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QF4 - England v Italy

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Euro 2012 quarter-final: England v Italy

  • Venue: Olympic Stadium, Kiev
  • Date: Sun, 24 June
  • Kick-off: 19:45 BST

England are expected to be unchanged for Sunday's Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy in Kiev.

Manager Roy Hodgson is likely to retain Danny Welbeck as Wayne Rooney's striking partner and leave both Andy Carroll and Theo Walcott on the bench.

Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini will miss the tie because of a thigh injury.

The Juventus centre-back, 27, picked up the injury in Monday's 2-0 group win over Ireland with Leonardo Bonucci set to take his place against England.

"The scan he underwent confirmed it's a strain. He will certainly miss the game on Sunday," team doctor Enrico Castellacci said.

"Obviously in a competition like this you have to try everything to have him back as quickly as possible but we will not take any unnecessary risks with his muscles."

Castellacci dismissed concerns that Chiellini's injury was a recurrence of the problem that had made him doubtful for the tournament.

MATCH PREVIEW

Cesare Prandelli celebrated victory against Ireland by embarking on a 3am walk to a local monastery, keeping his promise that Italy's coaching staff would make the 13-mile trek if they reached the quarter-finals. They didn't return to their Krakow hotel until 7am, and could be in for another late night in Sunday's quarter-final, which won't finish until gone midnight (local time) if extra-time is required.

And with neither side boasting especially impressive penalty shoot-out records, Prandelli will no doubt hope for some divine intervention if the match is settled from 12 yards.

Many England fans will have celebrated avoiding Group C winners Spain, but in terms of international pedigree it's very much a case of what Italians call "dalla padella alla brace" - out of the frying pan into the fire. Four-time world champions, Italy may occasionally slip-up in the group phase of tournaments, but in the latter stages they are incredibly hard to beat.

Excluding penalties, they have lost just two knock-out games in 24 years - a controversial loss to South Korea at the 2002 World Cup, plus defeat to France in the final of Euro 2000. The USSR were the last team to beat the Azzurri in a knock-out game without needing extra-time or penalties (in the semi-finals of Euro 88).

In contrast, England have not beaten one of world football's heavyweights in a competitive game since victory against Argentina at the 2002 World Cup. Their last knock-out win against a nation of similar stature is the slightly fortuitous penalty shoot-out triumph against Spain at Euro 96.

The Three Lions' quarter-final record is disappointing - they have lost seven of 10 matches at either European Championship finals or the World Cup, with their only overseas win at this stage the 3-2 victory against Cameroon in 1990. The Italians, meanwhile, have lost only two of nine quarter-finals - and both of those were shoot-out defeats (to France at the 1998 World Cup and Spain at Euro 2008).

Italy's relationship with English football has been described as love-hate. Despite winning two World Cups in the 1930s the Azzurri struggled to shake off an inferiority complex, and went 40 years without beating the Three Lions.

That all changed in 1973, when future coach Fabio Capello netted in home and away friendly victories in the space of five months. Capello's imprint remains visible on this England squad and his successor, Roy Hodgson, is also well versed in Italian football, having spent two seasons in charge of Inter Milan.

England's disciplined, tactical approach has not gone unnoticed in the Italian media, some of whom have suggested it's now the Three Lions, rather than the Azzurri, who play "Catenaccio".

A defensive approach certainly worked for Chelsea in the Champions League - with their victory in the final, overseen by Sunday's referee Pedro Proenca, incidentally. However, with Wayne Rooney available and Steve Gerrard back to his best, England will believe they have the firepower to hurt Italy, who will be without key defender Giorgio Chiellini.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • The 22 previous meetings have produced nine wins for Italy, seven for England and six draws.
  • The Azzurri have the edge in recent history - 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.
  • 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 European Championship in 1980. And Italy beat England 2-1 in the third-place play-off at the 1990 World Cup, with goals from Roberto Baggio and Toto Schillachi. David Platt got England's reply in Bari.
  • 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.

England

  • The Three Lions did not register a 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.
  • England had the best chance conversion rate (21.7%) in the group stages of Euro 2012.
  • Just two of the last six winners of the European Championship have finished top of their group - Spain (2008) and Germany (1996).
  • England and Greece were the only teams who failed to catch an opponent offside in the group stage.
  • 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.
  • Wayne Rooney has 29 international goals and needs one more to go joint-fifth on England's list of top scorers, level with Sir Tom Finney, Nat Lofthouse and Alan Shearer. Only Michael Owen (40), Jimmy Greaves (44), Gary Lineker (48) and Sir Bobby Charlton (49) have scored more.

Italy

  • In the last 24 years, Italy have lost only two knock-out games at European Championships or World Cups, excluding penalty shoot-outs. They were beaten 2-1 in the Euro 2000 final against France, and 2-1 by South Korea in the last 16 of the 2002 World Cup.
  • They have lost only two of nine quarter-finals - and both of those were shoot-out defeats (to France at the 1998 World Cup and Spain at Euro 2008).
  • The Azzurri had the best defensive record in Euro 2012 qualifying, conceding just twice.
  • Andrea Pirlo made 2,778 successful passes for Juventus this season - the highest tally of any player in one of the top European leagues.
  • They 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.

