Betfred Sport

Satisfying victory in Bern for Hodgson and England

Italy 1-2 England

England recorded an encouraging 2-1 victory over Italy in Wednesday's friendly, held in Bern, Switzerland.

Daniele De Rossi headed the Azzuri infront in the 15th minute but Phil Jagielka equalised 12 minutes later, with his first international goal for his country.

Substitute Jermain Defoe came off the bench to produce an accurate strike with 11 minutes to go and seal a morale boosting victory for the Three Lions, earning some partial revenge for the exit on penalties in Euro 2012, just seven weeks ago.

Ultimately, it is a game that was no more than a experimental feel and any tempo was disrupted in the second half, by regular changes of personnel.

Nevertheless, Roy Hodgson will be encouraged by some lively attacking play, two harshly disallowed goals and some solid possession play.

Soft goal

There was little impact from either side in the first 15 minutes, before the Euro 2012 runners-up made the breakthrough.

Alessandro Diamanti's corner was met by a free header from the Italian skipper De Rossi and there was enough pace on the ball, for it to fly past debutant goalkeeper, Jack Butland.

De Rossi had escaped some lax marking from Michael Carrick, who was making his first international apperance since May 2010.

England got on terms in the 28th minute. Captain Frank Lampard's decent delivery from a corner, reached Jagielka with a brave header.

The Everton man stooped low to power a header past Salvatore Sirigu to bring the scores level.

It was Hodgson's side who were producing the better attacking play, with Lampard testing the PSG keeper, who has just lost his place in their starting 11, from distance six minutes later.

The 34-year-old then struck a free-kick just over the bar, when Ashley Young fell victim to a rugged challenge from Cagliari centre back, Davide Astori.

New boys

Norwich's John Ruddy came on for Butland at half-time and was called into action early on after the restart.

He did well to stop a snap shot, from Mattia Destro nine minutes into the second half.

Destro was a menace all night and England got a bit sloppy for a few moments, as Federico Peluso hit the side netting, when he should have scored.

England still had their moments and had a couple of efforts chalked off for debatable fouls.

Gary Cahill had a sweet strike disallowed, due to some minimal pushing from Joleon Lescott and Defoe had a similar goal not given, when Cahill was adjuged to be the guilty party.

Cahill was also denied by Sirigu in a mad scramble in the penalty box, within the last 20 minutes.

Both managers experimented with various changes throughout the second half, with first caps for the likes of Jake Livermore and Ryan Bertrand.

Deadly Defoe

Bertrand had a vital role in the winning goal, heading an effort off the line from Andrea Poli.

Only seconds later, England went down the other end and deadly Defoe provided a wonderful finish after 79 minutes.

He struck a shot from outside the penalty box and although Sirigu could have done better, having got two hands on the strike, it was a fabalous finish.

Defoe scored his 16th international goal and offered more than Andy Carroll, who had a disappointing 45 minutes and was withdrawn at half-time.

Hodgson's men saw the game out to record their first victory over the Azzuri since a Le Tournoi tournament match in June 1997.

It is the perfect start to the international season and although people shouldn't read too much into the result, it puts England in the right frame of mind, for their opening World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine next month.

Italy – Sirigu, Ogbonna, Astori, Abate (Ezequiel Schelotto 86), Balzaretti (Peulso 46), Aquilani (Poli 69), De Rossi, El Shaarawy (Gabbiadini 58), Nocerino, Diamanti (Verratti 59), Destro (Fabbrini 84)

Goals: De Rossi 15

Booked: Fabbrini

England – Butland (Ruddy 45), Walker, Cahill, Jagielka (Lescott 61), Baines (Bertrand 77), Johnson, Carrick, Lampard (Livermore 69), Cleverley, Young (Milner 62), Carroll (Defoe 45)

Goals: Jagielka 27, Defoe 79

Booked: None

Referee: S. Kever

By Simon Wright - Follow me on Twitter @Siwri88

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