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Wednesday, 15 November, 2000, 21:39 GMT
Gattuso wonder goal sinks England
Italy 1-0 England
Gennaro Gattuso's thunderbolt shattered England's young hearts on a mist-shrouded Turin night.
But coach-elect Sven Goran Eriksson should feel at least partially encouraged after watching a gutsy England display against a near full-strength Italy side.
England were unlucky not to be awarded at least one penalty as Peter Taylor's new-look side were beaten by a moment of sheer power from former Rangers star Gattuso.
Although England pressed for a late equaliser, Giovanni Trapattoni's team held firm and there was no way back for the visitors.
England at least had a much better shape than they did against Germany in October, though it would have been difficult for them not to have.
It was one of the most youthful sides ever fielded by England and it took them time to get into their stride.
The Stadio Delle Alpi, home of Juventus, was less than a third full for the match with just 22,000 turning out.
And it was a positively low key opening to a game played in sodden conditions.
Emile Heskey, in his most effective international game to date, had England's first serious attempt on goal when he tried his luck from 25 yards but saw the ball narrowly fly over.
Taylor had to make a change when Nicky Butt limped out of the game and was replaced by Liverpool's Jamie Carragher, who was making his second England appearance.
David James easily held on to a low 20-yard effort from Angelo di Livio as the half-hour mark was reached with the game still in second gear.
England grew in stature with the Italians content to sit back in midfield and let the visitors push tentatively into their half.
Beckham - looking for only his second international goal - caused Gianluigi Buffon to fumble his speculative 30-yard effort before the Italian keeper grabbed the ball to leave the game goalless at half time.
Trapattoni made a double change early in the second period with Roberto Di Biagio and Zenoni asked to inject more life into the Italians.
The game turned moments after Ray Parlour's shot was kept out by Buffon. Beckham was felled in the box and Gattuso, reacting angrily appeared to aim a slap at his head as the England skipper moved back up field.
But the Italians quickly broke forward with the perfect counter-attack which cost England dear.
Gattuso let fly from fully 30 yards with a potent strike which James had no chance of stopping.
England had penalty appeals rejected when Heskey went down in the box under a challenge from Alessandro Nesta as Hungarian referee Sandor Puhl ignored their claims.
Both coaches made several changes and Derby's Seth Johnson almost equalised with his first international touch. He raced into the area to meet a Dyer cross but Buffon pulled off his best save of the night to keep the ball out.
But England also came close to snatching an equaliser when a corner from Beckham picked out Gareth Southgate at the far post and his downward header flew only inches wide.
The game ended amid a torrential downfall and despite being beaten, England's spirits were not dampened too much.
How much Eriksson learnt from the game remains to be seen. It is likely that the next England squad - to face Spain in February - will be vastly different from this one.
Italy: Buffon, Cannavaro, Nesta (Adani 67),
Maldini (Bertotto 74), Di Livio (D. Zenoni 52), Albertini (Di Biagio 52), Gattuso, Coco, Fiore, F. Inzaghi (Del Piero 73), Delvecchio (S. Inzaghi 61).
England: James, Ferdinand, Southgate, Barry (Johnson 73), G. Neville, Beckham, Butt (Carragher 25), Dyer (Fowler 83),
Parlour (Anderton 78), Barmby, Heskey (Phillips 73).
Referee: S Puhl (Hungary).
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