_61082378_engita.jpg

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england mite get fingered

don't really want italy playing spain again

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This is gonna be such a disciplined game gonna be like watching Juve vs ac from a decade ago. But I do hope someone goes for it.

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I'm actually looking forward to this and for the first time in yolks I genuinely believe England can win this one tonight.

Going to be a really close game, got Italian next-door neighbours, girlfriend's step dad is Italian, oh this shall be fun.

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England have had the less shots and completed the fewer passes out of all the teams.

The current Italian midifield is good but not scary good - I will expect them to dominate possession to a degree but England will really be able to get at their fullbacks who will be exposed and maybe get 2 v 1's.

I think Hodgson will undoubtedly go with Rooney which makes sense because he will drop into midfield to stop England getting too overrun and can maybe disrupt Pirlo but the idea of Carroll and Welbeck against this Italian defence minus Chilleni looks very good.

Also do you go with Milner who will help defend against Balzaretti or with Walcott who can expose him ?

Whilst Welbeck and Carroll are the sort who can trouble their CB's I think exactly the same is true of Cassano(Fantasia) - he will give Terry and Lescott a much greater problem than a big striker playing right up against them may do.

I think England will nick this one - trying to disrupt Pirlo should be page 1 of playing v Italy but the others to fear such as Cassano with his fantastic movement/ability to find space in between the lines and Marchisio who is due a screamer.

With Motta being out injured I am so surprised Nocerino won't play and hasn't seen the field so far

Nocerino's running power will be too much for Gerrard/Parker and plus he adds an semi goal threat

Balotelli - who knows ? (I was going to go for him to bag the first hat-trick at the Euros but the little voices in my head have over ruled me and said Don Balo will see red)

I think England v Balotelli is a dream come true for the british media

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i hope youve not jinxed it porchy. the opposite of what you say usually happens.

imo the game will be a lot freer than people think. will be an open affair and i have a strong feeling someone will score very early and it will be a free for all.

This game will be won by how well each teams front 2 operate. Welbeck v Balo and Cassano v Rooney. Whoever wins those battles will win the game because i think both teams will be solid in the middle of the park and at the back.,

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balotelli is getting sent off

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wearing my euro 2008 pirlo #21 jersey

Looking forward to this, Montolivo will come in for Motta i'm hearing which is fab..Cassano will do the business for the Azzurri

The two Ghanian boys Mensah-Welbeck & Barwuah-Balotelli could be key, which African will deliver?

They have been very fortunate in getting this far. Against France they were completely outplayed, then they struggled against Sweden and were extremely lucky to win against Ukraine

lool Pirlo >>

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It's the truth though

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Expect much for Marisicho or whatever his name is spelt and Balotelli

He's got dirt on Joe Hart. We saw was Nasri done against Joey lool

Gerrard needs to do these Italians and it would confirm what WE said all along. After Becks..Gerrard should have been captain fuck Terry,Rio etc.

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lol Pirlo talking that smack.

I reckon it will be tight but I'd like to see England try force the tempo of the game.

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I still remember back in 2002

U21 European Championships

When Pirlo was captain, the way he ripped England apart(Hopefully the same again tonight)

Maccarone scored a sick goal

It was on Channel 5

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expecting a very cagey match, first goal wins

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1-1 i reckon

England to win on pens

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buzzing for this, been on the beers since lunch.

cant see us winning this, and tbh it wont be the usual 3 days of darkness and depression if we do lose, as imo we have no right being in this match anyway.

IIIIIIIINGERLAND.

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england mite get fingered

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLL

:lmao:

Teh fark

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I still remember back in 2002

U21 European Championships

When Pirlo was captain, the way he ripped England apart(Hopefully the same again tonight)

Maccarone scored a sick goal

It was on Channel 5

Oh sh*t I remember that

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1-1 i reckon

England to win on pens

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Gerrard and Parker have had it easy

They haven't met a midfield this strong that can pick a pass. They didn't have to worry about something finding space, everything was always infront of them. They'll struggle today imo

Saying that, England will probs win. I want England to reach Semi's so Harry has NO chance of ever managing England

f*ck*ng prick

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LS you really hate Arry

Faaakkkkkk

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Dont know why I have this feeling England are going to win comfortably

but my heads telling me Marchiso, Pirlo, Montolivio (if he starts) Balo & Cassano are going to be too much for Eng to handle

arrrrgghh

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Italy's midfield engine >

Marchisio, Motta, Pirlo, De Rossi

Cassano in the hole

They just need to be clinical today.

LS you really hate Arry

Faaakkkkkk

Got too big for his boots. He's finished. Should of appreciated what he had.

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Reckon today will be cagey like yesterday, like someone said, first goal wins

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italy to dominate

england to win

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Why is Montolivo rated highly?

Yet to see him have a good game outside FM

Italy have a Pirlo already

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