England will face Italy in the first of four warm-up matches for Euro 2020, with Gareth Southgate's side set to host the Azzurri on March 27.

The Three Lions secured qualification for next year's finals in style with a 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro in November, before rounding off their campaign by defeating Kosovo 4-0.

Southgate's side will face Croatia, victors in the 2018 World Cup semi-final meeting between the teams, and the Czech Republic - who inflicted England's only defeat of the qualification campaign - in Group D, with Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia set to complete the pool.

Four-time world champions Italy have won 11 straight games under Roberto Mancini, their longest run of consecutive victories, and will play Turkey, Switzerland and Wales in Group A, with all of the Azzurri's group matches to be played in Rome.

England have also lined up friendlies against Denmark on March 31, Austria on June 2 and Romania five days later, with their Euros campaign set to kick-off at Wembley on June 14.

Roberto Mancini has warned Italy not to underestimate the less glamorous teams joining them in Group A at Euro 2020.

The Azzurri will face Turkey, Switzerland and Wales next June after receiving a relatively kind draw.

Mancini's men will be expected to reach the knockout rounds after maintaining a perfect record through qualifying, the only nation alongside Belgium to accomplish this feat.

But in 2016 semi-finalists Wales, a talented Turkey team and a Switzerland side boasting the best FIFA ranking of the four, Mancini found hidden demons.

"I don't think the group will be as simple as some are saying," the former Inter head coach told Radio Anch'io.

"They are annoying teams with nothing to lose. They all have good players and a lot of young players.

"Switzerland know us well and are always annoying to face, Wales can be a surprise with players in the Premier League and Turkey took four points from France in their qualifying group.

"These are teams that are difficult to deal with, but we are optimistic."

Euro 2020 will mark Italy's first appearance at a major tournament in four years, following the shock failure to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Mancini confirmed the squad he intends to take is already largely settled.

He said: "I believe the group is now outlined, but obviously if an extraordinary young man, a Paolo Rossi or [Salvatore] Schillaci, were to emerge in the next six months, we would be very pleased."

The last three European winners of major tournaments will play in the same pool at Euro 2020, after France, Portugal and Germany were all drawn together

Germany and France - victors at the respective 2014 and 2018 World Cups - will take on reigning European champions Portugal and a play-off winner in Group G.

Croatia, runners-up at last year's World Cup, will renew acquaintances with England, the side they beat in the semi-finals.

Here is the draw in full for next year's event, with four places in the finals still to be determined by the four path-winners in March's play-offs.

 

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, play-off winner from Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) or Romania if they win Path A.

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, play-off winner from Path C (Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia)

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, play-off winner from Path B (Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland)

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, play-off winner from Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary) or winner of Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) if Romania win Path A.

Holders Portugal will face world champions France and fellow heavyweights Germany in a daunting Group F at Euro 2020.

Saturday's draw in Bucharest pitted Fernando Santos' men and their talismanic captain Cristiano Ronaldo against the winners of the two World Cups either side of their Euro 2016 triumph.

It means Didier Deschamps' Bleus will have an opportunity for revenge after Portugal beat them on home soil at the Stade de France to lift the trophy.

The nation with the dubious pleasure of joining them is still to be determined. Iceland, Bulgaria or Hungary would claim the fourth spot if they progress through their play-off route in Path A.

However, if Romania are victorious in Path A, they will go into Group C with Netherlands, Ukraine and Austria.

In permutations that underline the convoluted and criticised format, one of Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo from play-off Path B would enter Group F if Romania qualify. Otherwise, the winner of Path B goes into Group C.

Italy open the tournament, which will take place across 12 host cities, when they entertain Turkey in Rome on June 12. Wales and Switzerland are also in Group A.

England and Croatia renew acquaintances at Wembley in Group D – Gareth Southgate's men having been sunk by a Mario Mandzukic winner in the semi-finals of Russia 2018 before progressing to the Nations League Finals at the expense of Zlatko Dalic's team.

