Football is a sport that thrives on rivalries, and one of the most enduring ones is between Italy and England. Over the years, these two footballing nations have produced some of the best players and most memorable moments in the history of the game.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the rivalry between Italy and England, examine some of their most memorable encounters, and preview their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifier.
A Brief History of the Rivalry
The rivalry between Italy and England dates back to the early days of international football. In fact, the two nations played the first-ever international football match on November 30th, 1872, in Glasgow, Scotland. The game ended in a 0-0 draw, but it laid the foundation for a rivalry that would continue to this day.
Since then, Italy and England have faced each other in numerous matches, with both sides enjoying their share of victories. However, there have been some games that stand out more than others, and we’ll examine a few of them in the next section.
Italy and England have faced each other in several high-stakes encounters over the years, with both sides producing some memorable moments. Here are just a few of the most notable matches:
Italy 0-1 England – FIFA World Cup 1990 Third Place Play-Off
The 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy was a tournament of firsts. It was the first time that the World Cup was held in Italy, and it was the first time that the tournament was played with 24 teams instead of 16.
Italy and England were both among the favorites to win the tournament, but they were both knocked out in the semi-finals. They met in the third-place play-off, with both sides looking to salvage some pride after their respective defeats.
The game was a tight affair, with both sides cancelling each other out for much of the match. However, in the 85th minute, England’s David Platt scored a spectacular goal to give his side the lead. Italy pushed forward in search of an equalizer, but England held on to secure a famous victory.
Italy 2-1 England – UEFA Euro 2012 Quarter-Finals
The 2012 UEFA European Championship in Poland and Ukraine was a tournament of surprises. Italy, in particular, were not expected to do well, but they defied the odds to reach the quarter-finals.
Their opponents in the last eight were England, who had made it to the knockout stages unbeaten. The match was a tense affair, with both sides creating chances but failing to convert them.
In the 60th minute, Italy took the lead through a goal from Andrea Pirlo. England fought back, and they equalized through a penalty from Wayne Rooney. However, Italy secured victory in the 84th minute when Mario Balotelli scored a stunning goal to send his side through to the semi-finals.
Italy 1-1 England (Italy win 3-2 on penalties) – UEFA Euro 2020 Final
The most recent encounter between Italy and England was in the final of the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament. The match was played at Wembley Stadium in London, and it was a highly anticipated affair.
England took the lead early in the match through a goal from Luke Shaw, but Italy fought back and equalized in the second half through a goal from Leonardo Bonucci. The game ended 1-1 after extra time, and it went to penalties to decide the winner.
Unfortunately for England, they lost the shootout 3-2, with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka missing their penalties. Italy were crowned champions of Europe for the second time in their history, while England were left to rue missed opportunities.
Upcoming Euro 2024 Qualifier
The next chapter in the rivalry between Italy and England will be written in the Euro 2024 qualifiers. The two sides are set to meet in Group I, along with Romania, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, and Belarus.
The matches between Italy and England are sure to be the standout fixtures of the group, with both sides expected to challenge for top spot. Italy will be looking to continue their recent dominance over England, while the Three Lions will be keen to exact revenge for their defeat in the Euro 2020 final.
The Significance of the Rivalry
The rivalry between Italy and England is significant not just because of their footballing history, but also because of their cultural and political differences. Italy is known for its passion, flair, and creativity on the field, while England is renowned for its physicality, organization, and tactical prowess.
Off the field, the two nations have had a complex relationship over the centuries. Italy has long been associated with art, fashion, and food, while England is known for its literature, music, and history. The two nations have also had their share of political disagreements, with Italy’s Fascist regime in the 1930s and 1940s causing tension between the two nations.
Despite these differences, however, the rivalry between Italy and England has always been fueled by mutual respect and a desire to win. Their encounters on the football pitch have often been fierce and intense, with both sides giving their all to come out on top.
Looking Ahead to Euro 2024
The Euro 2024 qualifiers will provide another opportunity for Italy and England to renew their rivalry. The two sides are expected to be among the favorites to win the tournament, and their matches in Group I are likely to be closely contested.
Italy will be looking to build on their recent success, having won the Euro 2020 tournament and the 2021 Nations League. They have a talented squad that includes the likes of Marco Verratti, Jorginho, and Federico Chiesa, and they will be confident of getting the better of England once again.
England, on the other hand, will be keen to put their Euro 2020 disappointment behind them and make a strong start to their qualifying campaign. They have a talented squad of their own, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, and Phil Foden capable of causing problems for any defense.
The matches between Italy and England in the Euro 2024 qualifiers are sure to be closely watched by football fans around the world. Whether it’s in Rome or London, these two footballing giants will be looking to outdo each other once again and add another chapter to their enduring rivalry.
The rivalry between Italy and England is one of the most storied and enduring in the history of football. From the first-ever international match to the recent Euro 2020 final, their encounters have always been fiercely contested and full of drama.
The upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers promise to provide another chapter in this rivalry, with both Italy and England expected to challenge for top spot in Group I. Whether it’s a battle of flair vs. physicality or creativity vs. organization, these matches are sure to provide football fans with plenty of excitement and entertainment.