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Hosts Italy beat England to stay in hunt in EURO 1980 Group 2

England 0-1 Italy
Marco Tardelli ended England's hopes and set up a winner-takes-all game against Belgium.

Marco Tardelli scores the winner against England
Marco Tardelli scores the winner against England Icon Sport via Getty Images

Marco Tardelli struck the only goal as Italy beat England 1-0 to set up a winner-takes-all encounter against Belgium.

Weak in attack during their opening goalless draw against Spain, Italy again took time to find their stride against England. Ron Greenwood's team looked the more likely scorers for much of the first half but, without Trevor Francis, lacked the firepower required to puncture one of the world's most astute back lines. Garry Birtles, earning only his second cap, was swallowed up without trace.

EURO 1980: All you need to know

English heads were at least kept above water by Kevin Keegan, dredging up some of his famous energy. Exchanging passes with Ray Kennedy at high speed, he shot low just past the far post, then allowed a pass by Ray Wilkins to reach Kennedy, who hit the woodwork. In the last minute Keegan's overhead kick was saved by Dino Zoff, Kenny Sansom so nearly scoring from the rebound.

Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1980

By then, though, Italy had finally found their own killer instinct in front of goal. Giancarlo Antognoni gave the ball to Claudio Gentile out on the left, Phil Neal mistimed his tackle, Francesco Graziani brushed him aside and put in a low cross which Tardelli drilled in from close range.

Italy protected their lead in typically no-nonsense fashion but knew that just a one-goal victory meant they now needed to defeat Belgium in order to reach the final. For England, there was only third place to aspire to.

EURO 1980: Team of the Tournament


Italy line up ahead of the England game
Italy line up ahead of the England gameIcon Sport via Getty Images

England: Shilton; Sansom, Watson, Thompson, Neal; Kennedy, Keegan (c), Wilkins; Woodcock, Birtles (Mariner 75), Coppell
Substitutes: none listed
Coach: Ron Greenwood

Italy: Zoff (c); Oriali, Collovati, Scirea, Gentile; Tardelli, Antogoni, Benetti; Bettega, Graziani, Causio (Baresi 88)
Substitutes: none listed
Coach: Enzo Bearzot

Referee: Nicolae Rainea (Romania)