There is the possibility of an all-British encounter if Scotland prevail from their play-off path alongside Israel, Norway and Serbia, while Czech Republic will meet England again in the finals having traded victories with the Three Lions during qualification.

Group B is the second group not waiting to see how play-off cards fall, with the world's number-one ranked team Belgium lining up alongside Denmark, Finland and Russia.

Spain are aiming to make it three European titles in four attempts after securing glory in 2008 and 2012.

They head up Group C, where the winner of the play-off route including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Slovakia and the Republic of Ireland will round out the line-up alongside Sweden and Poland.

The Euro 2020 play-offs take place during next March's international break.

The last three European winners of major tournaments will play in the same pool at Euro 2020, after France, Portugal and Germany were all drawn together

Germany and France - victors at the respective 2014 and 2018 World Cups - will take on reigning European champions Portugal and a play-off winner in Group G.

Croatia, runners-up at last year's World Cup, will renew acquaintances with England, the side they beat in the semi-finals.

Here is the draw in full for next year's event, with four places in the finals still to be determined by the four path-winners in March's play-offs.

 

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, play-off winner from Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) or Romania if they win Path A.

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, play-off winner from Path C (Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia)

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, play-off winner from Path B (Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland)

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, play-off winner from Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary) or winner of Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) if Romania win Path A.

Franco Smith will be at the Italy helm for the 2020 Six Nations as the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) continues its search for a permanent successor to Conor O'Shea.

Irishman O'Shea stepped down last week after over three years in the role, with Italy having failed to advance through a Rugby World Cup pool that included reigning champions New Zealand and eventual winners South Africa.

Wins over Namibia and Canada gave them some cause for cheer, although Italy were denied a meeting with the All Blacks – and therefore any shot at qualifying for the knockout stage – by the untimely arrival of Typhoon Hagibis. 

The FIR confirmed the make-up of the nation's coaching staff for the international window in February to March of next year, with former Springbok Smith leading a team that also includes Giampiero De Carli and Marius Goosen.

Smith, who was most recently with the Cheetahs in Super Rugby, will be out to avoid a fifth consecutive wooden spoon for Italy at the Six Nations.

A new coach is expected to be appointed by July 1.

Roberto Mancini is unsure if rivals are worried about Italy ahead of Euro 2020, but feels they may prefer to avoid playing his side at the tournament.

Italy completed a perfect qualifying campaign in Group J with a 9-1 demolition of Armenia in Palermo on Monday.

While their impressive performances are sure to see them considered among the favourites at next year's showpiece tournament, Mancini feels other nations are ahead of Italy in their growth.

"I don't know if they are worried or not," the Italy coach told a news conference.

"I think they are stronger because they are one step ahead with their plan. France started some years ago, they reached a Euro final and won the World Cup. They are young and I think they are one of the strongest teams. Spain the same.

"Belgium in the last five, six years produced a lot of outstanding talents. Then England.

"All those teams stared earlier. Italy has a great history. I don't think other teams will face Italy easily.

"Maybe they are not scared, buy if they could choose would face another opponent instead of Italy."

Ciro Immobile and Nicolo Zaniolo scored braces against Armenia, while Nicolo Barella, Alessio Romagnoli, Jorginho, Riccardo Orsolini and Federico Chiesa were also on the scoresheet.

Mancini praised his players for their improvement and hopes there is more to come from Italy at Euro 2020.

"These are all young lads who are improving game by game. Playing at international level brings experience, they've got the quality, it's just a matter of time," he told Rai Sport.

"We’ll see what happens at Euro 2020. We'd never won all 10 games in a qualifying group, we've got six months to prepare for the championship and unfortunately I will have to leave some behind, as I can only bring 23 players.

"If we can continue like this, that would be great."

The draw for the final tournament will be held on November 30.

Roberto Mancini's rampant Italy broke more records as they maintained their 100 per cent points return in Euro 2020 qualifying with a 9-1 thrashing of Armenia in Palermo.

