A classic qualifying match for France ’98 where England needed just a draw to qualify for the tournament. The difficulty was that they were playing Italy in Rome.
Italy were not a weak team, including players of the calibre of Nesta, Maldini, Cannavaro, Costacurta, Zola and Filippo Inzaghi. But England’s comfort on the ball gradually produced nerves within the home crowd.
England famously went on to pull off a famous result. They had gone to Italy and beaten them at their own game. They defended better than the Italians, they kept the ball better than them too, and but for a post would’ve won the game. It was a real backs-to-the-wall performance but England certainly hadn’t parked the bus, they were the better side.
The game would prove to be the last competitive fixture in an England shirt for Paul Gascoigne.
ENGLAND: Seaman (Arsenal); Campbell (Tottenham), Southgate (Aston Villa), Adams (Arsenal), Le Saux (Chelsea); Beckham (Man Utd), Ince (Liverpool), Batty (Newcastle), Gascoigne (Rangers) [Butt (Man Utd)]; Sheringham (Man Utd), Wright (Arsenal)
ITALY: Peruzzi, Nesta, Cannavaro, Costacurta, Maldini; D. Baggio, Demetrio, Zola, Di Livio; Vieri, F. Inzaghi.