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 Post subject: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:22 am 
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Euro 2012 quarter-final: England v Italy

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

Coverage: BBC One, BBC One HD, BBC Sport website and BBC Radio 5 live



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.

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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.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:36 pm 
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So who thinks England can win tonight?

I feel lucky today. So I say we might do, yes.

All that hype is unnecessary and unhelpful, but I still think that there's something different about this England side, in their attitude (not so much more quality, unfortunately lol), so I think we have a decent chance of Roy Hodgson's England doing the unlikely and actually beating them tonight. Might go to pens, but I still think we might do it.

History isn't on my side I know :lol: Predictions?

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:16 pm 
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I think England will win on pens, after a dull 1-1 game.

Having said that I've probably jinxed them now, just like I did France yesterday. :p

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:08 pm 
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Without Chiellini Italy are vulnerable especially with De Rossi - he's great but it's not his positiona dn he can have lapses. "Catennacio" won't work for England though, imho. I still don't see you guys as great penalty takers!

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:00 pm 
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Riquelminho wrote:
I think England will win on pens, after a dull 1-1 game.

Having said that I've probably jinxed them now, just like I did France yesterday. :p


Oh I still think we're underdogs, but I think we might sneak it... IF we work hard and play well, and they don't lol - and we have that bit of luck. So not totally out of the question for us.

Not sure I fancy pens though! It'll be so nerve wracking it'll be like watching United. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:40 pm 
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England will win .. not sure why but maybe roy factor and i want him to succeed at first rather than england .. :p

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:30 pm 
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Hope Rooney scores first, was given a £10 free bet off Paddy Power so I put it on him FGS. They can concede as many as they want after that.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:51 pm 
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Missed the Italy chance, but how the hell did England miss that?! :hmm:

Reedo wrote:
Hope Rooney scores first, was given a £10 free bet off Paddy Power so I put it on him FGS. They can concede as many as they want after that.


As loyal as ever. :rolleyes: :lol: Hope you win.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:59 pm 
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You nearly won then mate! What were the odds you got?

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Not so Super Mario letting England off the hook, and just at the wrong time right before half time.

Not so sure England can afford to miss any more chances with Italy creating so much.

And right on cue... there's Rooney not making the most of one. And there's Balotelli again! It's end to end alright! We just need a goal now to steady the nerves.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:59 pm 
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Young has been atrocious.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:03 pm 
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borocooper wrote:
Young has been atrocious.


Very poor all tournament long, tbh.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:09 pm 
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At his very worst tonight..would've had him off before Milner tonight. We've lost it completely here.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:19 pm 
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Is it just me or has Terry struggled massively all game with the pace and movement of Balotelli?

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:20 pm 
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He's done better than Lescott imo. But that isn't saying much.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:32 pm 
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Parkers final ball has been awful too.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:44 pm 
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Henderson....

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:47 pm 
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borocooper wrote:
Henderson....


I wasn't expecting that tbh, despite Parker needing a rest. :blink: Mind you, I've not seen the bench don't suppose we have too many midfielders on it.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:06 pm 
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No idea how we aren't about 4 down here.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 pm 
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Danny was well below par..him and Gerrard look tired from the get go! Wonder what they did in training?! Young was awful - I'm really waiting on him to up hi game overall. England survived on luck there.

Penalties - dramatic as usual with Ingerlund!

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