José Mourinho began his football management career as an interpreter and translator for Sir Bobby Robson in Portugal (Sporting Clube and Porto) and Spain (FC Barcelona).

30 March 2015

Italy versus England: Historical Analysis from 1933 to 2015

Photo credit:
United Nations Information Office,
New York
"Italians lose wars as if they were
 football matches, and football matches
 as if they were wars."

Italy face England for the 26th time in their collective history on Tuesday, 31 March, 2015, in a friendly at Juventus Stadium in Turin.

Discussion Items:

1. Fifth meeting in Turin.
2. Competitive Fixtures.
3. Italian Derivation of "Mister".
4. Historic Record and Trivia.
5. Historic Matches According to RSSSF.

Two historic rivals with different footballing mentalities will meet this Tuesday evening at Juventus Stadium in Turin, Italy. Until 1973, Italy had not defeated the English. In that year, they had a historic "brace": Winning in Turin followed by their famous initial victory at Wembley with a goal by Fabio Capello. The first England win on the Italian peninsula came in 1948 and the last one was in 1961.

The former Italian international, Gianluca Vialli, wrote with Gabriele Marcotti in "The Italian Job," that, "The Italians play with their heads, and the English play with their hearts." 

Let's take a look at their collective history and compelling rivalry since 1933. 

1. Fifth Historic Meeting in Turin

Italy National Team photo ItalyNationalTeam.jpg
Photo credit: AndhikaMPPP.

This will be the fifth time the two teams have met in Turin. England won the first game in 1948 and the Italians were victorious in the next three: 1973, 1980 and 2000, respectively. The only competitive fixture among these Turin matches was their 1980 European Nations Cup group round game.

Tuesday night will be a homecoming for Azzurri manager, Antonio Conte, who led Juventus to glory both as a player and coach. England's manager, Roy Hodgson, also returns to the peninsula where he worked in two separate stints in his long coaching career.

Marco Tardelli scoring the winner on Peter Shilton in 1980
during an European Nations Cup match played in Turin.

Former Italian international, Marco Tardelli, commented during RAI's Sunday evening broadcast, Domenica Sportiva, about Italy versus England on 29 March 2015:

"This match is never a friendly." 

2. Competitive Fixtures
The two countries have faced each other at five international tournaments:
  • 1976 Bicentennial Cup in the USA: 3-2 for England. (1) 
  • 1980 European Nations Cup in Italy: 1-0 for Italy in the group round.
  • 1990 World Cup in Italy: 2-1 for Italy in the Third Place game.
  • Euro 2012 in Ukraine: 4-2 after penalties 0-0 AET in the quarterfinal round.
  • 2014 World Cup in Brazil: 2-1 for Italy in the group round.

Their other four competitive meetings occurred during European Nations Cup qualifications:
  • 1976-1977: Each team won 2-0 at home.
  • 1997: An Italian win in England (1-0) followed by a draw in Italy (0-0) on the return leg. 
(1) The 1976 Bicentennial Cup match (number 11 historically according to RSSSF) in the USA was listed as a competitive fixture. Some statistical organizations count this game as a friendly. 

3. The Italian Derivation of “Mister”
When the English first introduced football to Italy in the late 1800s, early teachers of the game were called “il Mister.” Even today, Italian managers are still called Mister as a sign of respect, along with a historical tie to the past.

For this luxury friendly, there really is an English "Mister" on the other bench. According to his biography at Debrett's, Mr. Roy Hodgson managed Internazionale from 1995 to 1997 and made a brief return in 1999. He had a seventh and third place finish, respectively, and led Inter to the 1997 UEFA Cup final. Mr. Hodgson also managed another Serie A club, Udinese, in 2001, and was sacked after only half of a season at the helm of the Friulian club.

In an interview with Jamie Bradbury of FATV on 29 March 2015, Mr. Hodgson had the following comment:
“I didn’t have many happy moments in Turin,” recalls the Three Lions manager. “Juventus were clearly the best team in the country during my time with many star players. “Apart from one cup victory which we had there, invariably we didn’t get the results we wanted.”

4. Historic Record and Trivia
  • England and Italy have faced each other 25 times since 1933.
  • Italy has won 10 times. The first Italian win came in 1973 at Wembley and the last one was in 2014 at the World Cup.
  • England has won 8 times. The first England win came in 1934 at Highbury and the last one was in a 2012 friendly in Switzerland.
  • There have been 7 draws.
  • 16 of the games have been friendlies. Italy has won 5, England has won 6, and 5 have been draws.
  • of the games have been competitive. Italy has won 5, England 2, and 2 have ended in draws (one after extra time).
  • 11 games have taken place in Italy where the Azzurri have won five times. England has won twice on Italian soil in 1948 and 1961, respectively.
  • 8 games have taken place in England. Italy has won three times on English soil: 1973, 1997 and 2002, respectively. England has won three times at home: 1934, 1949 and 1977.
  • 6 games has taken place on neutral soil: Brazil, France, Mexico, Switzerland, the Ukraine, and USA, respectively.
  • England has won three times on neutral soil: 1976 in the USA, 1997 in France and 2012 in Switzerland, respectively.
  • Italy has won twice on neutral soil: 1985 in Mexico and 2014 in Brazil, respectively. (The Euro 2012 4-2 on penalties 0-0 AET quarterfinal was officially listed as a draw.)
  • 5 games have taken place at international tournaments: Italy has won three, England has won one, and one officially ended in a draw at Euro 2012.
  • The last English competitive win was on 16 November 1977 at Wembley Stadium.
  • Italy has not scored more than two goals in any fixture.
  • England has scored three or more goals on four occasions.
Source: Italy versus England past meetings: BBC Sport-Football: 14 November 2000.
(I have amended matches since 2000 and added other statistical comparisons.)