The Azzurri had long since booked their place in next year's finals and last week defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina for a 10th consecutive win for the first time in their history.

There was no slowing Italy in their final Group J game, though, as they turned on the style to end the campaign with 10 victories from 10.

An 11th straight win in all saw seven different Italy goalscorers in a match for the first time, as Ciro Immobile and Nicolo Zaniolo each netted twice.

Zaniolo, debutant Riccardo Orsolini and Federico Chiesa all notched their first goals for their country, with Nicolo Barella, Alessio Romagnoli and Jorginho also on target in a stunning success.

Leonardo Bonucci believes Italy are not yet at the same level as Spain, France, Germany and England, but the defender feels they can reach that standard.

Italy won a record 10th straight match with a 3-0 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Euro 2020 qualifying on Friday and host Armenia on Monday.

Despite their run, Bonucci said Italy – who claimed their only European Championship in 1968 – still had progress to make.

"We will reach the level of the top teams in Europe but we still need to improve to compete against those teams who have achieved something important in recent years," the Juventus defender told a news conference.

"We are not at the level of Spain, France, Germany and England because of our lack of experience.

"They have a lot of world-class players and we don't, but we have all the qualities and the potential to reach that level."

The great Arrigo Sacchi recently hailed Italy's performances under head coach Roberto Mancini, who took over after the nation failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Mancini – whose side have won all nine of their Group J qualifiers ahead of facing Armenia – was thankful for the praise and said he wanted Italy to develop a winning mentality.

"Thanks to Arrigo Sacchi for the compliments, it is such a pleasure to receive nice words from someone like him," he said.

"I was not expecting 10 wins, but of course I was expecting qualification.

"Winning games was not our priority at the beginning. Our main task was to do something new and different to make our fans happy and passionate again.

"Then, we wanted to give our players a winning mentality, because this is the best way to achieve success."

Conor O'Shea says he "loved every minute" of being Italy head coach after deciding to step away from the role.

The Irishman had a contract through to May 2020 but has opted to resign with immediate effect.

O'Shea, a former London Irish and Harlequins coach, took over the Azzurri in March 2016, but Italy failed to make it out of the group stages of the recent Rugby World Cup.

"I loved every minute I spent in Italy and I really believe in what we have done and how it can be achieved in the years to come," O'Shea, who has been tipped to take up a position with the English Rugby Football Union, said via a statement on the Italian Rugby Federation's official website.

"We have started a process and generated a new, well-founded hope, but I also believe that the end of the Rugby World Cup represents the best time for everyone to make changes in view of the new cycle.

"I built friendships and made experiences that I will never forget. I sincerely hope to have left Italian rugby in a better position."

O'Shea's last match was the World Cup clash with South Africa, which ended in a 49-3 defeat to the eventual champions.

Italy needed to produce an unlikely victory over New Zealand in their final pool match in order to qualify – a fixture abandoned due to Typhoon Hagibis.

Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic suffered a thigh injury against Italy on Friday, Bosnia-Herzegovina have confirmed.

Pjanic has been in impressive form for Juve in Serie A this season but pulled up in a 1-1 draw against Lecce in October, returning in the Turin derby at the start of this month.

He looks to have suffered another setback after being substituted with 13 minutes remaining of a 3-0 home Euro 2020 qualifying defeat to Italy.

Bosnia confirmed on Saturday the 29-year-old would miss their trip to Liechtenstein on Monday, leaving Juve with a fitness concern ahead of a tough test against Atalanta next weekend.

"National team players Miralem Pjanic and Luka Menalo will miss the team's next match against Liechtenstein due to injuries," Bosnia's statement read.

"Pjanic has an adductor injury, while Menalo has an ankle injury."

Roberto Mancini revelled in watching his Italy side break new ground in Friday's 3-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win at Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Francesco Acerbi, Lorenzo Insigne and Andrea Belotti were on target as the already qualified Azzurri maintained a 100 per cent record in Group J after nine matches.

