England shouldn't fear Italy attack

Daily Echo: Ashley Cole, right Ashley Cole, right

England will face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D at next year's World Cup.

Of the three, fellow Europeans Italy are unsurprisingly England's most familiar foes, having met 24 times previously, while South American heavyweights Uruguay played the Three Lions on 10 prior occasions.

The match with Costa Rica, meanwhile, marks a trip into the unknown with England having never previously lined up against the Central America nation.

Here is a look at three previous meetings against both Italy and Uruguay.

It took penalties for Italy to score in their last meeting with England

ITALY: P24 W8 D7 L9 Kiev 2012: England 0 Italy 0 (Italy won 4-2 on pens) England suffered more penalty shoot-out heartbreak in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 having been fortunate to reach the end of 120 minutes of play on level terms.

Italy dominated the game and duly went on to book their place in the last four helped by an audacious chipped spot-kick from Andrea Pirlo. Ashley Young missed for England and Ashley Cole saw his penalty saved by Gianluigi Buffon.

Rome 1997: Italy 0 England 0 Captain Paul Ince's bloody shirt bore testament to a battling performance by England who earned the goalless draw they needed in the Stadio Olimpico to qualify for the 1998 World Cup.

The Italians had gone into the game as big favourites having never previously dropped points in a home World Cup qualifier. But they could not break down the tough England rearguard and had Angelo Di Livio sent off late on.

Nantes 1997: England 2 Italy 0 England's last win over Italy came in their second of three meetings with the Italians in 1997, in Le Tournoi, a tournament designed as a warm-up event for the following summer's World Cup.

Ian Wright finished off a fine through-ball from Paul Scholes to put England ahead and Scholes turned goalscorer for the second as England limbered up for the finals in style.

URUGUAY: P10 W3 D3 L4 Anfield 2006: England 2 Uruguay 1 Joe Cole hit a late winner as England came from behind to beat their South American opponents in this Anfield friendly.

Omar Pouso had volleyed the visitors in front from close range but Peter Crouch headed an equaliser from Cole's cross. Cole then grabbed the last-minute winner when he converted a cross from Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Wembley 1990: England 1 Uruguay 2 England's 17-match unbeaten run was finally brought to an end in their final warm-up game prior to the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

Santiago Ostoloza looped the opener over Peter Shilton in the first half and despite John Barnes drawing England level, an uncharacteristic mistake by Shilton allowed Jose Perdomo to grab the winner from a set-piece.

Wembley 1966: England 0 Uruguay 0 Alf Ramsey's England started their home World Cup campaign in ignominious fashion, becoming the first host nation not to win their opening game.

Ramsey's men ground out an uninspiring goalless draw against the Uruguayans - but it would still prove enough for them to progress as Group One winners - and the rest was history.

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