Progression into the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championship remains up for grabs for both theEngland Under-21s and Italy Under-21s in this week’s final round of group fixtures.
The Young Lions need a result against the Azzurrini to book a place in the final four from Group B, while anything less than a victory for Italy will send them home from the Czech Republic.
England Under-21s possible starting lineup:
Butland; Jenkinson, Moore, Gibson, Garbutt; Redmond, Hughes, Chalobah, Lingard; Ings, Kane
Italy Under-21s possible starting lineup:
Bardi; Biraghi, Rugani, Romagnoli, Zappacosta; Crisetig, Benassi, Battochio; Cataldi, Belotti, Berardi
Head To Head
England and Italy are no strangers to one another having having met four times in the tournament already since 2000.
In the competition two years ago, Lorenzo Insigne scored the single goal of the opening Group B match to defeat England and Devis Mangia‘s side went on to progress to the final, which they lost, while Stuart Pearce‘s Young Lions went home finishing bottom of the group.
Overall, the two nations have gone head to head competitively 12 times, with Italy just on top with five wins, compared to England’s four, while on three occasions nothing could separate them.
In terms of scoring statistics, Italy have edged ahead of England again with 13 goals compared to their opponent’s tally of 11.
We say: England U21 1-0 Italy U21
Neither side have been particularly prolific on the goal front, with both nations having scored just one goal apiece so far, but the reason why we see England winning it, is the quality they have up front. Kane may be struggling at the moment to find the back of the net, but it’s been proven in the past what he is capable of.
With the possibility of Ings and Lingard coming into the starting XI, the Young Lions may be better at converting their chances, 36 of which they’ve created in the tournament so far. Italy have had 26 attempts of their own so far in the Czech Republic, but considering that they need all three points to progress into the semi-final stage and have only scored once so far, the task could be too much for them.