News England vs Italy: Forget Euro revenge, Three Lions need Nations League points
There are only five nations in the world that have managed 10 or more wins over England in international football. Italy is one of them.
Roberto Mancini’s side recorded their 10th victory against the Three Lions in the 2020 European Championships final at Wembley.
This result was far more painful than the other nine combined, and some would say it was the most atrocious defeat in English football history.
While some will see this weekend’s encounter as a chance to redeem themselves, the truth is that whatever happens will not make up for the Euro heartache.
Instead, there are other motivations for Gareth Southgate’s men, mainly the preparation ahead of the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
Another motivation will be England’s precarious position in their Nations League group. With a point to their name, relegation from the top group in the competition isn’t exactly a distant fantasy.
After two games, England are fourth, behind Germany by one point and Hungary by two, Italy ahead with four points.
Speaking of Mancini’s men, they don’t even have to worry about World Cup preparations after they failed to qualify. That, however, doesn’t mean they won’t be intent on doing more harm on English soil as they seek to maintain their unbeaten record in the competition.
When: Saturday, June 11, 7:45 p.m. BST
Where to watch: Channel 4
Follow this game via our score center
Who is the referee for England against Italy?
Szymon Marciniak will be the middle man at Molineux.
The 41-year-old has already refereed 41 games this season, including Champions League, Europa Conference League and World Cup qualifiers.
Statistics for the 2021/22 season: Matches (41), yellow cards (168), red cards (9), penalties (16)
England’s performances during this ongoing international break have been hugely disappointing.
The Three Lions kicked off their UEFA Nations League campaign with a 1-0 loss to Hungary in Budapest, before salvaging a 1-1 draw with Germany with a Harry Kane penalty.
Italy, on the other hand, seem to have shaken off their 3-0 loss to Argentina in the Finalissima.
Mancini’s men drew 1-1 with Germany before beating Hungary 2-1 in Cesena.
The last time
Italy 1-1 (3-2 tabs) England (European Championship Final – July 11, 2021)
Despite taking the lead in the opening 120 seconds through Luke Shaw, England suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the Euro 2020 final.
Leonardo Bonucci equalized in the 67th minute, before Italy won in a dramatic penalty shootout.
last 10 meetings
England win: 1
Italy wins: 5
England goals: seven
Italy goals: 11
The opinion of the managers:
England manager Gareth Southgate on the importance of Nations League games: “I know what I wanted from these games. I also accept that with England you are going to be judged and you have to win every game.
“But I have to think a bit differently and accept that if there is criticism, fine. I have to make the right decisions for the players, for the team, to try to improve the team and if that means criticism so nevermind. If my decision-making is affected by this, then it’s something I won’t be successful with.
Italy coach Roberto Mancini on a period of struggle for his team since winning Euro 2020: “Winning Euro 2020 is part of the magic of this tournament, now we have to start over and get that magic back.
“In football everyone is behind you when you win and when you lose almost everyone turns against you. That’s how it is.”
Predicts England vs Italy teams
After being injured against Germany, Kalvin Phillips is unlikely to return to action for the Three Lions. The same goes for Fikayo Tomori who is nursing a hamstring problem.
Phil Foden, on the other hand, could return if he tests negative for Covid-19.
The Italians will be deprived of Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Belotti who have gone on vacation.
Elsewhere, Alessandro Florenzi, Francesco Acerbi and Gianluca Scamacca pushed for a chance to shine, and they could get their wish on Saturday.
Possible starting line-up for England: Ramsdale, James, Stones, Guehi, Trippier, Rice, Bellingham, Bowen, Mount, Grealish, Kane
Possible starting line-up for Italy: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Bastoni, Mancini, Spinazzola, Locatelli, Tonali, Barella, Gnonto, Scamacca, Raspadori
England vs Italy prediction
Although on paper it may seem like a classic light fixture, in reality don’t expect fireworks. The UEFA Nations League has so far failed to fuel a fire in the English camp, and an empty Molineux will not help their cause.
Italy’s young attacking line will be looking to make a statement, but the hosts should have enough quality to secure a slim victory. We leave with a 2-1 win for the hosts.
READ MORE: Which Premier League club have spent the most money since Jurgen Klopp took charge of Liverpool?