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Friendlies

  • 15 August 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Wankdorfstadion, Bern
  • Referee: S. Kever
  • • Attendance: 15000
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England - Italy Preview: Three Lions face Euro 2012 rematch

After the cruel mistress of penalties left a familiar taste in the country's mouths in Ukraine, Roy Hodgson's side face Cesare Prandelli's men once more in Switzerland

  PROBABLE LINEUPS
ENGLAND

Ruddy
Walker, Jagielka, Cahill, Bertrand
Carrick, Lampard 
Milner, Cleverley, Young

Carroll

ITALY


Sirigu
Abate, Astori, Ogbonna, Balzaretti
Nocerino, De Rossi, Verratti
 Diamanti

Destro, El Shaarawy


With the clash just days before the start of the new Premier League season, Roy Hodgson has named an experimental squad in order to avoiding sparking any club-versus-country rows.

The national team boss will be without No.1 keeper Joe Hart, who missed Manchester City's Community Shield win over Chelsea with a back strain, so Jack Butland could come in for his first senior appearance after featuring at the Olympic Games for Team GB. Norwich City man John Ruddy, however, is likely to start after being picked ahead of Butland for the Euro 2012 squad before withdrawing due to injury.

Daniel Sturridge will miss the clash in Switzerland with a toe complaint while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has also been forced to pull out. Hodgson has been boosted by Michael Carrick's return to the international scene, though, after his high-profile absence from the team in Poland and Ukraine.

The former Liverpool manager believes that Andy Carroll will be in the right frame of mind to play despite ongoing speculation about the striker's future at Anfield, while Tom Cleverley is among the players looking to break into the senior side after the London Games and should feature for what would be his first full cap.

Italy will be without Premier League star Mario Balotelli, who is suffering from an eye infection, while Cesare Prandelli is missing all players from Juventus and Napoli due to the two clubs' involvement in Sunday's Supercoppa Italiana match in Beijing.

Therefore, the Azzurri coach has decided to name eight uncapped players in his squad for the friendly, including AC Milan's Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio and Francesco Acerbi, as well as three players from Atalanta, who returned to Serie A last season.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • The friendly match will act as an experimental warm-up match for Hodgson and his England side ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in September against Moldova and Ukraine.
  • Birmingham's Jack Butland (pictured right) could add his first full senior England cap to four Olympic appearances for Team GB despite only having so far played in the fourth tier of English football while on loan at Cheltenham Town.
  • The last time that the two sides met, Italy beat England 4-2 on penalties in the Euro 2012 quarter-final following a 0-0 draw after extra-time. The Azzurri went on to lose 4-0 in the final against Spain.
  • The clash will be held at the Stade de Suisse Wankdorf in Berne, Switzerland.
  • Italy have won nine out of 23 ties with England, with the Three Lions winning seven games and the remaining seven drawn.
  • England have won just one of their last 10 matches with Italy, beating the Azzurri 2-0 15 years ago during 'Le Tournoi'.

Players to watch

M. Carrick

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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In a game where there are a number of young, exciting players such as Cleverley looking to break into Hodgson's plans as he looks ahead to the World Cup in two years time with many calling for revolution, it's interesting that 31-year-old Michael Carrick, who announced his retirement before the tournament due to a lack of opportunities, has earned and accepted a call-up to the squad.

One of England's big problems over the years has been ball retention, and the Manchester United midfielder can definitely help in that area. He has a good passing range and is also capable of tracking back and making tackles; the only thing counting against him is his age. With youngsters such as Jack Rodwell and Jake Livermore coming through into the senior side, impressing here could be Carrick's only way back into the England set up in time for one last shot in Brazil.

S. El Shaarawy

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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The 19-year-old AC Milan man has earned his first senior call-up to the national side for the clash on Wednesday, and has the potential to explode onto the scene. Mainly used as a substitute with the Italian giants last season, he managed four goals and two assists across all competitions, with a number of classy displays earning him a contract extension until 2017 after rumoured Premier League interest.

The speedy forward, who made his debut for former club Genoa aged 16, has represented Italy from Under-16 level right up to the Under-21s and will be familiar with some of the opponents that he will try to dazzle after facing English opposition in the shape of Arsenal and Chelsea with his club.

Editor's Prediction

Both managers will be looking for their young sides to take their chance and impress on the big stage on Wednesday night, but as with most friendlies let's hope it doesn't get too experimental and therefore harm the flow of the game. Hodgson's England squad has plenty of pace and exciting attacking talent; what remains to be seen, though, is the efficient use of a fluent system so it will be interesting to see how the Three Lions take shape. Italy too have a fairly inexperienced list of players looking to stake their claim which should make for a close encounter, much like the Euro 2012 quarter-final, but for different reasons.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

England

Italy

Wins
1
0
4
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

England ENG
England England
Draw
Italy ITA
Italy Italy
30%
15%
55%

Top 3 Predictions

England ENG
0 - 2
Italy ITA
England ENG
1 - 2
Italy ITA
England ENG
2 - 1
Italy ITA

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