KIEV, UKRAINE - JUNE 24: Scott Parker of England and Federico Balzaretti of Italy battle for the ball during the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter final match between England and Italy at The Olympic Stadium on June 24, 2012 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Italy vs. England. In Switzerland. Three days before the start of the Premier League season. Prepare yourselves for the least meaningful friendly date on the calendar!
Don't worry, England fans. This one won't go to penalties. England face Italy in a rematch of the Euro 2012 quarterfinals, which saw the Three Lions knocked out on spot kicks thanks to an attack of the Ashleys. Italy, of course, would go on to get absolutely pants in the final by Spain, so it's not like England would have actually won the competition had they got through, but it's difficult not to paint this as yet another major tournament disappointment for the nation. Even though, in reality, they did fine.
Anyway. Revenge! Here's the chance to get their own back on Italy in a game I presume that they really don't care about. Admittedly, it's revenge that's best not to boast about, because if the Azzurri hear about England taking the same seriously they'll just point and laugh at them, but it's some sort of revenge. Frank Lampard, who missed the Euros with a thigh injury, will captain the side in Switzerland, while Michael Carrick is eligible for selection again now that the games don't matter.
Elsewhere, there's not a lot going on. Joe Hart's withdrawn from the squad thanks to
not caring an injury, which means we could see Birmingham City's Jack Butland, who played for Great Britain in the Olympics, making his senior debut. Expect James Milner and Ashley Young to start with Andy Carroll up front, and the rest will be made up as Roy Hodgson goes along. Since this is a friendly, expect some (lots of) involvement from younger players like Steven Caulkner and Tom Cleverley.
For his part, Cesar Prandelli is improvising as well, giving his youngsters a chance to get a runout in a relatively high profile game. Italy have nothing to prove here, so -- hopefully -- they won't be too focused on playing a defensive game.
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 15th. 7:45 PM BST (2:45 PM EST).
Venue: Wankdorfstadion, Bern, Switzerland. Yes, you can laugh.
TV Schedule: ITV 1, UTV, ITV HD (UK)
We'll have live updates of this and other friendlies on Wednesday in our international friendlies StoryStream.