Euro 2020 final: From one night in Rome to Pirlo’s Panenka – England vs Italy classics

England have reached the final of Euro 2020 where they will take on Italy at Wembley on Sunday.It will be the 28th meeting between the two nations, with the most recent three years ago in London when Jamie Vardy’s opener was cancelled out by a late Lorenzo Insigne penalty.

Here, we look at five memorable clashes between the teams ahead of Sunday’s final.

England 1 Italy 2 – June 14 2014

It was the Italians who kept their cool in the sweltering heat in Manaus when Mario Balotelli’s header in the second half consigned Roy Hodgson’s men to defeat in their 2014 World Cup opener. Put in a tricky group, Claudio Marchisio fired Italy in front after 35 minutes after Raheem Sterling’s long-range strike had hit the side-netting. Daniel Sturridge cancelled out the opener before half-time but Balotelli had the final say with a close-range effort which set the wheels in motion for the Three Lions to produce their worst showing at a World Cup.

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England 0 Italy 0 (Italy win 4-2 on penalties) – June 24 2012

England bowed out of Euro 2012 following more penalty shoot-out disappointment. With Hodgson taking over from Fabio Capello a month before the tournament started, a quarter-final exit was a respectable performance – but the Azzurri were a class above during 120 minutes of football in Kiev. Ashley Young and Ashley Cole failed from the spot while Andrea Pirlo’s sumptuous Panenka showed the difference in quality between the teams.

Italy 0 England 0 – October 11 1997

“…And then one night in Rome we were strong – we had grown.” Glenn Hoddle’s team produced a performance that inspired that line in the re-release of ‘Three Lions’ and secured qualification for the World Cup. Requiring a point to qualify for the France 98, the Three Lions got the job done with Paul Ince captain for the night, leaving the pitch at full-time with a blood-stained bandage around his head.

Italy 2 England 1 – July 7 1990

Italy and England were both left feeling like the bridesmaids after they contested the third-place play-off at Italia 90 following painful World Cup semi-final defeats. In what would prove Peter Shilton’s last appearance for his country, the 125-cap veteran was at fault for Roberto Baggio’s opener. David Platt capped a fine individual tournament with another goal – but a spot-kick by Salvatore Schillaci earned the hosts a victory which saw them secure third place.

Italy 1 England 0 – June 15 1980

Ron Greenwood watched his side struggle to create chances against a typically rock solid Italian defence before Marco Tardelli’s second-half goal ended England’s hopes of progress at the 1980 European Championships. Midfielder Tardelli fired in from close range to seal a narrow victory which kept the Italians in the hunt for glory on home soil. England bowed out of the eight-team tournament in the group stage, while Italy could only reach the third-place play-off, eventually beaten on penalties by the Czech Republic.

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