:49
“Good to hear him demanding the ball. Shame he couldn’t keep it”. Writes itself.
Ed - Sunday 20:48
Rooney, Welbeck, Young
None of the United men having ‘great’ games, although in their defence they have very little support at times and too many long balls going forward. The issue isn’t really with Young, and Welbeck (Rooney doesn’t look fit)… but with the nature of the service.
Of course if Andy Carroll comes on it’ll only get longer…
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:45
The Possession Problem…
Most people who know me know my total aversion to John Terry…. but for me heÂ epitomisesÂ everythingÂ that is wrong in England’s attitude, aptitude and talent….
All International teams haveÂ centralÂ defenders who can assist in ball retention and have a passing ability… Its why I argued long and hard that Rio should of been preferred on talent alone… John Terry with a ball is a sad, sad experience…
Paul - Sunday 20:37
Full backs, and the misfiring Cassano Ballotelli partership.
The right flank, bizarre aversion to possession.
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:35
Hart and Johnson seen most of the ball, in a team that finds it so difficult to maintain possession is it hardly surprising Young and Milner have seen so little…
Paul - Sunday 20:34
I think a moment of magic from Montolivo might be what settles this.
Ed - Sunday 20:31
Half time stats
ENG – ITA
Possession: 37% – 63%
Passes: 131/170 (77%) – 281/321 (88%)
Territory: 50.5% – 49.5%
Shots (all): 4 – 13
On target: 1 – 3
Italy dominating in almost all categories, and would have made it count but for Balloteli’s wastefulness.
But of course if you’re Hodgson you’ll point to the only stat that counts. It’s 0-0.
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:28
the normal reliable banks of four being well manouvered around by the italians…
Paul - Sunday 20:27
All that early England pressure
It’s all evaporated. Like us against Barca in the Champions League final, the first 20 minutes, England were making it look a contest. Italy have taken over as the half has continued and look much the better side. England clinging on to get in at 0-0.
They just had a break from a shocking mistake from a free kick, but Rooney is having an absolute mare and makes nothing of the cross. Doesn’t look fit.
Ed - Sunday 20:25
Absolutely clattered twice in the space of a similar number of minutes. Neither given as a foul to the England man. Those sly old Italians etc etc cliché cliché
Paul - Sunday 20:24
The right flank.
Milner and Johnson. Dream team.
Ed - Sunday 20:23
It’s all coming down England’s right
Johnson the weak link, which of course is why Milner is in the side to protect the Liverpool man. Cole secure as ever on the left.
Ed - Sunday 20:21
He’s quite dapper really. Just to go off on a tangent…
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:20
I suspect he’s feeling a bit rusty, that was only his third shot of the tournament!!!
Paul - Sunday 20:19
That’s England’s only hope really. Young, Rooney and the boy Welbz combining so well. Gorgeous lay off from Young to Welbeck in that build up – such a delicate touch which changed the momentum of the move. Welbeck let down by his finishing.
Ed - Sunday 20:17
Two Balloteli chances… and then one from Welbeck
In the past 10 minutes. Hart has managed to save from the Manchester City front-man twice. But then a lovely bit of inter-play between Rooney and Welbeck, with the former flicking to the later who skied the shot. Should have done much much better Danny.
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:16
The Milan bound attacking midfielder cost them …. Absolutely Nothing…… No Value in the market????
Paul - Sunday 20:14
Last 10 minutes
England looked a lot less good. But pretty solid defensively. Montolivo looks a huge threat forÂ Italy.
