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Preview: Italy vs England – prediction, team news, line-ups

Italy host England on Thursday with both sides bidding to make a winning start to their 2024 European Championship qualifying campaign.

The Azzurri are looking to get back among the elites of international football, having shockingly failed to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.

Their recent history in European Championships is far more encouraging as the current holders of the trophy.

As for England, they remain without any silverware since 1966. They have come closer to glory in recent times but have been unable to get over that final hurdle.

Match Preview

Recent results between the pair comfortably favour the home side. They defeated England in the Euro 2020 final and then took four points off their opponents from a possible six in the Nations League. In fact, from 11 competitive fixtures, England have beaten Italy just once.

However, Gareth Southgate’s side gave a decent account of themselves at the World Cup and looked much improved from their disastrous Nations League campaign. They won three of their five games, exiting in a tight game to finalists France.

However, question marks remain over the visitors’ ability against the top sides. Thursday’s game will be an opportunity to dispel these shouts.

Roberto Mancini’s side have been in patchy form of late. In 2022, they won five games from 11 while losing four, most recently falling to defeat against Austria in a friendly.

But they will take some confidence from their Nations League triumph last year. They finished above England, Germany, and Hungary to progress to the final four.

Neither team can afford to underestimate the importance of this match. With only two nations automatically qualifying and Ukraine and North Macedonia capable of causing an upset, they must be at their best.

International Form


Germany 5-2 Italy
Italy 1-0 England
Hungary 0-2 Italy
Albania 1-3 Italy
Austria 2-0 Italy


England 6-2 Iran
England 0-0 USA
Wales 0-3 England
England 3-0 Senegal
England 1-2 France

Team News

The hosts are without several big names, most notably Federico Chiesa and Ciro Immobile. The pair both suffered minor injuries earlier this month that have kept them out of the international break. Federico Dimarco and Ivan Provedel also withdrew from the squad.

On the other hand, four players could be given their Azzurri debuts. Goalkeepers Marco Carnesecchi and Wladimiro Falcone have been included in the senior squad for the first time, while centre-back Alessandro Buongiorno and Mateo Retegui could also earn their first caps.

England are also without a few of their biggest stars. Raheem Sterling was omitted from the squad through injury, and Marcus Rashford, Mason Mount and Nick Pope all pulled out.

The only potential debutant in Southgate’s roster is Brentford striker Ivan Toney. The 27-year-old was included in the squad in October but didn’t feature.

Italy potential starting line-up:

(4-3-3): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Leonardo Bonucci, Franco Acerbi, Leonardo Spinazzola; Jorginho, Marco Verratti, Nicolo Barella; Domenico Berardi, Gianluca Scamacca, Wilfried Gnonto.

England potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Jordan Pickford; Reece James, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Luke Shaw; Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson; Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden; Harry Kane.

How to Watch

For United Kingdom residents, the game will be available to watch on Channel 4 and All4.

We Say: Italy 1-1 England

This game could go either way, but we expect a tight draw. Both teams have a point to prove and could go all out in the hopes of silencing some critics.

Italy would like to make amends for their failure to reach Qatar, while England are looking to improve their record against the higher-ranked nations.

However, given the relevance of the game in the context of qualifying, it seems more likely that both managers will take a conservative approach. The last five meetings between the two have produced just seven goals.

There should be enough attacking talent on the pitch to produce some goals, but don’t expect this one to be a classic.

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