Jermain Defoe's sumptuous late winner
handed England a 2-1 international friendly victory over Italy
in Berne on Wednesday and a modicum of revenge for their Euro
2012 quarter-final penalty shootout loss to the Azzurri.
Substitute Defoe, netting for the 16th time in 49
internationals, capped a rapid counter-attack 11 minutes from
time when he curled in from just outside the penalty area.
It was England's first victory over Italy since 1997 and
came little over seven weeks since Cesare Prandelli's side beat
England 4-2 on spot-kicks in Kiev after a goalless 120 minutes.
Both sides were unrecognisable from that June 24 meeting,
fielding young and experimental sides before the serious
business of 2014 World Cup qualifying starts next month.
Captain Daniele De Rossi headed Italy in front after 15
minutes when he met an inswinging corner from Alessandro
Diamanti and powerfully headed past debutant goalkeeper Jack
Butland into the roof of the net.
Butland, 19, became the youngest keeper to play for England
despite never having played in the country's top two divisions.
England hit back 12 minutes later from another set piece,
defender Phil Jagielka ignoring the attentions of Federico
Balzaretti to stoop to head in Frank Lampard's corner for his
first international goal.
"It was great to be able to give some of the senior players
a rest and to be able to blood some new players, some fresh
talent and they answered the challenge in the best possible way
with a great victory," England manager Roy Hodgson told ITV.
"I don't think there was a great difference between what we
did in the Euros and what we did tonight. Perhaps we just played
with that little bit more composure."
As well as Butland, Hodgson blooded midfielder Tom Cleverley
and handed debuts after the break to keeper John Ruddy, defender
Ryan Bertrand and midfielder Jake Livermore. Midfielder Michael
Carrick also made his first international start since 2010.
Italy, beaten by Spain in the final of Euro 2012, handed
debuts to strikers Stephan El Shaarawy and Mattia Destro, the
latter wasting his own good control from a long ball midway
through the first half when he blasted wastefully wide from a
Ruddy, who replaced Butland at half-time, saved well at his
near post from Destro and then substitute and fellow debutant
Federico Peluso spurned a good chance by shooting wide.
Peluso was almost left red-faced at the other end from James
Milner's dangerous cross but flailing keeper Salvatore Sirigu
prevented an own goal.
Bertrand had an immediate impact when he was in the right
place on the goal-line to clear and from the breakaway England
James Milner led the counter-attack and his swift pass found
Defoe on the edge of the box. With his back to Ignazio Abate,
the striker swivelled and rifled in a fierce shot that thundered
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