Can England set awful Italy record straight in Euro 2020 final?

England’s miserable record against Italy: Kevin Keegan scored the last time they won a competitive match… since then it’s been 44 years of pain, inflicted by the likes of Tardelli, Zola, Balotelli and THAT Pirlo penalty

  • England will face Italy in the final of Euro 2020 on Sunday at Wembley Stadium 
  • The Three Lions beat Denmark in the semi-finals while Italy overcame Spain 
  • But England have won just one competitive match against the Azzurri in history 
  • Here, Sportsmail takes a look back at the previous eight competitive meetings
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here

England have smashed a number of hoodoos already under Gareth Southgate on their way to making it to the final of Euro 2020.

Infamous for their failure at penalty shootouts, England triumphed over Colombia at the 2018 World Cup and broke that perceived curse on their way to the semi-finals in Russia.

Now three years on, they have beaten rivals Germany in a knockout tie at a major tournament for the first time in 55 years, and have not only reached but won a last-four match following Wednesday’s 2-1 win against Denmark.

England will face Italy in the final of Euro 2020 after beating Denmark in the semi-final

But the Three Lions have only won once in eight competitive games against the Azzurri

But one ugly record still remains, namely their competitive record against Italy, their opponents in Sunday’s final at Wembley.

The teams have faced each other 27 times altogether, with the Azzurri winning 11 to England’s eight, and the other eight matches ending in draws. 

But competitively England have won just one of their eight games against the Azzurri, which came all the way back in 1977 in what eventually became a failed World Cup qualifying campaign. 

Here, Sportsmail looks back at the thrills and spills from the competitive clashes between the two sides…

Italy 2-0 England – November 1976 – World Cup Qualifier

The first ever competitive fixture between these two sides saw Italy come out on top and England boss Don Revie coming off worse than most.  

Revie was criticised for playing a previously untested back four of Emlyn Hughes, Dave Clement, Roy McFarland and Mick Mills.

He also played Trevor Brooking out of position and caused a few shocks by picking Stan Bowles ahead of Stuart Pearson.

The six changes and two positional alterations backfired, as a goal in each half by Giancarlo Antognoni and Roberto Bettega saw Italy virtually book their tickets for the 1978 World Cup finals in Argentina.

Giancarlo Antognoni netted the first as England’s much-changed side were beaten in 1976

England 2-0 Italy – November 1977 – World Cup Qualifier

This appeared to be a crucial World Cup qualifying victory for England as they made it one win each in competitive games between the two countries.

Kevin Keegan opened the scoring for the Three Lions after converting Trevor Brooking’s cross 11 minutes in.

The duo then swapped roles for the second nine minutes from time, when Brooking latched on to Keegan’s through ball before slotting past Dino Zoff in the Italian goal. 

However, Italy needed just a 1-0 victory at home against Luxembourg to clinch their place in the World Cup finals despite the loss, with England having only scored two past the same opposition after spurning several chances.

A 3-0 win for the Azzurri saw them win the World Cup qualifying group on goal difference and England were left with only themselves to blame once again.

Kevin Keegan scored in a 2-0 win at Wembley, the last time England beat Italy competitively

Italy 1-0 England – June 1980 – European Championship Group game

Euro 1980 failed to draw much attention generally but Italy were well followed and they edged England in Turin.

Marco Tardelli struck the only goal 11 minutes from time, drilling home from close range after Francesco Graziani beat his man and put the ball in.

The Azzurri then showed their well-renowned resilience to see out the win and end England’s hopes. 

The win set up a winner-takes-all encounter against Belgium, who ended up coming out on top as group winners to go straight through to the final, while Italy were forced to settle for a third-place play-off spot.

Marco Tardelli struck the only goal 11 minutes from time to set up Belgium clash at Euro 80

Italy 2-1 England – July 1990 – World Cup third-place play-off 

Perhaps the competitive fixture both sides least wanted to play after losing their respective semi-finals at the 1990 World Cup. 

England’s heroic performance against West Germany ended in failure following Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle’s misses in the penalty shootout, while Italy had also suffered the same fate against Argentina.

A third-place play-off followed for both and Italian Roberto Baggio put his side in front following a horrific error from Peter Shilton in his final game as England goalkeeper.

David Platt equalised for England after bursting into the Italian penalty area and powering the ball into the net from 12 yards.

But Bobby Robson’s final game in charge of England would ultimately end in failure.

The tournament’s eventual top scorer Salvatore ‘Toto’ Schillaci scored the winner with his sixth goal of the World Cup from the penalty spot by sending Shilton the wrong way after tangling with Paul Parker inside the box.

