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Italy v England Preview - Euro Qualifiers Matchday 1

Italy are set to host England, the side who they beat on penalties to win Euro 2020, at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium on Thursday 23 March at 19:45 pm GMT. Gareth Southgate will be hoping his team can get off to a flying start against the European Champions who will want to put the record straight after missing out on the World Cup.


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Italy have endured a torrid reign as European champions, failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup and losing their most recent international 2-0. A win over England would help get the Azzurri back on track and build momentum ahead of next year’s European Championships in Germany - something that Italy fans are desperate to see. 

England have produced some wretched performances in the Nations League, the most infamous being their 3-0 home thrashing to Hungary last June and the 1-0 loss to Italy in September. The World Cup brought some optimism back to the English game, but the Three Lions crashed out at the quarter-final stage once again. 

Controversial Selections

Pressure will be on Gareth Southgate if he fails to beat Italy this week and there is a growing section of the English support who are adamant that a change in the hierarchy be made. 

Players like Harry Maguire, and Kalvin Phillips have been controversially called up the the England despite not playing for their clubs,  whilst Mason Mount was initially selected despite being in poor form for almost the entire season. 

Southgate is aware that Euro 2024 is his last shot at success, and he’ll hope that the Nations League provides a springboard for the Three Lions to build upon. 

Maddison Recalled

Nick Pope, Marcus Rashford, and Mason Mount were all pulled from the squad due to injury, but there is a first call-up for Brentford’s Ivan Toney and a long-overdo call-up for James Maddison. 

The World Cup proved that England can compete with the best when motivated, but this Nations League campaign has yet to set any English players’ hearts on fire. 

Euro 2020 Final Pain

The Three Lions have also have a woeful record against Italy, failing to beat them in all competitions for over a decade and never beating them in a competitive tournament match. 

The pain of the Euro 2020 final is still there and England fans will surely be reminded of that once they lay eyes on Italy’s home colours. 

Italian Squad

Leonardo Bonnuci, Italy’s hero in that fateful game 20 months ago, is in the squad, but his Juventus teammate Manuel Locatelli will miss out. 

Wilfried Gnonto, Jorginho, and Gianluca Scamacca represent Italy’s Premier League players whilst Gianluigi Donnarumma, England’s Euro 2020 nemesis, will most likely start in goal. 

England need to deliver a result in Naples to wash the bad taste of 2022 left in their mouths. A win over Italy won’t be easy, but Southgate needs to start delivering the goods when the odds are stacked against him. 

If England fans think this game is too tricky to win, then they might be forced to temper their expectations for Euro 2024.

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