FT: England 2 Italy 1

England 2 Italy 1. Only a friendly, but a victory over Italy is most welcome. Defoe's fantastic strike settled the tie and has the Three Lions well placed heading into the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Last chance for Italy to grab something. They decide to go backwards from a throw! Odd choice. England with 10 men behind the ball. Bertrand unable to spring clear when the ball comes back their way.

De Rossi down under a challenge from Cleverley. Defore helps to slow Italy down by standing in front of the free-kick, When it is taken, Gabbiadini is caught offside.

Corner comes to nothing. England didn't push too many forward into the box. Hodgson happy to shut up shop and see this game out.

There will be three minutes of stoppage time.

England fans in party mood as we edge towards the final whistle. So close to a third for the Three Lions. Brilliant from Milbner as he works his way along the dead-ball line. His pass towards Defoe is bundled behind, narrowly past the post.

Another comfortable take for Ruddy as he collects a Verratti cross. Italy hardly throwing men forward. It is only a friendly but they won't want to lose the game. De Rossi tries to get them going again.

Schelotto with his first touch. Not the best as he hangs a terrible cross into the arms of Ruddy. No blue shirt anywhere near where the ball ended up. Livermore then fouls Destro.

Milner on the deck again. Italy trying to force the issue. England prepared to draw them into rash tackles. Hodgson will be very pleased with the efforts of his side if things stay like this.

Final change of the evening sees Italy throw on Schelotto in place of Abate.

Fabbrini sees the first yellow card of the night.

Abate pops up on the edge of the England box. He strikes a half-volley well enough, straight into Lescott. Handball shouts go up, but fall on deaf ears.

Defoe in the mood as he goes for goal again from 25 yards. This time he drags a left-footed effort well wide of the target. He had Baines in support but was never going to pass.

Hodgson taking things very seriously. He is barking out instructions and calling for focus. A win is a win and he knows momentum can be established here.

Destro replaced by Fabbrini. Italy now looking for a route back into the game.

Defoe looking for more, but this time the flag goes up. Looking at his goal again, Sirigu may have done better. He got hands to the ball but was beaten by the pace of the strike, Taking nothing away from Defoe - England's most natural goalscorer.

GOAL ENGLAND - DEFOE. What a finish. From one end to the other and England lead. Defoe picks the ball up wide and moves inside past Abate. From the edge of the box he rifles the ball into the top corner.

Another smart save by Ruddy. A loose ball drops the way of Verratti, who shoots first time. His effort is straight at Ruddy, but he does well to touch it over the top. Bertrand hacks off the line from the resulting corner.

Final change for England brings another debut. Bertrand on in place of Baines. It's been some 2012 for Bertrand - Champions League final, Olympic Games and England debut.

Ruddy hasn't had much to do since coming on, but remains focused and continues to clear confidently when the ball does come his way. More movement on the bench.

Milner working down the left at the moment. Abate working hard to keep at his back. Carrick is then tripped by Gabbiadini. Both teams taking it in turns to have spells of possession.

Ball in the net again, but once again it won't count. Defore with a smart finish when the ball dropped his way. Lescott pulled up for a foul. He's not having much luck tonight!

England unfortunate not to be in front. Replays show that Peluso did really well to keep the ball out. Lescott's bundled effort was heading in but glanced off the Italy full-back's head and onto the woodwork. Peluso involved again now as he catches Milber with an attempted overhead kick.

Great run from Baines as he bursts into the box. He lacks support and can't find a cross. Doesn't matter as Cleverley is felled. Milner takes the free-kick and somehow the ball stays out. Sirigu flaps the ball clear, Lescott tries to force home the rebound but hits the post.

Destro still full of running and keeping the England back four on their toes. Every time Italy win the ball in midfield he is looking to spin in behind. As England win the ball back, Johnson is tripped.

Teasing cross from Abate towards Gabbiadini. Solid from Lescott as he gets across his man to head clear. Italy continue to press, with Carrick required to nick the ball off Destro as he spins into the area.

Carrick has taken the armband. Nice moment for him. England chasing the ball at the moment as Italy have the game under their control. Slick passing from the Azzurri.

Last touch for Aquilani as he is replaced by Poli. Another change by England sees skipper Lampard replaced by debutant Livermore.

Carrick still moving the ball around well. His vision is something England have lacked. The Three Lions can't keep the ball, though, and Aquilani drifts forward. His effort from 25 yards trickles a long way wide.

What a finish. Cahill meets Lampard's delivery on the volley and crashes the ball into the back of the net. Whistle has already gone, with Lescott said to have tugged the shirt of his marker. Shame.

Milner so good at making a yard and getting crosses in. On this occasion he whips the ball across the face, but no-one in white has gambled. England try again. Patient build-up ends up with a Milner cross bouncing off two defenders and behind.