Salvatore ‘Toto’ Schillaci set up the first and scored the second at the 1990 World Cup

England 0-1 Italy – February 1997 – World Cup Qualifier 

Glenn Hoddle took over as England boss after Euro 96 but was handed his first defeat in the role seven months later by Italy. 

Arsenal duo David Seaman and Tony Adams were both absent, while Hoddle opted to hand Southampton’s mercurial star Matt Le Tissier – who would end up missing opportunities – his first start for two years.

But former Chelsea striker Gianfranco Zola ensured England went a goal down after just nine minutes, placing a shot beyond a heavily-criticised Ian Walker after a swift break from the Italians.

Hoddle’s side went for it and attempted to knock the door down but not for the first time in the history of this fixture, the Italian defence held firm for a crucial win in their World Cup qualifier for France 1998.

Former Chelsea striker Gianfranco Zola handed Glenn Hoddle his first defeat as England boss

Italy 0-0 England – October 1997 – World Cup Qualifier

England headed to Rome needing a point to qualify for the World Cup in 1998 against an Italy side who had never failed to win a World Cup qualifier on home soil.

But this game came to be characterised by fighting spirit, brutal challenges and dirty tricks from the Italians. 

It was a daunting task but Paul Ince battled through pain after receiving five stitches to his cut head after Demetrio Albertini’s elbow in an aerial challenge.

The bloodied and bandaged image of the England captain remains one of the most memorable of the night, and his all-action midfield partnership with Paul Gascoigne was widely hailed as the key to England’s resolve.

Italian police baton-charged a section of 10,000 England supporters in ugly scenes in the stands which saw a policeman and a fan hospitalised. 

Angelo Di Livio was sent off for the hosts after a scything tackle on Sol Campbell, while Alessandro Del Piero dived feigning contact from Tony Adams before Ian Wright nearly snatched it at the death, somehow hitting the post after rounding the goalkeeper. 

In 30 seconds of staggering drama, Italy then went straight up the other end and so nearly snatched an undeserved victory, but Christian Vieri’s towering header missed by a whisker.

A bloodied and bandaged Paul Ince characterised a determined England display in Rome

England 0-0 Italy (AET, Italy won 4-2 on penalties) – June 2012 – European Championship quarter-final

England once again came unstuck in a penalty shootout but few could have begrudged Italy for taking that semi-final spot against Germany.

Cesare Prandelli’s men put in a vastly superior performance but failed to break the door down – despite the excellence of Andrea Pirlo in midfield – against some English resilience in Kiev.

But after forcing penalties, Ashley Young’s spot-kick crashed against the bar while Ashley Cole’s effort was saved by Gianluigi Buffon. 

Riccardo Montolivo’s miss gave England hope but in his languid manner, Pirlo restored Italian calm with a delicious Panenka penalty past Joe Hart. 

Former West Ham forward Alessandro Diamanti then tucked home the winning penalty to end Roy Hodgson’s men’s hopes of reaching the last four.

Ashley Cole’s penalty was saved by Gianluigi Buffon as England lost the Euro 2012 quarter-final

In stark contrast, Andrea Pirlo made a fool of Joe Hart with a delicious Panenka penalty

England 1-2 Italy – June 2014 – World Cup group game 

The first game of any major tournament campaign can so often prove to be the tone setter and so it rang true for England in their defeat by Italy in Manaus to open their 2014 World Cup campaign.

Claudio Marchisio’s drive gave Italy a deserved lead only for former Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge to steer home Wayne Rooney’s perfectly-weighted cross at the back post.

His goal caused the infamous injury to former England physio Gary Lewin, who had to be carried off after injuring his ankle in the celebrations.

However, Italy’s maverick Mario Balotelli ensured it was also more pain for Roy Hodgson and co, heading Prandelli’s men back in front five minutes into the second half to ensure a losing start in what would be a winless campaign for England.

Mario Balotelli scored the winner as England lost their opening 2014 World Cup game

Notable mention  

Italy 0-2 England – June 1997 – Le Tournoi de France

The two sides met inbetween their matches in February and October 1997 at Le Tournoi – a warm-up tournament in France ahead of the World Cup the following year.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes made his first international start, and made an immediate impact with a stunning 50-yard pass finding Ian Wright.

The Arsenal striker allowed the ball to bounce before tucking it away with his left foot to open the scoring after 20 minutes. 

Wright then turned provider, playing a pass into Scholes to score as England went top of the four-team table including France and Brazil after the first of three games.

England would go on to win the tournament after beating France but losing to Brazil, but more significantly this win against Italy remains their last victory over them.

Paul Scholes created the first and scored the second in a 2-0 win in Le Tournoi in 1997

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