Italy took the lead against their friendly neighbors Spain at the hour mark and looked on course for a narrow win only for La Roja to restore parity ten minutes from time. With no more goals in the remainder of the game, a penalty shootout ensued to separate the two teams. The Azzurri missed their first spot-kick but recovered to convert their next four and seal a tense 4-2 shootout victory to reach their fourth European Championship final.
Meanwhile, England became the first team in European Championship history to start their campaign with five successive clean sheets. That run came to an end against Denmark, though, when Mikkel Damsgaard bulged the English net with a sumptuous free-kick beyond the outstretched Jordan Pickford. Undeterred by the setback, the Three Lions provided a swift riposte and scored another in extra time to reach their first major final in 55 years and their first at the Euros.
Euro 2020 has got the final it deserved, as both England and Italy have arguably been the two best teams in the tournament. The Three Lions and the Azzurri are no strangers on the big stage, though, having locked horns against each other in eight previous competitive meetings, including twice in the last decade.
Ahead of Sunday’s blockbuster Euro 2020 finale, let’s have a look at what happened in the last five competitive meetings between England and Italy.
Spoiler Alert: England are winless against Italy in their last five competitive games.#5 1990 FIFA World Cup Third-Place Playoff (Bari) – Italy 2:1 England
In a game neither team wanted to play in, hosts Italy beat England 2-1 in Bari to finish third at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
That was because in the semi-finals, both teams endured heartbreaking 3-4 penalty shootout losses, with Italy falling to Argentina in Napoli and England failing to get the better of West Germany in Torino.
Coming to the third-place playoff game, Italy took the lead when Roberto Baggio beat the England keeper Peter Shilton in the 71st minute. David Platt helped restore parity for the Three Lions nine minutes from time, only for Toto Schillaci to grab the winner for Italy in the 85th minute.
#4 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualifier (London) – England 0:1 Italy
Italy beat England by a solitary goal at the Wembley in London in a key qualifying game for the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola scored the only goa
Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola scored the only goal of the game after putting the finishing touches on an Italian counterattack in the ninth minute.
1997 – Italy haven’t visited Wembley to face England since February 1997 in a 1998 World Cup qualifier – they won 1-0 with a goal from Gianfranco Zola. Magician. pic.twitter.com/NjmvMOvIRf
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 27, 2018
England asked stern questions of the Italian defence, but the Azzurri hung on for the win to hand Three Lions manager Glenn Hoddle his first loss.
The two teams would renew acquaintances again later in the year, with both Italy and England making it to the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.