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Many football fans would agree that international friendlies seem a little bit pointless;

Not only do they interrupt the excitement of the regular league season, but they don’t have the smallest element of importance which make the International qualifiers interesting.

Italy v England: 5 things to watch out forHowever with a re-match from Brazil looming, here are five things to look out for during the Italy vs England game on Tuesday.

Grudge match?

As we all know, England had an absolute shocker at last year’s World Cup, not managing to win a single game and crashing out at the group stages for the first time since 1958.

However Italy also had a poor tournament, themselves not getting out of the same group which also included minnows Costa Rica. The two teams had an exciting match in Brazil, and it was probably England’s best performance of the tournament, however Tuesday’s encounter will probably lack little of the same excitement.

Nonetheless England have made a strong recovery, winning all of their games since the World Cup, Italy on the other hand have been not so impressive, most recently having to claw their way back to a 2-2 draw against Bulgaria.

Hodgson’s men will be looking to avenge their failings in Brazil, even if it will be for nothing more than some regained pride.

England should give them the Kane

Harry Kane cannot stop making an impact.

After scoring just 78 seconds into his England debut on Friday night, it seems only natural to give the young man his first England start in the friendly against Italy. This is even more apparent considering that Danny Welbeck and Raheem Sterling won’t be able to play.

Spurs’ new sensation just keeps scoring and seeing his name on the team sheet before the game will certainly give the Azzurri something different to consider pre-match.

Not so Super Mario

Mario Balotelli has had a frustrating year since joining Liverpool; he’s failed no nail down a spot in the starting 11, he was criticised for taking a penalty instead of Jordan Henderson (even though he’s one of the best penalty taker’s I’ve ever seen) and he has faced constant abuse from all corners for his lack of performance in a red shirt.

Now it seems the controversial striker can’t even get a game for his country; after being left out of the squad for Bulgaria he also will not be featuring on Tuesday. Whilst Italy do have a good substitute in Ciro Immobile, it does seem a shame that Balotelli will not be featuring as he is a pleasure to watch when he is playing well.

Record breaking Rooney?

Wayne Rooney is undoubtedly one of England’s best performers of the past decade; whilst he hasn’t always performed at major tournaments, during the qualifying campaigns and friendlies he can always be relied upon to put in a good performance and more than likely, get us a goal.

Such consistency has seen him creep ever closer to becoming England’s top goalscorer, he finds himself now only two goals behind the great Bobby Charlton and you can be sure that he will be hungry to close that gap even further against Italy on Tuesday.

Is it all just more false hope?

As I said earlier, Roy Hodgson’s England have done extremely well since crashing out of the World Cup; seven wins from seven since the tournament is something that any team would be happy with, however there is an element of hollowness to these victories. Since the World Cup the England team has faced just three teams from inside the top 50 of FIFA’s World Rankings and only one from inside the top 20.

The question must be asked therefore whether or not England have improved, or if they are just playing weaker opponents. Whilst that question may not be answered on Tuesday due to the friendly nature of the tie, there will certainly be a bigger test awaiting Hodgson’s men on the pitch than any they have faced since the World Cup.

Originally published at voomfootball.com

Post written by Joshua Rowe
for Voomfootball, Blog: Voomfootball, Twitter: @Voomfootball

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