England and Italy will meet for the 28th time on Sunday to battle it out for glory in the Euro 2020 final.
Historically, these two teams have often shared the spoils, but it’s Italy who have come out on top more often. Gli Azzurri have picked up 11 wins, with England celebrating eight times and the points being shared a further eight.
Ahead of the big day, here’s take a look at every meeting between England and Italy.
1. Italy 1-1 England (13/05/33)
The first meeting between the two nations came back in May 1933, when England came from behind to secure a 1-1 friendly draw.
At the time, Italy were the most experienced team England had ever faced, so a 1-1 draw was seen as a good result for the Three Lions.
2. England 3-2 Italy (14/11/34)
Highbury November 1934 England v Italy.The Arsenal provide 7 of the England team. Moss, Male, Hapgood, Copping, Bowden, Drake and Bastin. 56,000 watched England beat the reigning world champions 3-2. #arsenal pic.twitter.com/OiZaCdhWw6
— Richard (@mooro611) June 11, 2021
Remembered as ‘The Battle of Highbury’ or ‘The Real World Cup Final’, this was an infamously violent clash between England, seen by many as the best team on the planet, and reigning world champions Italy.
Just two minutes in, Italy’s Luis Monti had his foot broken by Ted Drake – no substitutes for injured players were allowed at the time either – which sparked a wave of ugly retaliation from the visitors.
There was a broken nose, a fractured arm, punches thrown and a whole host of smaller injuries, and England were so furious over the whole thing they even considered withdrawing from international football completely.
3. Italy 2-2 England (13/05/39)
The stadium now known as San Siro hosted an Italian-record 70,000 fans as the Azzurri picked up a 2-2 draw with England.
Both teams had to come from behind in the game, with a draw a fair result when all was said and done.
4. Italy 0-4 England (16/05/48)
The scoreline might suggest a mauling from England, but this was actually far closer than you would think.
England were 2-0 up after 23 minutes, by which point Italy had already had two goals ruled out for offside, but the Three Lions held firm and bagged two more through Tom Finney after the break.
5. England 2-0 Italy (30/11/49)
Tottenham's White Hart Lane in 1949, with England taking on Italy in a friendly international pic.twitter.com/7x8ZIIpXGb
— The Antique Football (@AntiqueFootball) December 20, 2013
Just like before, England were celebrating an impressive result against Italy but were left wanting more from their performance.
Goalkeeper Bert Williams played out of his skin to keep England alive, and late strikes from Jack Rowley and Billy Wright sealed a shaky victory)
6. Italy 1-1 England (18/05/52)
A pretty underwhelming match was marred by the throwing of bottles at England players from the Italian crowd.
There was, however, a fun moment as a plane flew overhead and parachuted in gifts from a Swiss firm of watches for all the players and officials. As you do.
7. England 2-2 Italy (06/05/59)
This game got off to an awkward start as the English hosts accidentally played the banned Mussolini version of the Italian national anthem before the game, despite the fact it had been replaced almost 15 years earlier.
What followed was a decent 90 minutes of football which saw England dominate the first half and Italy take control of the second.
8. Italy 2-3 England (24/05/61)
Italy thought they had this one won after Sergio Brighenti deservedly put them 2-1 up in the 74th minute, but a quick-fire English double flipped the script.
Late goals from Gerry Hitchens and Jimmy Greaves led England to another win, but Italy wouldn’t have to wait much longer to finally come out on top.
9. Italy 2-0 England (14/06/73)
In their very next meeting (albeit 12 years later), Italy finally bagged their first victory over England at the ninth time of asking. Fittingly, it came in a match designed as a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Italian FA.
Pietro Anastasi and Fabio Capello netted the goals, but England had their own moment to celebrate as the great Bobby Moore set a new appearance record on his 107th outing for his country.
10. England 0-1 Italy (13/11/73)
Future England boss Capello was on target yet again as he led Italy to their first ever victory on English shores.
Just like in June, Capello was celebrating and so was Moore, who checked out of international duty with his 108th and final cap.
11. England 3-2 Italy (28/05/76)
— FootballRetroPlus (@robertmdaws) August 13, 2019
Played on a funky half-sand, half-grass mashup of the Yankee Stadium in New York, England regained control of this rivalry with an impressive 3-2 victory.
At the grass end of the field, Italy bagged twice in the first half, only for England to hit three when they were given the chance to attack the best part of the pitch.
12. Italy 2-0 England (16/11/76)
The first official competitive match between these two went to Italy, who dominated England in this World Cup qualifier.
Giancarlo Antognoni netted before the break and Roberto Bettega added one more in the second half to pile the pressure on England boss Don Revie, whose future first came into question because of this result.
13. England 2-0 Italy (16/11/77)
Now under the interim leadership of Ron Greenwood, England got their revenge in the return fixture thanks to an inspired performance from Kevin Keegan.
It wasn’t enough to lead England to the World Cup, however, as their inferior goal difference allowed Italy to keep top spot.
14. Italy 1-0 England (15/06/80)
Keeping the competitive fixture streak going, this next meeting came at Euro 1980, where Italy picked up a 1-0 victory on home soil.
