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International friendly: England 2 Italy 1

16 August 2012 00:05

England came from behind to beat their Euro 2012 conquerors Italy 2-1 in an international friendly in Switzerland.

Italy captain Daniele De Rossi's header gave his side the lead before Phil Jagielka equalised with a similar effort and the Three Lions' victory was completed by Jermain Defoe's stunning 25-yard effort.

Jack Butland and Tom Cleverley made their senior international debuts in England's starting XI, with the former becoming England's youngest-ever goalkeeper in the process, while the returning Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard lined up alongside Manchester United's Cleverley in the centre.

The Azzurri also included a debutant pairing in their attack, AC Milan's Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia Destro - recently signed by Roma - making their bow for Cesare Prandelli's side.

The Italians included Federico Balzaretti, Ignazio Abate and De Rossi from the side that knocked the Three Lions out of Euro 2012 on penalties, while just Ashley Young remained in Roy Hodgson's side from that clash.

In a quiet opening, the best chances were found from set-pieces, with Angelo Ogbonna thumping a header over in the opening minutes, while English striker Andy Carroll also got too much on his headed effort from Lampard's corner.

Italy took the lead on 15 minutes, again from a set-piece. Alessandro Diamanti's corner was drifted into the centre and De Rossi lost Carrick before flicking his header over Butland and into the net.

The Italians continued to press immediately afterwards, although Adam Johnson forced a save out of Salvatore Sirigu in between Destro's header being comfortably saved by Butland and the former Inter striker's wide effort on goal after latching onto a long ball over the top from Alberto Aquilani.

Hodgson's men continued to press, however, and grabbed an equaliser just before the half-hour mark through Jagielka as the Everton man's diving header from Lampard's corner zipped into the net with no man on the post for the Italians.

England looked energised after the goal. A flowing move between Young and Cleverley found Lampard who forced Sirigu into a smart save from distance, before Butland had to be alert up the other end to turn away Diamanti's dangerous cross with Destro again lurking.

Substitutions were predictably seen at half-time with Defoe and John Ruddy replacing Carroll and Butland for England while Atalanta's Federico Peluso came on for his Italy debut in place of Balzaretti.

Destro forced a good save out of Ruddy with a low effort and the forward's grit was again on show as he blustered his way into the area only being denied by a last-ditch Cahill challenge that fell to Aquilani but the former Liverpool man's ball to Abate was poor and the chance wasted.

Substitute James Milner made a fine impact as patient play from England eventually found the winger in a dangerous position, and his whipped cross deflected off Ogbonna and was well cleared by Davide Astori.

The 26-year-old again caused trouble for the Italians as he sent in a fine free kick that Peluso almost turned into his own net, Sirigu clawing the ball away to Joleon Lescott but the defender was unable to turn the ball in.

Ryan Bertrand was brought on for Leighton Baines for his senior England bow and was immediately called upon to hack the ball off the line from an Italian corner.

In an instant, England burst up the other end with Defoe found in the channel, with little options available, the Tottenham striker cut inside and unleashed a swerving shot from the corner of the box that Sirigu could only palm into the net.

The Azzurri had half-hearted shouts for a penalty turned down as Abate's shot deflected up onto Lescott, with the Italians claiming in vain for a handball.

Defoe was close to notching another in stoppage time, but Astori was on hand to turn away Milner's cross with the Tottenham man awaiting a tap-in and the Three Lions held on for their first win over Italy since 1997.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 1 +2 3
2 1 +2 3
3 1 +1 3
4 1 +1 3
5 1 +1 3
6 1 +1 3
7 1 +1 3
8 1 +1 3
9 1 +0 1
10 1 +0 1
11 1 +0 1
12 1 +0 1
13 1 -1 0
14 1 -1 0
15 1 -1 0
16 1 -1 0
17 1 -1 0
18 1 -1 0
19 1 -2 0
20 1 -2 0

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