Ed - Sunday 20:14
Possession versus Territory
Italy enjoying 62% possession at the moment, but England a similar advantage in territory. The lesson isn’t quite that England’s playing like a rugby team… but not that far off. Ball goes from back-to-front much more quickly with England than Italy. Hence the skewed stats…
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:13
In the group games the ‘effective’ English Attackers…
Danny Welbeck Final 1/3 passes 34/36 [94%] Â / Â chances created 2 (none scored) Â / Â Goals 1
Gerrard Final 1/3 passes 38 /45 [84.4%] Â / Â chances created 7 (2 scored from)
Ashley Young Final 1/3 passes 18 /22 [81.81%] Â / Â chances created 0 (none scored)
Ed - Sunday 20:11
I know Paul thinks England’s playing well, but simply launching it out of defence at Danny Welbeck’s head is a tad agricultural isn’t it? It’s going to keep coming back at England. Just 73% of England passes reaching their man at the moment. That’s definitely a problem. But both team’s very wasteful in the final third, which is why there’s not a lot of saves being made at the moment.
Paul - Sunday 20:11
He’s having a stinker. Didn’t even look to see Ashley Young in acres of space on the left. His decision making and touch both look really poor.
Nailed on to score then, obviously.
Paul - Sunday 20:10
My favourite thing about this game so far?Â
Ukraine fans starting to chant “Italia” when England fans don’t join in the Mexican wave. Sometimes crowds are funny.
Ed - Sunday 20:07
When England have the ball… locals not supporting John Terry’s Brave English lions then?! I thought they were all down with racism in Ukraine.
Paul - Sunday 20:04
First 20 minutes
I am surprised by how good England have looked. So far.
Ed - Sunday 20:04
England could really do with keeping the ball!
No surprise there of course, but at the moment it’s too much like a basketball game, with Italy having twice as many attacks. England all about shape, but the shape in attack is very predictable meaning deep balls will be hit towards Rooney and Welbeck. They’re not sticking and the ball is coming straight back at England.
Fortunately for Hodgson’s men Italy not showing a lot of penetration with their 60% possession.
Paul - Sunday 20:00
Making the pressure count…
We’re United fans. We know what it’s like when you don’t make the periods of pressure count, and in spite of the promise of the opening exchanges, England may well regret not making their chances count.
Paul - Sunday 19:57
Italy under pressure
England heaping the pressure on Italy here. Is it sustainable? I don’t know, but whether you’re a neutral or an England fan, the game will be more enjoyable if England chose to maintain this kind of attacking intent.
Jony Ball - Sunday 19:57
first 10 mins….
Italy v England
61.9% Â v Â 38.1%
Passes 71/85 v 34/49
Ed - Sunday 19:56
Pretty even to date and just the two clear chances… Johnson’s scoop, and De Rossi’s slice.
Possession: 38% – 62%. England completed just 68% of passes to 87%.
Paul - Sunday 19:54
England are actually sending men up in their attacks. Will this madness never end?
Ed - Sunday 19:53
England – Italy pattern already clear
Italy will keep the ball whenever possible. England will break, but there’s few chances being taken with the breaks. In the most recent drive forward only Welbeck and Rooney were ahead of the Parker. That’s all about security and the concern that Pirlo can turn defence into attack with one pass.
Paul - Sunday 19:51
After last night I’d forgotten what that was like! I’ll take a technically inferior clash of two teams over the purrfest of Spain sending their opposition to sleep.
Ed - Sunday 19:50
England’s first chance
Falls to Glenn Johnson who couldn’t get enough power on the shot from six yards out to score… could rue that one later. Very very good chance for the Liverpool defender.
Paul - Sunday 19:49
HOW IS THAT NOT IN!!!!!
Ed - Sunday 19:49
2-1 Italy is my prediction!
Paul - Sunday 19:49
What. A. Hit.Â
Powered up as only a man with different length sleeves can be, De Rossi slices a shot which hits the upright. Absolute belter and Joe Hart was beaten all ends up. England very lucky not to be behind. They’ve not really had the ball much, but that’s no surprise. As I type this they’ve got it.
Ed - Sunday 19:49
And the prize for first England player to aimlessly launch one forward goes to….. JOHN TERRY. Who else?
Jony Ball - Sunday 19:48
just as De Rossi rattles the post…I just think Hodgson may bore the Italians into submission….
I’m Going 2-1 England……
Ed - Sunday 19:48
Welbeck and Rooney are not going man-to-man on Pirlo, but it’s obvious already that the pair are going to zonal mark the Juve midfielder. Whoever is nearest is expected the block the path between ball and Pirlo.