Walker shows good pace to get down the right wing. He looks up and spots Cleverley arriving on the edge of the box. A clever cut back is cut out before it reaches the Manchester United man.

Defoe clattered by Astori. If this wasn't a friendly he might have been in trouble tonight. Cahill back with us and currently filling in at right-back.

Cahill caught by a stray arm from Destro. He requires treatment. He gave the Italy striker a nudge and was caught as Destro came back down after challenging for a high ball.

Changes by England, with Jagielka and Young making way for Lescott and Milner. Hodgson looking to give as many players as possible a run out. Six changes allowed.

Much better second time around. Lampard picks out the head of Cahill. His glancing header ends up at the feet of Defoe. He tries to spin inside the box but has no room and his shot is blocked. Young then fires high over the top from 25 yards out.

Johnson bursts through one challenge, before sending the ball wide to Walker. He takes a look up before sending over a cross. His delivery is deflected behind. Lampard takes the corner. Not the best, but Aquilani scuffs behind for another.

Diamanti makes way for Verratti. Gabbiadini on in place of El Shaarawy. Verratti a youngster with a big reputation. Interesting to see how he gets on.

England rocking as Destro yet again threatens for Italy. He is forced wide and is unable to get in a shot. He is able to find Aquilani, but his pass on to Abate isn't the best. England then carved open again, with Walker ball-watching, but are let off the hook as Peluso fires wide.

Johnson cutting in field again. England work the ball from right to left, but Cleverley is unable to stay on his feet when the ball comes his way. He hasn't been at his best tonight.

Lampard spins on the edge of the area but can't dig the ball out and poke it on to Defoe. Misplaced pass from Carrick, who has kept England ticking over nicely.

Smart save from Ruddy. Destro finds space in the box and fires through bodies when the ball breaks his way. Ruddy down quickly to his right to get a strong hand to the ball. Destro then fires well wide moments later.

Italy suddenly spring clear. Poor final ball from El Shaarawy. Diamanti collects the loose ball and is felled by Walker. Chance for Italy to load the box. Diamanti delivers, Jagielka nods clear.

England still looking to play football. Don't have a lot of choice as they have no height going forward. Nice to see them trying to keep the ball.

Destro breaks in behind, and sees his run picked out. He went too soon, though, and the flag goes up. Cleverley then caught on the ball. Needs to move it on quicker.

Ruddy prepared to play the ball out from the back. England caught on the ball, though, as Carrick has his pocket picked. Italy quickly lose it, but De Rossi is in the right place again to break up an England attack.

Destro goes down inside the box under pressure from Jagielka. He bounces back up and does not appeal. Shoulder to shoulder and nothing in the challenge. England yet to get a foot on the ball since the interval.

Cleverley onto a loose ball from Abate. His pass intended for Defoe is cut out by De Rossi. The Italy captain charges forward and is tripped by Defoe. Italy opt against launching the ball into the box.

Nocerino and El Shaarawy unable to combine. One pass too many as the former could have cut in field and run at England. Solid defending from Cahill as he sees the ball out for a throw.

Baines feeds the ball low down the line for Defoe. No point going long with Carroll gone. Cleverley then claims a foul, but gets nothing.

First touch for Ruddy. Simple one as he rolls the ball out to Lampard and gets it back. He then can't pick out the head of Walker with a long ball out to the right.

England get the second half underway.

Changes at the interval. Butland replaced by Ruddy. Two debuts between the sticks tonight. Deofe also enters the fold at the expense of Carroll. For Italy, Peluso is on in place of Balzaretti.

Players on their way back out for the second half. This game is still very much up for grabs.

Gareth Magee says: "Go on England, the young ones keeping spirits high."

Remember you can also bet in-play at Skybet.com. England are now 15/8 to win the game, with Italy 9/4 and the draw 5/4. You can get 7/2 on England winning 2-1.

How do you see the second half going? Get your thoughts in to Chris.Burton@bskyb.com or @SkySportsChrisB.

England 1 Italy 1. Virtually no stoppage time at the end of the first half and we are all square at the interval. Two headed goals from corners so far. Decent display from England and they have options on the bench.

Nice period of possession from England. Walker is allowed to head off down the right, but is eventually forced backwards. Johnson floats a high cross from the left wing into the arms of Sirigu.

Great one-two between Diamanti and Abate. The latter gets in behind Baines. His cross-shot flashes across the face of goal with no blue shirt on hand to provide a finishing touch. England can't find Carroll as they go long again.

Italy able to move the ball away from England with ease when they click into gear. De Rossi back in possession now. He has been quiet since opening the scoring.

England fans in good voice, as they always are. They will be pleased with what they are seeing. Youngsters doing okay and old heads looking assured.