It was an enthralling affair which was decided by a moment of magic from Marco Tardelli, whose volley was just too good for Peter Shilton to keep out.
15. England 1-2 Italy (06/06/85)
Back on the friendly scene, Italy continued their dominance over England with a dramatic 2-1 win which ended in controversial fashion.
Both teams looked ready to take a 1-1 draw when, in the 88th minute, Italy were left stunned when they were awarded a penalty which they didn’t even believe they were going to get. Alessandro Altobelli stepped up and sealed the win.
To make it worse for England, Gary Lineker had a clear penalty shout waved away deep into injury time.
16. England 0-0 Italy (15/11/89)
A pretty dull goalless draw here, although England came close to winning it and perhaps should have sealed the victory late on.
Lineker did have the ball in the back of the net, only for an obstruction from Terry Butcher to force the referee to rule it out.
17. Italy 2-1 England (07/07/90)
Sir Bobby Robson’s final game as manager and Shilton’s final game in goal came in the third-placed play-off of the 1990 World Cup, which ended in the Italians’ favour.
A sloppy mistake from Shilton gifted Roberto Baggio an opener, and although David Platt headed home late on, an 85th-minute penalty from Toto Schillaci saw Italy take home the bronze medal.
18. England 0-1 Italy (12/02/97)
The two teams didn’t meet again for another seven years, but Italy remained on top in this duel.
Led by Cesare Maldini, the father of starting centre-back Paolo, Italy won this World Cup qualifier thanks to a first-half strike from Gianfranco Zola.
19. England 2-0 Italy (04/06/97)
Playing at the unofficial Tournoi de France, England picked up their first victory over Italy in 20 years with an impressive performance.
Glenn Hoddle’s blend of youth and experience worked perfectly against an admittedly second-string Italian side, with a certain Paul Scholes stealing the show on his first international start.
20. Italy 0-0 England (11/10/97)
Needing a point to qualify for the 1998 World Cup, England battled to exactly that in what was an infamously brutal clash between the two teams.
Paul Ince was left with a blood-soaked shirt and a head bandage after being caught by a rogue elbow early on – a wound which opened up again later on to provide more horror theatre – before Angelo Di Livio was given his marching orders for persistent late challenges.
While all that was going on, England fans were locked in a violent battle with the police, all while being pelted by projectiles from the Italian supporters.
21. Italy 1-0 England (15/11/00)
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) November 15, 2017
Gennaro Gattuso’s worldie proved to be the difference between the two sides in their first meeting this century.
A youthful England side were massive underdogs against Italy but earned plenty of praise for their spirited performance which required a moment of magic from Gattuso to overcome.
22. England 1-2 Italy (27/03/02)
After a thoroughly underwhelming first half, this friendly from March 2002 sprung into life after the break.
Robbie Fowler opened the scoring on the hour mark but Vincenzo Montella fired back soon after, and the Italy striker broke hearts when he scored with the final kick of the game from the penalty spot.
In what could be the most ‘friendly match’ thing possible, only two of the 22 starters actually completed the 90 minutes, and both were on the Italian team.
23. England 0-0 Italy (2-4 penalties) (24/06/12)
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) May 19, 2021
England crashed out of the Euro 2012 quarter-final after yet another penalty heartbreak.
Roy Hodgson’s men gave their all, but truthfully, they just weren’t good enough against an impressive Italy side, who got the victory they deserved in a penalty shoot-out which featured Andrea Pirlo’s iconic Panenka against Joe Hart.
24. Italy 1-2 England (15/08/12)
52 days later, England got some minor revenge as they picked up a 2-1 win in a pre-season friendly game.
Handing debuts to no fewer than five players, Hodgson led his side back from a goal down to seal the win through goals from Phil Jagielka and Jermain Defoe.
25. England 1-2 Italy (15/06/14)
ON THIS DAY: In 2014, Mario Balotelli scored the winner as Italy beat England 2-1 in their World Cup opener in Manaus. pic.twitter.com/z6zjVDI5J3
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 14, 2017
It’s probably best not to remind England fans about this one, or the entire 2014 World Cup campaign in general.
Claudio Marchisio put Italy 1-0 up but saw his strike cancelled out soon after by Daniel Sturridge, whose goal sent physio Gary Lewin so wild that he actually dislocated his ankle.
The final blow came from Mario Balotelli, who headed home a winner shortly after the break.
26. Italy 1-1 England (31/03/15)
Graziano Pelle’s first-half header looked to be steering Italy towards victory in this friendly, but Andros Townsend had something to say about that with a ferocious late equaliser.
It wasn’t the best match you’ll ever see, but it did teach us one thing: Phil Jones is absolutely not a midfielder.
27. England 1-1 Italy (27/03/18)
The last meeting between these two came all the way back in March 2018, when VAR chimed in to deny England a victory.
Jamie Vardy gave England a deserved lead early on and Gareth Southgate’s men battled to stay in front until the 86th minute, when VAR awarded Italy a penalty following a foul from James Tarkowski.
It was hardly the clear-and-obvious error it was supposed to be fixing, but Lorenzo Insigne didn’t care as he stepped up to stroke home the penalty and seal a draw.