World Cup 2010
Match Reports

England 2 Italy 0
Tournoi de France
Nantes, France - Wednesday 4 June 1997

There were six player changes to England's team who played in the victory over Poland in Katowice last Saturday. Hoddle said that he wanted to experiment with his squad during this tournament and he was doing just that. Seaman, Lee, Campbell and Shearer were all rested, while Gary Neville and Paul Gascoigne made second half appearances. Phil Neville (playing wide right) received his third England cap and Paul Scholes (as an attacking midfielder) made his first start for his country. Wright took over from Shearer to partner Sheringham, and Pearce and Keown came into the defence. Beckham also made his first appearance as a central midfielder which turned out to be an excellent position to play him.

During the opening fifteen minutes it seemed that England were going to be swamped by the Italians. After only ten minutes Keown was troubled by Casiraghi who played the ball back to Di Matteo. Finding his Chelsea team mate, Zola, free, Di Matteo supplied Zola the ball who's header just went wide of England's goal. The Chelsea pair were involved again in another good Italian attack minutes later when Zola found Di Matteo on the left. Di Matteo ran past Keown but Pearce tackled the Italian to stop further ground being gained and cutting out the possibility of the shot. Unfortuately Di Matteo was injured by Pearce during this challenge and required to be substituted.

After not the best start, England began to find their form and proceeded to play some smooth football. In the 26th minute Scholes played the ball 30 yards to Wright who smashed the ball passed Peruzzi and into the goal. England had taken the lead.

Five minutes later Manchester United youngsters Phil Neville and David Beckham combined. Neville on the edge of the area fired a left foot shot but Peruzzi captured the ball at his second attempt. With just two minutes of the first half remaining Pearce started an attacking move when he sent a long ball to Ian Wright. The Arsenal striker tapped the ball on to Scholes, who had broken away from Benarrivo, and rocketed the ball with a left foot volley into the net.

Italy tried to get back in the game in the second half and begun spritely, making Flowers save from Casiraghi, but after this attempt the Italians hardly troubled the England goalkeeper for the rest of the evening. Keown prevented Zola taking a shot after an hour of play, when he timed to perfection his tackle on the forward.

England came close to scoring a third twenty minutes from full-time. Scholes sort out Phil Neville, who's cross was put just wide by his brother Gary. The final score was 2-0, as England recorded their first win over Italy since November 1977. It was an excellent display by Hoddle's side in the Stade de la Beaujoire. With all four teams in the Tournoi de France having played one game, England are topping the table.

This win by England was a double blow for Italy, after England beat Poland last weekend to take them just one point behind Italy in EUFA's Group 2 for qualification for next year's World Cup. Both countries have played the same number of games in that competition.

After the game a happy Glenn Hoddle said, "These are a different set of circumstances going into this game than there will be when we get to Italy. We played a lot of youngsters and we are absolutely delighted with the result. Rome, though, is for another day."


Flowers, Pearce, Keown, Southgate, P Neville, Ince, Beckham, Scholes, Le Saux (G Neville 46 mins), Sheringham (Gascoigne 79 mins), Wright (Andy Cole 77 mins).
Subs Not Used: Seaman, Shearer, Lee, Campbell, Scales, Batty, Clark, Martyn.

Peruzzi, Ferrara (Nesta 46 min), Costacurta, Cannavaro, Di Livio (Maini 46 mins), Benarrivo, Baggio, Albertini, Di Matteo (Fuser 18 mins), Zola, Casiraghi.
Subs Not Used: Pagliuca, Torrisi, Viere, Del Piero, Inzaghi, Chiesa, Lombardo, Panucci.

Match Details

England Scorers: Wright (26 mins), Scholes (43 mins)

England Cautions: Beckham, Scholes, Ince, Gascoigne
Italy Cautions: Cannavaro, Nesta

Referee: M Renko (Austria)

Attendance: 30,000