Young and Lampard combine, sending the latter flying towards the box. He is taken out again by Astori. Free-kick to England right on the edge of the area, left of centre. Lampard's effort clips the top of the netting on its way over. So close.

Astori takes no prisoners as he clatters through the back of Young. The England man gets nothing as he came back from an offside position. Nice improvisation from Butland as he gets a toe to a dangerous delivery and diverts the ball to safety.

Johnson has Italy worried when he gets on the ball. He keeps going inside, though, and needs to mix it up at times. Italy counter through Abate, but Jagielka does well to recover and out in a sliding tackle.

Clever run from Lampard as he offers an option to Walker. The ball ends up looping in towards Carroll, but he can't bring it under his spell. More frustration for the big striker.

Balzaretti spotted making inroads down the Italy left. He gets to the ball ahead of Walker, but can't keep it in play. England still leaving gaps at the back, which is concerning, but their overall performance has been good.

Easy for Jagielka as another misplaced pass from El Shaarawy poses no threat. Poor from Johnson as he looks to send Baines down the line, but gets far too much on his pass.

Baines well forward down the England left. The ball is worked into the feet of Lampard once again. He takes aim from 30 yards this time, but can't slip the ball through a collection of blue shirts in front of him.

El Shaarawy looking to get involved, as he pops up on the right this time. He is a little too keen if anything, as he stands on the ball and ends up on his backside. Yet to see him burst into life.

Direct running from Johnson again. He needs to keep doing that. Young comes over to help and stands a cross into the box. Sirigu plucks the ball out of the air ahead of Carroll.

Nice build-up from England ends up providing Lampard with a sight of goal from distance. He catches a 25-yard effort sweetly and Sirigu takes no chances as he punches the ball clear.

Carroll still can't get involved. Long balls aren't being aimed in his direction. England decide they are better on the deck, but Lampard can't pick out a run from Young.

Italy still moving the ball around well. England deserve to be level as they have offered enough to the tie, but they need to close quicker in midfield.

Walker well forward, and he loses the ball. Aquilani carries it through midfield, but ends up on the turf. He is waved back to his feet. Young is then tripped by Diamanti.

England back on level terms and performing much better than they did at Euro 2012. Bodes well.

GOAL ENGLAND - JAGIELKA. Lampard delivers, dropping the ball into the heart of the box. Jagielka is brave as he dives in to get a head to the ball ahead of Balzaretti's boot and guide it into the bottom corner.

Johnson dances past Balzaretti and sends Walker scampering down the right wing. He can't get a cross in, but does win a corner.

Nice one-touch football from Italy. Destro the attacking target again and he does enough to force a corner. Diamanti with another whipped delivery, but this time straight into the hands of Butland.

El Shaarawy threatens to spring clear, but his touch lets him down and he runs the ball out of play. Italy soon back in possession.

Johnson cuts inside once again. He finds Carrick, who drops a pass wide to Young. He looks to force his way past Abate, and settles for a corner. Lampard's delivery comes to nothing.

Carroll with a rare chance to get a foot on the ball. Not for long as he us pulled up for a shove. Harsh call. Englanc caught napping again as Destro escapes in behind. He brings the ball down well, but skews wide under pressure from Walker. Roma new boy looking lively.

Johnson with an effort on target. He is picked out just inside the penalty area. He is always looking to work the ball onto his left foot, and Balzaretti allows him to do so. Not the cleanest of strikes straight at Sirigu.

Aquilani with a well-struck shot from 25 yards which requires a brave block to prevent it from troubling Butland. England looking to keep the ball, with Carrick feeding a smart pass into Lampard. His effort from the edge of the box is blocked.

Young allowed to edge forward past halfway. He finds Johnson. Neat football by England on the edge of the Italian box. Johnson then tries a trick too many and falls over the ball. End of attack.

Walker flicks the ball into the box, towards Carroll. England's lone frontman is unable to get anywhere near it. Carroll has had little service in open play so far. Cleverley trying to provide the link between midfield and attack.

El Shaarawy nicks the ball off Johnson's toe and sets off down the line. He is faced with a number of white shirts. Italy eventually hang the ball into the box, and Destro tests Butland with a looping header.

Balzaretti well forward again down the Italian left. Johnson isn't going with him. The Azzurri look dangerous when they enter the final third, with England far from solid at the back.

Carrick at fault for the goal as he allowed De Rossi to get in front of him. Hard on Butland as he has not had a lot to do and has already been forced to pick the ball out of his net.

GOAL ITALY - DE ROSSI. Butland does well to put a deflected free-kick from Diamanti behind. Is then picking the ball out of the net moments later as De Rossi glances a powerful header into the back of the net.

