Fans Friendly: Italy Vs England, Turin 2015
The England Fans Friendly against Italy had been arranged for early afternoon on match-day and was played at the Turin AFC Club located West of the City Centre. The club has strong links with Torino and hosts many of Toniro FCs youth training session and Academy games.
The Italian team captain, Andrea De Benedetti met the England team in the Piazza Castello and escorted the team to the stadium by bus. The England changing room was awash with new faces many of whom are new to the Supporters Club, having signed up to for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and finals. Alongside the new faces, the England starting line-up included some more established names which included a strong centre-back pairing of John Lunt and Graham Taylor. David Rhodes was restored at right back after missing the trip to Tallin and the spine of the team continued with Barrie Tullis and (Captain) Dane Cloke partnering in centre-midfield and Craig Tullis keeping his place up front.
After the team photos, Italy got the match underway and immediately took the game to England. The Italians looked good technically and despite being direct with their approach play, kept the ball on the floor rather than playing balls over the top. Both teams had good spells during the opening exchanges but it was Italy who raced to a 2-0 lead within 20 minutes of kick-off. Despite being well organised at the back, the English defence struggled to contain the lively Italian no.10 who had bags of pace and looked to run at the defence at every opportunity.
AT 2-0 down, England didn’t panic and soon got back into the game courtesy of a neat finish from Craig Tullis after a well worked one-two with father Barrie! The celebrations were fairly short lived though as Italy restored their two goal lead within minutes following a great counter attacking move; the No.10 stealing the ball on the half way line and breaking through the English defence to provide an easy finish for his Italian strike partner.
Despite temperatures of 25c on pitch-side, the pace of the game didn’t drop. Much like the Italians, the English side was made up of a mixture of youth and veterans and with 25mins gone, England began to make good use of their ‘roll-on roll-off’ substitutes, giving debuts to several younger members of the squad. Louis Minter replaced Chris Brook in attack and quickly made an impression, combining well with Alex Moore to win a penalty which he converted before half time, making the score 3-2 going into the break.
As is often the case, a goal before half time gave England the impetus going in to the second-half and it wasn’t long before the equaliser came. Chris Brook had been reintroduced as part of a three man attack and calmly slotted home from 10 yards out from a Craig Tullis’s cross.
As the Italians began to tire, the pace of Craig Tullis caused all sorts of problems and he put England 4-3 up about mid-way into the second half, this time being put through by Louis Minter. Italy continued to play some good football and were still creating chances – Jon Lunt making a crucial interception inside the box when Italy were odds-on to score.
With about 10 minutes remaining England extended their lead. A cynical handball on the edge of the D resulted in a free kick from around 25 yards out – up stepped Captain Dane Cloke who hammered home a wondergoal following a clever lay-off from Barrie Tullis. The icing on the cake was delivered by Craig Tullis who completed his hat-trik in style, running from his own half and beating two players before finishing past the Italian keeper.
The afternoon finished off with a short presentation to thank our Italian hosts for a great game of football, their excellent sportsmanship and superb hospitality which concluded with a post-match beer (or two) in the club house.
If you would like to get involved in the fan-friendly activities please email your name, age and preferred playing position to: firstname.lastname@example.org