The result marked a 10th consecutive victory for Italy, a feat no other Azzurri side has ever managed.

It broke the previous best achieved by Vittorio Pozzo's side between 1938 and 1939, a fact that brought plenty of joy to head coach Mancini.

"It's pleasing. We've beaten a mythical feat, and this can only be a pleasure," Mancini told Rai Sport.

"Tonight I saw a great Italy performance. We knew it wouldn't be an easy game, even though they had nothing to play for, but we immediately got on the right track."

Mancini has rotated with his central striker through qualifying, with Belotti earning the nod ahead of Ciro Immobile this time and backing up his double against Liechtenstein last time out.

"If they score it's better for us and we hope they continue in this way in matches during the Euros," Mancini said of his striker options.

Mancini identified a fault, though, saying: "We played too far back. When you are tired you have to stand taller because if you are convinced you've won the game you risk opening it up again."

Roberto Mancini and his Italy side broke new ground in their comfortable 3-0 win at Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday.

The victory in the Euro 2020 qualifier not only ensured they maintained a 100 per cent record in Group J but also saw the Azzurri rack up a 10th consecutive triumph.

No Italy side has ever achieved such a feat and they will look to stretch the streak in their final qualifier against Armenia on Monday.

Below, we take a look back at Italy's record-breaking run.


Italy 1-0 United States: Nov 20, 2018

The run started with an unconvincing 1-0 victory over USA in Genk a little under a year ago. Italy dominated proceedings but needed Matteo Politano's 94th-minute strike to secure the win.


Italy 2-0 Finland: Mar 23, 2019

Euro 2020 qualifying started in convincing fashion for Mancini's men in Udine. Nicolo Barella's deflected effort and a first Azzurri goal for Moise Kean did the damage.


Italy 6-0 Liechtenstein: Mar 26, 2019

Fabio Quagliarella became Italy's oldest international scorer at the age of 36 as Liechtenstein were hammered in Parma. The veteran scored two penalties in the rout - the latter after Daniel Kaufmann was sent off on the stroke of half-time - while Stefano Sensi, Marco Verratti, Kean and Leonardo Pavoletti were also on target. 


Greece 0-3 Italy: Jun 8, 2019

A flying start to qualifying continued in Athens in a match that was essentially over thanks to a three-goal 10-minute salvo in the first half. Barella's thumping opener was added to by Lorenzo Insigne's sumptuous strike, before Leonardo Bonucci headed in the third. 


Italy 2-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina: Jun 11, 2019

In one of the trickiest encounters during Italy's run, the hosts fell behind to Roma striker Edin Dzeko's close-range effort after 32 minutes. Insigne levelled shortly after the break, but it took until the 86th minute for Verratti to curl home the winner.


Armenia 1-3 Italy: Sep 5, 2019

Italy again had to come from behind after Aleksandre Karapetian put Armenia in a surprise lead, but he was sent off after Andrea Belotti's leveller. Still, it was not until the 77th minute that Lorenzo Pellegrini headed the visitors ahead, and an unfortunate own goal from goalkeeper Aram Ayrapetyan rounded out the win.


Finland 1-2 Italy: Sep 8, 2019

A hectic final 30 minutes saw Teemu Pukki cancel out Ciro Immobile's header to draw Finland level from the penalty spot. However, a spot-kick of their own from Jorginho after a handball from Sauli Vaisanen maintained Italy's 100 per cent record in qualifying.


Italy 2-0 Greece: Oct 12, 2019

A month later, another Jorginho penalty set Italy on their way against Greece in Rome and Federico Bernardeschi added a second as the Azzurri booked their place at Euro 2020.


Liechtenstein 0-5 Italy: Oct 15, 2019

It was another luckless night for Liechtenstein, who were turned over in Vaduz. Belotti scored twice, while Bernardeschi, Alessio Romagnoli and Stephan El Shaarawy put their names on the scoresheet.


Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-3 Italy: Nov 15, 2019

The record-breaking day arrived in Zenica as Italy controlled proceedings. Francesco Acerbi's first goal for his country and Insigne's strike after 37 minutes had the visitors coasting at the break. Belotti struck a fine third to ensure a new landmark was set.

Italy earned a record 10th consecutive victory with a convincing 3-0 win at Bosnia-Herzegovina in Friday's Euro 2020 qualifier.

The Azzurri were already assured of top spot in Group J and were in control at the break in Zenica thanks to Francesco Acerbi's first Italy goal and Lorenzo Insigne's effort.

Andrea Belotti's fine strike early in the second half ensured Italy retained their 100 per cent record, while Bosnia-Herzegovina already knew they were destined for the play-offs.

It means Roberto Mancini breaks new ground as the first Italy coach to oversee 10 straight wins, while it also marks the first time they have won six away games in a row.

Gianluigi Donnarumma was sharp to keep out Ermin Bicakcic's close-range header and defender Zoran Kvrzic made a great block to deny Insigne before Italy went in front.

The visitors worked the ball into the box and Nicolo Barella teed up Acerbi, who showed quick feet before rifling into the bottom-right corner.

Things got better when Belotti wormed his way into the area to pick out Insigne and his effort found the bottom-left corner despite not making clean contact.

Donnarumma made fine saves from Gojko Cimirot and Adnan Kovacevic to protect the two-goal lead and Belotti put the match to bed after 52 minutes.

The Torino forward raced onto Barella's throughball and his sweetly hit 20-yard effort curved past Ibrahim Sehic.

Kovacevic was perhaps fortunate to escape with just a yellow card for a challenge that caught Belotti high and Mancini made the rare decision to sub a keeper when Pierluigi Gollini made his Italy bow late on, as the closing stages passed largely without incident.

 

What does it mean? Mancini has history-making Italy in great shape

After the ignominy of missing out on the 2018 World Cup under previous boss Gian Piero Ventura, Mancini has quietly gone about rebuilding Italy's shattered confidence. In Federico Bernardeschi and Insigne they have creativity in forward positions, while Jorginho, Sandro Tonali and Barella are a work in progress in midfield. Tougher tests lay in wait but a winning mentality has returned to the Azzurri.

Barella the fella making Italy tick

There were a lot of things to like for Italy, but Barella was particularly impressive pulling the strings in the heart of midfield. The Inter star finished the evening with four key passes and two assists.

Dzeko has his Ed-in his hands

Having spent the past four years in Serie A, Edin Dzeko is no stranger to Italy, but he unusually snatched at his chances and was unable to hurt the visitors.

What's next?

Italy will look to make it 10 wins from 10 in Group J when they host Armenia in their final qualifier on Monday, while Bosnia-Herzegovina's last group game is at Liechtenstein on the same day.

The Czech Republic secured their qualification for Euro 2020 with a dramatic comeback win over Kosovo in Thursday's crucial Group A encounter.

Kosovo – who are guaranteed a play-off place thanks to their efforts in the UEFA Nations League – needed to avoid defeat at Doosan Arena to keep their chances of automatic qualification alive.

The visitors looked set to cause an upset when Sheffield Wednesday forward Atdhe Nuhiu put them ahead with a superb header in the 50th minute.

But the Czechs fought back, Alex Kral's stunning hit pulling them level before the midfielder provided the assist for Ondrej Celustka's winner eight minutes later as Jaroslav Silhavy's side completed the comeback to book their place at next year's tournament.

Elsewhere in Group A, leaders England wrapped up progression with a thumping 7-0 demolition of Montenegro at Wembley.

Earlier on Thursday, Turkey ensured their qualification with a 0-0 draw against Iceland – a result which also guaranteed France's spot in the finals, with the world champions coming from behind to defeat Moldova 2-1.

Despite a 6-0 win over Lithuania, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick, reigning champions Portugal must beat Luxembourg in their final match to take their place at the finals.

Spain, Belgium and Italy had already confirmed their places last month, with Ukraine, Russia and Poland having also sealed qualification.

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