How England should line-up vs Italy in first Euro 2024 qualifier: Unleash James Maddison, recall Kieran Trippier and give Aaron Ramsdale a chance
No England fan will need reminding of the last time the Three Lions faced Italy. After all the excitement and emotion of reaching a first major final since 1966, and at Wembley of all places, the feelings of hope turned to dread as chaotic scenes unfolded outside.
Once the match got under way, it could hardly have started better, as Kieran Trippier found Luke Shaw at the back post and utter bedlam ensued in the stands.
But that was about as good as it got, as England failed to take the next step and their defensive tactics played into the hands of Italy's stronger and more experienced side, who fought back to force extra-time.
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Gareth Southgate was too cautious, not making any changes until the 70th minute, and not introducing the game-changing Jack Grealish until 10 minutes into the extra-period. He was clearly playing for penalties, and introduced Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford in the last minute purely to take spot-kicks. We all know how that ended.
England's pain at coming so close to winning was then deepened by the sickening abuse Rashford, Sancho and Bukayo Saka received after missing their penalties.
A lot has changed in the 20 months since that day at Wembley, and England's team is wiser and stronger as they head to Naples to kick off their next European Championship qualifying phase against Roberto Mancini's side, who themselves surprisingly failed to qualify for the World Cup.
It is, then, time to learn from the mistakes of the final and unleash a bold and exciting side to begin the new era.
Adopting a 4-2-3-1 formation, GOAL picks a team that Southgate is highly unlikely to try himself, but one that would actually play to the strengths of England's best players, who are flying for their clubs: