ITALY- ENGLAND | 23/03/2023

Taking the first step towards defending their continental crown, Italy welcome England to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona for Thursday’s Euro 2024 qualifying Group C opener. The Azzurri ensured that football would not come home when they defeated the Three Lions on penalties in the Euro 2020 final, but Roberto Mancini’s champions have since lost their sparkle.

Rewind a little under two years and it was Italy and England playing out the delayed Euro 2020 final, but with Euro 2024 rapidly approaching, they’ve been drawn alongside each other at the qualification stage. The two are widely tipped to take Group C’s top-two spots, but with the psychological advantage of a six-game unbeaten run against England (W3, D3), Italy may fancy they can stamp some early authority on top-spot.

Giacomo Raspadori scored the winning goal for Italy in the last H2H, a 1-0 win in the Nations League, and incredibly he wasn’t even born when Italy last lost at home in a European qualifier! That defeat came to Denmark in 1999, and the Italian’s strong qualifying affiliation is further highlighted by the fact you’d have to go back to 2006 for the last time Italy tasted defeat in a Euro qualifier anywhere (W34, D6), winning the last 14 of those.

Despite bemoaning the number of players he has to choose from, England boss Gareth Southgate was still able to select a 25-man squad of players who play week in and week out at the highest level. Some might say that Southgate is getting his excuses in early after a disappointing Nations League relegation and World Cup quarter-final exit left a portion of the England fan base questioning whether he’s the man for the job.

The pressure is truly on to deliver a major European trophy to England for the first time since 1966, but Southgate has proved he can rise to pressure and is now just one win away from becoming the third manager to win 50 games in charge of England. But he appears to have his work cut out to secure that feat here, with England’s last away win against Italy coming back in 1961 – a 3-2 friendly victory decided by a late Jimmy Greaves goal.


Date: 24/03/2023
Time: 21:45
Venue: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona (Naples)
Pick for this Match:
“2” – @ 2.35 ( BETWINNER )

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