England and Italy both wondering if it’s too late to cancel Turin friendly
The two sides arranged to meet several months ago in a flurry of goodwill and nostalgia, but with the plan looming large, both nations are starting to wonder whether it was a good idea.
After playing Euro 2016 qualifiers at the weekend, the teams have been sort of hoping the other will call to put off their Tuesday night encounter.
With the match now so close, it may be too late to cancel unless either side can find a cast iron excuse.
“We always say we should meet up more often, but when it comes to it I don’t think either of us are that bothered,” England told FourFourTwo.
“I like Italy, don’t me wrong, but I’m just not sure about going all that way on a Tuesday evening. I don’t know why they couldn’t come to us.
“We really don’t have anything in common. An evening of patient build-up play and expressive hand gestures isn’t my idea of fun. As soon as we start doing something I like, such as a shoulder barge or an aerial tussle, they get very touchy and act offended.
“Somehow or other the evening never ends up going the way I had in mind. I wouldn’t put it past them to spring a penalty shootout on us or something. God I hate those.”
While the Juventus Stadium has been cleaned, the pitch marked out neatly and the English national anthem keyed up and ready to play, England’s arrival isn’t eagerly anticipated.
“I’m always telling people that I like England, even though they can be hard work,” Italy admitted.
“I seriously considered saying the stadium had flooded or I had got stuck at Bulgaria’s place, but they’d see right through that now. I wish I hadn’t had such a big night with Bulgaria now. Usually I came away from a meeting with England happy with how it went, but the actual experience isn’t enjoyable.
“It’s very frenetic and rushed, everything has to go at a mile per minute. And to be honest England can be a little boorish. Sometimes I feel embarrassed in case Spain or Germany see us together acting like that.
“Plus, all this effort running around getting the place spotless and, you wait, all England will bring is a stupid pennant. Again.”