UEFA Euro Qualifiers PREVIEW | Italy v England

Italy’s road to successfully defending their European title will start when they face England in the qualifiers for Euro 2024 on Thursday at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

England fans still remember that dreadful night at Wembley stadium when the Azzurri clinched the Euro 2020 title by outscoring the Three Lions in the penalty shootout. 

Since lifting the trophy, Italy have been the subject of underwhelming performances as their fragility surfaced when they suffered a second-straight exclusion from the World Cup following a defeat to North Macedonia in the qualification play-offs. 

Apart from the World Cup exclusion, Roberto Mancini’s side couldn’t live up to the expectations as Argentina had a stroll in the park in the Finalissima last year and handed the Azzurri a 3-0 defeat. 

Italy will aim to start this year on a high before embarking on their quest for the Nations League. They topped the group consisting of heavyweights like England, Germany and Hungary to set up a semi-final with Spain later this year. The hosts hold an extraordinary record at home in this competition as they last lost to Denmark in 1999 and it has been 24 years since they lost a Euro qualifier game in a home atmosphere. 

Meanwhile, England will hope for revenge after Italy prevented football from coming home in 2021. The World Cup campaign raised many eyebrows as striker Harry Kane’s second penalty against France found its space in the crowd, thus confirming his team’s knockout from the World Cup as England’s heartbreaks continued. 

There has been much talk about Gareth Southgate’s future but he still remains the manager of The Three Lions. He is set to lead England through uncharted UEFA Nations League B after getting relegated from the League A Group 3 last campaign. 

Results from their last five matches in all competitions





Team News

A host of injuries plague the Italy camp for the upcoming qualifiers. Roberto Mancini has lost Federico Chiesa, Federico Dimarco, Ciro Immobile, Giacomo Raspadori and Ivan Provedel to injuries. 

Emerson Palmieri and Marco Carnesecchi are called up to replace the injured. Wladimiro Falcone and Alessandro Buongiorno are expected to make their first-team debuts in the game. 

England are too missing a lot of key players to injury for the game. Marcus Rasford, Mason Mount and Nick Pope, all first-team starters have pulled out of the squad. 

Harry Kane will aim to break the record of Wayne Rooney as he is just a goal away from becoming his country’s all-time top goalscorer. Striker Ivan Toney has been called up to be second-choice to the Tottenham stalwart. 

Predicted XIs

Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Acerbi, Romagnoli, Spinazzola; Barella, Verratti, Jorginho; Berardi, Retegui, Grifo

England (4-3-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Henderson, Rice, Bellingham; Saka, Kane, Grealish


Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN




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