All you need to know about English V Italian footie – and some things you don’t

It’s blue versus white, the Three Lions versus the Azzurri, Southgate versus Mancini and It’s Coming Home versus Po Po Po Po.

Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about English vs Italian football… and some things you don’t.


England The Three Lions

Italy Gli Azzurri (The Blues)


England Since their first match in 1872 against Scotland, England have qualified for the World Cup finals 15 times, won it once in 1966 and finished fourth in both 1990 and 2018. The team has qualified 10 times for the Euros, with their best performance until this year a third-place finish in Italy in 1968 and one semi-final on home soil in 1996.

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England captain Harry Kane wheels away in celebration

Harry is our talisman
Harry is our talisman

Italy Since their first match in 1910, Italy have become one of the most successful nations in the history of the World Cup, having won four (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006). The team was present in 18 out of the 21 tournaments, reaching six finals, a third place and a fourth place. Italy won the 1968 European Championships and appeared in two other finals (2000 and 2012).


England Gareth Southgate, 50

A Man Utd supporter as he grew up in Crawley, West Sussex, Gareth was a county champion at triple jump and one of the best 200m sprinters in his district.

At 14 he was diagnosed with Osgood Schlatter’s disease, which involves inflammation of the lower leg bone.

He overcame the difficulties to begin his football career at Crystal Palace aged 18, which he captained to win the First Division championship in 1994.

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Giorgio Chiellini is an icon of italian football
Giorgio Chiellini is an icon of italian football

The Italian flag
The Italian flag

He won the League Cup with both Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, for whom he also played in the 2006 UEFA Cup Final. Southgate made 57 appearances for England, featuring in the 1998 World Cup, and the Euros in 1996 – when he missed the penalty that knocked England out – and 2000.

After his playing career ended in May 2006 at 35, he managed Middlesbrough before taking on the England under-21s and becoming England manager in 2016.

Italy Roberto Mancini, 56

Was pronounced dead due to a blocked windpipe after birth, but came to life after a doctor slapped him on the face.

He grew up in the mountain town of Roccadaspide in south-western Italy, where he served as an altar boy and played in a Catholic football team.

He was snapped up by Bologna aged 13, and made his Serie A debut for the club aged 16 before moving to Sampdoria where he helped the team in the Serie A league title, four Coppa Italia titles and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

He later won another Cup Winners’ Cup as well as two more Coppa Italia titles for Lazio.

He was capped 35 times for Italy, taking part in Euro 1988 and the 1990 World Cup, achieving semi-final finishes in both tournaments.

Since his playing career ended in 2001 he has managed seven clubs, including Fiorentina, Lazio, Inter Milan and Manchester City.

…& their fashion

England Gareth Southgate has ditched the waistcoat he became famous for during the 2018 World Cup.

He now wears an understated £680 navy suit made by his chosen designer for the tournament, London-based menswear brand Percival, along with a lucky navy polka dot tie with a white pocket square.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Gareth Southgate, Manager of England celebrates following the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Semi-final match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium on July 07, 2021 in London, England
Southgate’s and Mancini’s smart outfits

ROME, ITALY - JUNE 11: Roberto Mancini, Head Coach of Italy reacts during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group A match between Turkey and Italy at the Stadio Olimpico on June 11, 2021 in Rome, Italy.
Mancini looking dapper

Unlike during the last World Cup, Gareth tends to wear his jacket throughout each game.

Italy Perma-tanned Roberto Mancini wears a powder blue-grey Armani blazer typically teamed with a tailored white shirt and navy-blue tie. The blazer comes off as the games start, revealing his 18-carat gold Richard Mille watch, specially designed for the manager.

It features a dedicated dial to track half-time, extra time and overtime.


England Harry Kane, 27

The Tottenham talisman is regarded as one of the best forwards in world football, and proved his mettle in the Denmark game by equalling Gary Lineker’s record of 10 goals in an international competition.

Italy Giorgio Chiellini, 36

The veteran defender will do almost anything to protect the goal. Nicknamed Gorilla because he celebrates his rare goals by thumping his chest.


England Doesn’t have a mascot this year, but at the 2016 Euros had cuddly toy Leo the Lion. The mascot was reportedly given to the player who performed worst at training, and was pictured being carried by John Stones, Chris Smalling and skipper Wayne Rooney.

Italy A Maremmano-Abruzzese sheepdog puppy, designed by the late Carlo Rambaldi. He won an Oscar for the design of movie character ET.

National Anthems

England Has no national anthem of its own so the UK anthem God Save The Queen is traditionally used for international football matches.

Italy The Song of the Italians has been sung for 75 years but was only made Italy’s official national anthem four years ago.


England Harry Kane previously attributed a goal streak at Spurs to ditching his razor, saying: “I haven’t had a shave since my first goal… it’s a superstition I am keeping.”

Kyle Walker wears shin pads he’s had for 14 years. He has spaghetti bolognese the night before a match.

Luke Shaw wears socks adorned with his son’s face, Jack Grealish rolls down his socks so far his shin pads are visible and Dominic Calvert-Lewin never fails to eat a bag of Maltesers before each game.

Italy Its footballers are notoriously superstitious. Ex-manager Giovanni Trapatonni was snapped pouring holy water under the bench during a World Cup match. Mancini dabs spilt wine behind his ear to ward off bad luck.

During a poor run at Man City, he banned players wearing purple.

Players are reportedly forbidden from talking about winning the Euros in case it brings bad luck.


England Cheering on the Three Lions from the stands, the England players’ wives and girlfriends include childhood sweethearts, a girl group member and a property mogul.

Immobile & Jessica Melena
Immobile & Jessica Melena

Jordan Pickford’s wife Megan Davison, Harry Maguire’s mum Zoe, his fiancee Fern Hawkins and friend Amelia Johnson
Jordan Pickford’s wife Megan Davison, Harry Maguire’s mum Zoe, his fiancee Fern Hawkins and friend Amelia Johnson

This week goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s wife Megan Davison, who met him at high school, shared a video on Instagram of her and fellow WAG, Harry Maguire’s fiancee Fern Hawkins, travelling to Wembley together in a bus decorated with England flags and party balloons.

Others supporting their other halves include Paige Milian, Raheem Sterling’s partner, who has a property business, and Mason Mount’s girlfriend Chloe Willeans-Watts, who is a member of London-based girl group 303.

Locatelli and Lacovich
Locatelli and Lacovich

Raheem & Paige
Raheem & Paige

Italy Among Italian WAGS are Jessica Melena, one half of Italy’s most glamorous couple with Lazio striker Ciro Immobile.

The brunette, who wanted to be a crime scene investigator before meeting Ciro and studied at he University of L’Aquila, often shares videos on her Instagram of her husband ignoring her as he’s too engrossed in playing FIFA.

Others include Costa Rican Thessa Lacovich, who has dated Manuel Locatelli since meeting him in 2017 when she moved to Italy to begin a media studies course.

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