Ed - Sunday 19:46
And Mario Balloteli has the first ‘shot’ … it wasn’t much of a shot to be fair, but one for the statistics book!
Paul - Sunday 19:45
Come on chaps, get your predictions in black and white. 2-1 Italy is mine.
Ed - Sunday 19:43
Proudly sung by the Italians. A solid 7/10 – up to a 9/10 for Gigi Buffon who looked very much like he might be getting a semi. Even Balloteli mouthed the words. No there’s a turn up for the books.
No surprised that John Terry belts it out. For Harry, for the country … you can hear it now…
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile
Mind you Terry IS so vile…
Jony Ball - Sunday 19:41
ComparingÂ the GroupÂ progression….
ITALY GROUP GAMES….
Goals (For / Against): 4 / 2
Shots (On Target / Total ): 18 / 52 [34.61%]
Goals:Shot percentage: 7.68%
Total Passes: (Completed / Total): 1078 / 1317
Percentage Completed: 81.85%
Final 1/3rd Passes (Completed / Total): 235 / 356 [66.01%]
Tackles (Successful / Total attempted): 31/38 [81.57%]
Fouls (committed / suffered) 49 / 57
ENGLAND GROUP GAMES….
Goals (For / Against): 5 / 3
Shots (On Target / Total ): 10 / 31 [32.25%]
Goals:Shot percentage: 16.1%
Total Passes: (Completed / Total): 929 / 1124
Percentage Completed: 82.65%
Final 1/3rd Passes (Completed / Total): 234 / 324 [72.22%]
Tackles (Successful / Total attempted): 45/62 [72.58%]
Fouls (committed / suffered) 29 / 35
So as We know England have played all their games with less possession, reliant on being more clinical in front of Goal…
As such we’ve passed less and been more actively defensively…..
We have more Blocks than any other team….
England didn’t register ONEÂ single shot on target in the opening 45 minutes against Ukraine!!!
The last time that happened to England in a European Championship game was in the 1-0 loss to Italy in 1980.
Lest hope history does not repeat itself!!!
Paul - Sunday 19:38
As I suspected
All the pundits on the Beeb go for an England win. Hype, expectations, it’s all back.
Ed - Sunday 19:25
The Olympic National Sports Complex in Kiev, Wikipedia tells us, was built in 1932, fully renovated for these championships and holds just over 70,000 spectators. We’re pretty sure the OLympics has never been held in Kiev though…
Ed - Sunday 19:17
The Dressing Rooms
The usual peek inside the dressing rooms…
Paul - Sunday 19:16
England’s “success” so far this tournament has been built on understatement and reduced expectation. Winning the group in fairly spawny fashion thanks to the collapse of France and a couple of fairly scrappy wins has turned Hodgson’s side into world beaters, according to the coverage. England are surely second favourites here – not insurmountable odds, but not as good as their opponents. You wouldn’t know it by watching the BBC though – Hansen’s speculating on a knighthood for Hodgson if he wins the thing. The fleeting glimpse of self awareness about the relative merits of our national team has vanished as soon as it arrived.
Ed - Sunday 19:12
Strictly speaking it’s 4-4-2 versus 4-4-2, but that’s where the similarity ends. Italy will play much, much narrower with Andrea Pirlo sitting deep and dictating play, and Ricardo Montolivio* pushing forward from midfield.
England will deploy the now very familiar ‘two banks of four™’ behind Wayne Rooney, who presumably will augment midfield, ahead of Danny Welbeck as the attacking pivot.
Each side’s style is very different too. This is a fairly conservative Italian side, but not a cattenacio Italian side. They pass the ball neatly from the back. As one observer put it this week: ‘Italy play with a rhythm’. England doesn’t need rhythm… for the most part Roy Hodgson’s side will look to pick up goals from set pieces, using when possible Welbeck to hold the ball, bringing Rooney and Young into open-play attacks where possible.