Destro troubling England again. He collects the ball inside the box and turns to face the target. He tries to slide a pass into Aquilani, but misdirects his effort. Diamanti is then felled wide on the Italy right.

Free-kick to England wide on their left. Lampard delivers, but gets this on well wrong. His cross is high and deep and straight into the hands of Sirigu. He needed to be whipping the ball in much flatter.

Second mistake from Nocerino in as many minutes as he gives Balzaretti no chance with an easy pass. Throw to England. They move the ball well from right to left, with Johnson happy to drift infield onto his favoured left foot. No way through on this occasion.

Sloppy from Nocerino as he concedes a corner with no white shirt behind him. Lampard whips the set-piece into the heart of the box. Carroll meets the ball on the run, but powers a header high into the stands. Should have done better as he wasn't really challenged.

Another dangerous run by Destro as he escapes the attention of Cahill and Jagielka. A brilliant looping pass over the top has the Italy striker interested. It drops just past his toe and into the grateful arms of Butland.

The set-piece is aimed at Carroll, who wins the ball in the air. De Rossi is able to hack clear from inside the penalty area. Italy struggle to clear their lines intially, but England drop back into their positions allowing the Azzurri to play their way out.

Young with room to turn and run into. He then feeds the ball wide to Baines, who sees his cross blocked. Baines has another go and sees his second effort deflect behind off Abate for a corner.

Johnson nutmegged in the middle of the park. Very tight in midfield, with Italy packing bodies into that area. They are looking to their full-backs to provide width. Walker does well to cut into the middle and nod a cross to safety. The ball sailed over Cahill and Jagielka.

Jagielka invited forward, and he brings the ball out from the back. Young darts into space behind Abate, but can't be found. Italy counter through Balzaretti. First glimpse of El Shaarawy, a talented teenager who could cause plenty of problems tonight.

Wild cross from Abate sails high into the stands. He had a yard of space wide on the Italy right, but sliced his delivery horribly. Hodgson already out on the touchline.

Cleverley pulled up for hand ball. Aquilani looks to take the fre-kick quickly, but then leaves it for a team-mate. Italy moving the ball around well. De Rossi keen to get involved.

Nervous early touch by Sirigu as he is forced to hack sideways for a throw. He didn't really want the ball and Cleverley was quick to get in his face. Carroll doing his best to pull the Italian defence into areas they don't want to go. He is going to need support, though.

Early warning for England. Italy have made plenty of changes as well and there are a lot of players in blue eager to impress tonight. As the action continues, De Rossi slides into a robust challenge and catches Cleverley.

Destro immediately in behind the England back four. One long ball and the Three Lions are caught napping. Destro does well to force a corner. Ogbonna glances on at the near post, but Destro can't grow enough at the back post.

Italy get this friendly encounter up and running, once we have an extra ball belted off the field. England keen to have their own after what happened in the Euros!

Teams are out on the field. National anthems ring out around the stadium. Hodgson leading by example. A few of his players need a reminder of the words, it seems.

Tonight's referee is Sascha Kever from Switzerland.

Italy team: Sirigu, Ogbonna, Abate, Balzaretti, Astori, El Shaarawi, Aquilani, De Rossi, Diamanti, Nocerino, Destro. Subs: Perin, De Sciglio, Peluso, Acerbi, Poli, Schelotto, Gastaldello, Gabbiadini, Verratti, Consigli.

England team: Butland, Walker, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines, Carrick, Lampard, Johnson, Cleverley, Young, Carroll. Subs: Ruddy, Lescott, Bertrand, Caulker, Milner, Livermore, Rodwell, Defoe.

You can also bet in-play throughout the game at Skybet.com. Little to choose between the two sides prior to kick-off, with England 8/5, Italy 7/4 and the draw 11/5. You can get 13/2 on Carroll to break the deadlock.

How will a new-look England side get on? Should Lampard and Carrick be involved or is it time to look to the future? Who will be the players to keep an eye on? Let me know your thoughts.

Feel free to offer your opinion on tonight's game by contacting me direct at Chris.Burton@bskyb.com or @SkySportsChrisB.

England's starting XI has been confirmed as: Butland, Walker, Cahill, Jagielka, Baines, Johnson, Carrick, Lampard (captain), Cleverley, Young, Carroll. Full team news to follow.

Italy, meanwhile, will be looking to build on an impressive showing un Ukraine and Poland which saw them make it all the way through to the final.

Roy Hodgson will be looking to stamp his authority on the England side after stepping into the dugout at late notice ahead of the European Championships.

Just seven weeks on from their quarter-final clash at Euro 2012, two old foes lock horns again as they look to step up their preparations for the start of 2014 World Cup qualifying.

Welcome to our coverage of tonight's friendly encounter between England and Italy in Berne.


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