England and Italy have had their fair share of battles this past century, let alone throughout their history. Perhaps the most notable of all - in a footballing context - was the pre-World War II international match between the two nations in November 1934 that was dubbed, with hindsight, the Battle of Highbury, due to the violent intensity that was displayed on the field.
England emerged victorious by a 3-2 scoreline, but had to make do with less men due to a robust Ted Drake challenge that took out Italian defender Luis Monte. Throughout the fixture, feet were broken, arms were fractured, and players were relentlessly punched as a chaotic free-for-all ensued.
Seventy five years later there could again be a historic showdown between the two countries as all the Italian Champions League representatives have been drawn against English opposition, and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo has, ahead of their clash against Internazionale, sent out warring cries that it has to be: "kill, or be killed."
He further told the official website of UEFA: "From now on, all games are important. It's time to kill or be killed. Whoever loses will exit the competition and we don't want to lose, we don't want to get stuck along the way. It will be a difficult game, but I think that Manchester United have a better team, and we'll do our best to win it."
Ronaldo though, also spoke of the need to treat the back-to-back Scudetto winners with "respect," saying, "They're a good side and first in Serie A so we need to be very careful. They're a team with very experienced players, but we also have our aces and great players. We have a more experienced team, we're the reigning champions. It will be a good game, a well-contested game, and the better team will win."
Manchester United famously lifted the most prestigious trophy in club football in an all-English final in Moscow last year, and will use that taste of success as a source of motivation. Ronaldo scored a thumping header during open-play, but missed his penalty in the shoot-out, and revealed his relief at seeing Dutch international Edwin van der Sar beat Nicolas Anelka's effort clear of his line.
"I always had a great ambition to win the Champions League, because it isn't obtainable for every player. It was my first Champions League win, so the emotion was spectacular. I remember Edwin van der Sar saving Nicolas Anelka's penalty and for me it was like the earth stood still, it was a really brilliant sensation. Sometimes we can't control our emotions."
He continued: "The Champions League is unique. When you hear the music and you come out on to the pitch, you feel you're part of a game that is completely different to all the others. It is already the most evenly-balanced competition in football in my opinion and it is spectacular to play in.
"It's every player's ambition to be a part of the Champions League, and they would all like to win it. I've had that privilege, and I hope to repeat that very soon," he concluded.
At the time of writing, Manchester United had already embarked on their plane journey to Milan. Their clash with Inter kicks-off on Tuesday evening at 19:45 GMT.
There were various defensive worries for United, but both Jonny Evans and John O'Shea have travelled.
Alan Dawson, Goal.com