5. Historic Matches According to Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF)

1. Roma (Stadio Nazionale del P.N.F.) – Saturday, 13 May 1933 – h. 15,30
ITALIA - ENGLAND 1-1 (1-1) Friendly

2. London (Arsenal Stadium, Highbury) – Wednesday, 14 November 1934 – h. 14,30
ENGLAND - ITALIA 3-2 (3-0) Friendly

3. Milano (Stadio Comunale, San Siro) – Saturday, 13 May 1939 – h. 15,00
ITALIA - ENGLAND 2-2 (0-1) Friendly

4. Torino (Stadio Comunale) - Sunday, 16 May 1948 - h. 17,00
ITALIA - ENGLAND 0-4 (0-2) Friendly
Note: First win for England on Italian soil and worst defeat of the entire series.

5. London (Tottenham Stadium) - Wednesday, 30 November 1949 - h. 14,15
ENGLAND - ITALIA 2-0 (0-0) Friendly

6. Firenze (Stadio Comunale) - Sunday, 18 May 1952 - h. 16,00
ITALIA - ENGLAND 1-1 (0-1) Friendly

7. London (Wembley Stadium) - Wednesday, 6 May 1959 - h. 15,00
ENGLAND - ITALIA 2-2 (2-0) Friendly

8. Roma (Stadio Olimpico) - Wednesday, 24 May 1961 - h. 16,00
ITALIA - ENGLAND 2-3 (1-1) Friendly
Note: Second win for England on Italian soil.

9. Torino (Stadio Comunale) - Thursday, 14 June 1973 - h. 18,30
ITALIA - ENGLAND 2-0 (1-0) Friendly
Note: First home win by Italy versus England.

10. London (Wembley Stadium) - Wednesday, 14 November 1973 - h. 20.00
ENGLAND - ITALIA 0-1 (0-0) Friendly
Note: First win for Italy on English soil.

11. New York (Yankee Stadium) - Friday, 28 May 1976 - h. 20,00
ENGLAND - ITALIA 3-2 (0-2) U.S.A. Bicentennial Tournament (2nd match)
Note: First win for England outside of Europe versus Italy.

12. Roma (Stadio Olimpico) - Wednesday, 17 November 1976 - h. 14,30
ITALIA - ENGLAND 2-0 (1-0) II FIFA World Cup (European Qualification Group 2 Match)

13. London (Wembley Stadium) - Wednesday, 16 November 1977 - h. 19,45
ENGLAND - ITALIA 2-0 (1-0) II FIFA World Cup (European Qualification Group 2)

14. Torino (Stadio Comunale) - Sunday, 15 June 1980 - h. 20,30
ITALIA - ENGLAND 1-0 (0-0) IV European Championship of Nations "VI Henri Delaunay Cup" (Group 2)

15. Mexico (Estadio Azteca) - Thursday, 6 June 1985 - h. 14,00
ITALIA - ENGLAND 2-1 (0-0) Friendly
Note: First win for Italy outside of Europe versus England.

16. London (Wembley Stadium) - Wednesday, 15 November 1989 - h. 20,00
ENGLAND - ITALIA 0-0 Friendly

17. Bari (Stadio "San Nicola") - Saturday, 7 July 1990 - h. 20,00
ITALIA - ENGLAND 2-1 (0-0) V FIFA World Cup (Final Phase, 3rd place final)

18. London (Wembley Stadium) - Wednesday, 12 February 1997 - h. 21,00
ENGLAND - ITALIA 0-1 (0-1) VII FIFA World Cup (European Qualification Group 2)
Note: Second win at Wembley Stadium for Italy.

19. Nantes (Stade La Beaujoire) - Wednesday, 4 June 1997 - h. 20,30
ENGLAND - ITALIA 2-0 (2-0) Tournament of France Friendly.

20. Roma (Stadio Olimpico) - Saturday, 11 October 1997 - h. 20,45
ITALIA - ENGLAND 0-0 VII FIFA World Cup (European Qualification Group 2)

21. Torino (Stadio Delle Alpi) - Wednesday, 15 November 2000 - h. 20,45
ITALIA - ENGLAND 1-0 (0-0) Friendly

22. Leeds - Wednesday, 27 March 2002
ENGLAND - ITALIA 1-2 (0-0) Friendly
Note: Third win by Italy on English soil.

23. Kiev ("Stadion Olimpiyskiy") – Sunday, 24 June 2012 – h. 20:45
ITALY - ENGLAND 4-2 after penalties (0-0 a.e.t.) XII European Championship (Quarter final)
24. Bern ("Stadion Wankdorf") – Wednesday 15 August 2012 – h. 20:45
ENGLAND – ITALY 2-1 (1-1) Friendly
25. Manaus ("Arena de Amazonia") – Saturday 14 June 2014 – h. 18:00
ITALY – ENGLAND 2-1 (1-1)  XI FIFA World Cup (Final Phase, Group D, 1st Match)

Source of historical match data: Italy-Results of the National Team: Igor Kramarsic, Roberto Di Maggio, Maurizio Mariani, and Joe Tiziano for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation.

26. Turin ("Juventus Stadium") --- Tuesday, 31 March 2015 --- h. 20:45 
Today's team sheets were courtesy of Simon Peach:

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