England’s problem though is keeping the ball and ensuring midfield is close enough to Welbeck to spring a counter. pr twp./
Paul - Sunday 19:04
The Axis of Ashley
England’s left flank could be a source of some attacking joy for England. Italy’s best options on the ball come through the middle, and their midfield is very compact (which will make it super difficult for Parker and Gerard when England have the ball), but that does mean that Cole will be able to offer that dangerous overlap for our Ash. Young’s attacking effectiveness was neutralised against Ukraine because of his role in the bank of four, and no doubt that will happen again tonight, but perhaps Italy’s attacking narrowness will mean there are more options for him. Worth pointing out that Jim Milner on the other flank won’t be doing too much attacking, or at least, too much attacking which does any good.
Jony Ball - Sunday 18:51
Italy won the last meeting, at Elland Road in March 2002.
Robbie Fowler put England ahead before Vincenzo Montella netted twice.
Gianluigi Buffon is the only survivor from that game!
Paul - Sunday 18:34
Wanting England to Win is Weird
By and large, all the arguments against wanting England to win, in spite of having been born here and that, make sense to me. Their “proper” fans are idiots. They’ve always treated United players poorly. John Terry.
But when England threaten their opponents goal, I want them to score. Not rationally, not because of some carefully thought out position where I have decided that it’s right to do so, it just happens. I think mostly I want England to win now, because I did in 1986, when I was 9, and they seemed so cool and exciting. They’re neither of those things now, but some of that sensation lingers, and at least they play Danny up front, so I can feel unconflicted about it when he scores.
Come on England. (sort of).
Jony Ball - Sunday 17:46
The Azzurri have dominated these games in last 35yrs
They have lost just once against the Three Lions in 35 years (W6, D2, L1).
Their only loss in that time was a 2-0 reverse at Le Tournoi in Nantes in 1997, when Ian Wright and Paul Scholes got the goals.
History is not our Friend…….
Jony Ball - Sunday 13:56
Italy v England : Head 2 Head
The 22 previous meetings have produced 9 wins for Italy, 7 for England and 6 draws.
Italy won the two previous meetings at major tournaments… Marco Tardelli got the only goal in Turin to give the hosts victory in a group game at the Euro’sÂ in 1980
Ed - Sunday 13:03
England coach Roy Hodgson is calling on the spirit of Denmark ’92 and Greece in ’04 as England head into the knock-out stages:
“You’ve got to believe you’ve got a chance. You’ve got to believe that if you can perform to the best of your ability, with a little bit of luck you can go all the way. We’ve got good examples from the past. If we look into our history books we see Denmark in ’92, we saw Greece in Portugal in 2004. I don’t know how the media was in Greece, but I know Denmark were written off because they only came into the competition at the very last minute. So we’ve got good precedents for us to believe ‘Why not us?’.
“But we’re also very realistic and we know that if we’re going to have a chance of getting through this game [against Italy], we’ve got to continue to perform at the level we’ve been performing at, lose nothing of the good things we’ve been doing, and keep working on the aspects of our game where improvements could be made.”
Ed - Sunday 12:25
Despite the hype this is unlikely to be a classic, with two sides more adept at defending than attacking. England, all shape and function, is likely to concede possession, as Hodgson’s side has in all three matches to date, ensuring at the same time that it remains fundamentally ‘hard to beat’. Italy, meanwhile, is a cautious side, if deploying none of the catennacio tactics of previous years. Indeed, the emphasis is surely on the Azzurri to force the issue in Kiev on Sunday night, with England keen to exploit the Italians’ lack of width and propensity to give away cheap free kicks.
The odds favour Italy, who should control possession in midfield, where Andrea Pirlo has been superb in the past fortnight dictating play from deep. Can Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard remain disciplined enough to cut off Pirlo’s oxygen? Can England retain enough possession to get on to the front foot? History suggests otherwise.
But if Italy do control the game’s tempo, then England will remain dangerous in set piece situations, and from wide areas, where Gerrard has already supplied three assists during Euro 2012. None of this will make for a classic match, but it should be a fascinating tactical battle.