Italy squared off with England in a friendly in Turin, and by and large impressed despite fielding what could kindly be called a "weakened" lineup. England's quality was finally able to find a way to show through, though, and they eventually found an equalizer to see the match end 1-1.
Gli Azzurri actually managed to control much of the match in the first half. While England won the possession battle by a comfortable margin, Antonio Conte had his side set up to sit deep, absorb pressure, and strike hard on the counter, which they did to great effect. England's diamond midfield allowed Italy's wingbacks to get forward at will, and even Giorgio Chiellini regularly sprang up from the back three to help the attack.
In fact, Italy had nearly all of the actual dangerous chances in the first half, with England's defense regularly stretched out in attack as Italy surged forward, with Matteo Darmian, Alessandro Florenzi, and Eder all beating England for pace and Graziano Pelle given far too much license to just drift around with England's central defense. Just before the half hour mark, it was Chiellini of all people getting up the pitch, slipping free of Phil Jones and chipping in a lovely cross that Pelle, who beat Phil Jagielka with surprising ease, was able to flick in.
England struggled and pretty much just failed to mount a response by half time, and even for much of the second half the Three Lions just kind of flailed around the Juventus Stadium pitch, proving utterly incapable of finding a way through Italy's defense. This despite a mediocre central midfield group and a defensive trio that included Andrea Ranocchia, but that failing was more down to England's tactical naivete and lack of incisive passing than anything Italy did beyond packing numbers back.
Eventually, England decided that their only route to a goal was to pepper Italy's goal with long range shots, and eventually one found it's target. Substitute Andros Townsend was able to beat Gianluigi Buffon from about 25 yards out, and with just over ten minutes to go the match was level.
Neither side was able to find another goal to break the deadlock in the mad scramble that the last ten minutes became, and had to settle for a rather frustrating draw. There were definite high points for Italy fans to enjoy, but with such a weak and weirdly-assembled team, it's hard to know just what fans can actually take away from this match. We're getting to the point that it's time to start seeing what Italy under Antonio Conte will be like, and so far all we have is wild inconsistency some rather unattractive performances to judge him from.
Italy: Buffon; Chiellini (Moretti 72'), Bonucci, Ranocchia; Darmian (Antonelli 73'), Soriano, Valdifiori (Verratti 67'), Parolo, Florenzi (Abate 61'); Éder (Vázquez 61'), Pellè (Immobile 61')
Goals: Pellè (29')
England: Hart; Gibbs (Bertrand 88'), Jagielka, Smalling (Carrick 44'), Clyne (Walker 46'); Delph (Townsend 70'), Jones, Henderson (Mason 74'); Rooney; Kane, Walcott (Barkley 55')
Goals: Townsend (79')