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Dates To Remember

Will England Or Italy Turn The Heat On Uruguay?

The next standout game in our new Dates to Remember feature is the Group D clash between England and Italy.

Date: 14 June

Time: 00:00 (SA time, 15 June)

Stadium: Arena Amazonia

Group: D

When you think of England against Italy you would expect a great football rivalry with lots of historical matches, but the two sides have only met once at the World Cup.

The so called motherland of football and the four-time World Cup winner met in the third-place play-off at the 1990 World Cup.

Both sides had lost their semi-finals in penalty shootouts and the game wasn’t really one to remember, ending 2-1 for Italy.

The Azzurri are only one of four teams (Brazil, Uruguay and Romania being the other three) to have an advantage over England in a head-to-head comparison.

England’s biggest ever victory against Italy came in 1948, when the Three Lions beat the then World Cup champions 4-0.

The last competitive meeting between the two came at the 2012 EURO. The close game finished 0-0 after 120 minutes, but England were defeated in the following penalty shootout (as so often at major tournaments).

Both sides finished their 2014 World Cup qualification groups unbeaten, with six wins and four draws respectively. But while England qualified with a goal-difference of 31-4, Italy had many close games and finished with 19-9 goals.

In Brazil, England will be slightly more under pressure, because their second group match will be against Uruguay (remember another nation against which they have a negative head-to-head record).

Roy Hodgson will build his team around Wayne Rooney and hope that the likes of Steven Gerrard and Gary Cahill can bring their club form to South America.

Cesare Prandelli, meanwhile, will be keen that the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon and Mario Balotelli can repeat their performance from the 2012 EURO.

England against Italy, who is your money on? Have your say in the comment section below.

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