Italy 0-1 England
The holders made a positive start in Group D, substitute Marcus Edwards making the breakthrough on a rainy night in Burgas.
Article top media content
• Substitute Marcus Edwards breaks deadlock after tight first half
• Nathan Holland and Ike Ugbo come closest to making it 2-0
• Patrick Cutrone spurns great chance to level at death
• Next matches: Ireland v Italy, Netherlands v England (Sunday)
Marcus Edwards's strike seven minutes into the second half ensured a positive start for England, with Italy below par in their opening UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group D game.
Heavy rain in Burgas made the first half something of an endurance test for both teams, but England reached the break marginally the happier side. Gianluigi Donnarumma punched away a Nathan Holland free-kick which was probably meant to be a cross while Tom Davies scooped the ball wide from a few metres out as half-time approached.
The weather having improved, England forged ahead on 47 minutes. Herbie Kane's shot from distance smacked back off the post and while Stephy Mavididi was unable to direct the loose ball into the net, his effort was deflected into the path of substitute Marcus Edwards, the Tottenham Hotspur FC man tidying the ball away from close range.
England No1 Paul Woolston's first meaningful challenge was fielding a Simone Lo Faso centre just after the hour, and while there was a brief flurry of Italy movement in the following minutes, England provided a more tangible threat, Holland threatening a spectacular second with a strike from 25 metres that whistled past the post.
Ike Ugbo blazed into the side netting after another England flourish and Holland went close too, but Italy might have snatched a point at the death, Patrick Cutrone firing just wide deep into second-half added time.
Bruno Tedino, Italy coach
We played well for the first 25 minutes, but when the goal went in we lost our shape a bit, left too many open spaces and couldn't really get going again.
John Peacock, England manager
I'm very pleased with the performance – the lads were very professional, very mature and carried out the game plan very well. There were no surprises from Italy and I'm sure they didn't get any surprises from us: there are no secrets nowadays. Technically we were excellent. The players showed a lot of bravery in difficult conditions, passed the ball very well and made very good decisions. We were just not clinical enough early on, which is why I made the change [goalscorer Marcus Edwards on for Layton Ndukwu] at half-time, but I'm delighted with the start we've made.