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Results 1946-1950                       Page Last Updated 25 September 2017


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252 vs. Italy

Sunday, 16 May 1948
Italian F.A. Golden Jubilee Celebration Match

Italy 0 England 4 [0-2]

Stadio Comunale di Torino, Santa Rita, Torino, Piemonte
Kick-off (CET): 5.00pm 4.00pm BST

Attendance: 58,000.

Italy kicked-off England won the toss
  [0-1] Stan Mortensen 3
scored with a difficult kick from an impossible angle
[0-2] Tommy Lawton 23
powerful low drive from a Mortensen pull back
[0-3] Tom Finney 72
a volley from a Mannion pass
[0-4] Tom Finney 74
from a Mortensen pass
Match Summary
Italy Party
England Party

Match Summary





Referee (black blazer) - Pedro Escartín Morán
45 (8 August 1902), Madrid, Spain.

Linesmen - tbc
The FIFA ruling of allowing a substitute to replace an injured player prior to the 44th minute, and a goalkeeper at any time, is in place.
  Goal Attempts  
  Attempts on Target  
  Hit Bar/Post  
  Corner Kicks Won  
  Offside Calls Against  
  Fouls Conceded  

Italy Team


Current World Champions since 1938

Colours: Dark blue crew necked jerseys, white shorts.
Rank: No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 2nd
Capt: Victor Mazzola Manager: Vittorio Pozzo
third match, W 2 - D 0 - L 1 - F 6 - A 6
Italy Lineup
1 Bacigalupo, Valerio 24 12 March 1924 G AC Torino 3 6 GA
2 Ballarin, Aldo 26 10 January 1922 RB AC Torino 7 0
3 Eliani, Alberto 26 14 January 1922 LB Fiorentina 2 0
4 Annovazzi, Carlo 22 24 May 1925 RHB AC Milan 3 0
5 Parola, Carlo 26 20 September 1921 CHB Juventus FC 6 0
6 Grezar, Giuseppe 29 25 November 1918 LHB AC Torino 8 0
7 Menti, Romeo 28 5 September 1919 OR AC Torino 5 4
8 Loik, Ezio 28 26 September 1919 IR AC Torino 8 4
9 Gabetto, Guglielmo 32 24 February 1916 CF AC Torino 6 5
10 Mazzola, Valentino 29 26 January 1919 IL AC Torino 10 3
11 Carapellese, Riccardo 25 1 July 1922 OL AC Milan 4 4

unused substitutes:


team notes:

Bacigalupo, Ballarin, Grezar, Menti, Loik, Gabetto and Mazzola would all be dead within a year, following the Turin Air Disaster.
2-3-5 Bacigalupo -
Ballarin, Eliani -
Annovazzi, Parola, Grezar -
Menti, Loik, Gabetto, Mazzola, Carapellese.


Age 26.8 Appearances/Goals 5.6 1.8


England Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 3rd
Colours: The 1946 home uniform - White collared jerseys, blue shorts, red socks
Capt: Frank Swift, first captaincy. Manager:
Member-in-charge: Arthur Drewry.
Trainer: Jimmy Trotter (Charlton Athletic FC)
Walter Winterbottom, 35 (31 March 1913), appointed as FA national director of coaching/team manager on 8 July 1946;
14th match, W 11 - D 2 - L 1 - F 53 - A 12.
Original Party chosen by Selection Committee headed by Arthur Drewry on Sunday, 25 April 1948. Team chosen Saturday, 16 May.
England Lineup
  Swift, Frank V. 34 26 December 1913 G Manchester City FC 14 12 GA
2 Scott, Lawrence 31 23 April 1917 RB

Arsenal FC

14 0
3 Howe, John R. 32 7 October 1915 LB Derby County FC 1 0
4 Wright, William A. 24 6 February 1924 RHB

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

14 0
5 Franklin, Cornelius 26 24 January 1922 CHB

Stoke City FC

14 0
6 Cockburn, Henry 26 14 September 1921 LHB

Manchester United FC

5 0
7 Matthews, Stanley 33 1 February 1915 OR Blackpool FC 25 9
8 Mortensen, Stanley H. 26 26 May 1921 IR Blackpool FC 7 11
9 Lawton, Thomas 28 6 October 1919 CF Notts County FC 22 22
10 Mannion, Wilfred J. 30 16 May 1918 IL Middlesbrough FC 13 8
11 Finney, Thomas 26 5 April 1922 OL

Preston North End FC

12 11

unused substitutes:

Jack Aston (Manchester United), Alf Ramsey (Southampton), Bill Nicholson (Tottenham Hotspur), Stan Pearson (Manchester United), Bobby Langton (Blackburn Rovers).
Ted Ditchburn (Tottenham Hotspur FC) was a home reserve. On standby in case of injury to Swift.

team notes:

Frank Swift was chosen to captain England on Thursday, 13 May. The England team trained in Stresa, overlooking Lake Maggiore, before setting up in the Hotel Piedmonte in Turin the day before the match.
Jack Howe was wearing contact lenses, becoming the first England player to do so in an international match.
This is the oldest and most-experienced post-war team England have fielded so far.
2-3-5 Swift -
Scott, Howe -
Wright, Franklin, Cockburn -
Matthews, Mortensen, Lawton, Mannion, Finney.


Age 28.7 Appearances/Goals 12.8 5.2


    Match Report by Mike Payne

The scoreline does not reflect the closeness of this contest. A huge crowd, mostly white-shirted and dotted with black umbrellas under a blazing sun, gave the teams a tremendous welcome as they came out.

England won the toss but Carapallese and Mazzola were soon worrying their defenders. After four minutes, though, it was England who took the lead. Stan Mortensen took a clever through pass from Stanley Matthews, cut past the Italian left flank and shot home from an unbelievable angle. It was a great goal, typical of such a great player.

For the next 20 minutes England were rocked back on their heels. The Italian forwards and wing-halves pressed forward with metodical precision. Yet on 24 minutes, and completely out of the blue, England suddenly increased their lead.

This time Neil Franklin found Matthews. Again, a through-ball reached Mortensen, who then changed pace twice to leave Grezar and Parola floundering before hooking the ball back for Tommy Lawton to shoot home a thunderbolt.

Before that goal, Menti twice had goals ruled out for offside and Swift had saved brilliantly from a Gabetto close-range header. Lawrie Scott also had to save a shot from Carapallese on the goal-line and then, after the second England goal, the same Italian forced Frank Swift into another fine save.

Immediately after the interval, Mazzola was clean through and had a golden opportunity but he shot straight at Swift. On 59 minutes a header by Gabetto rebounded from the crossbar and then Swift made yet another brilliant save, diving full-length to stop the rebound from going over the line.

Although England were now moving more comfortably with Henry Cockburn coming into the picture more, Italy were still very dangerous up front. Billy Wright was playing magnificently for the visitors and he did particularly well to stop Mazzola and Carapallese, Italy's best players.

With 19 minutes remaining, England settled the match with two more fine goals in as many minutes. A clever lobbed pass by WIlf Mannion was volleyed home by Tom Finney; and the Preston player then netted again after good work by Cockburn and Mortensen.

It was all over now and the game ended with England giving Italy a football lesson. Their superior tactics, individual brilliance and lethal finishing had won the day.

Swift, Wright, Franklin, Scott and Mortensen had all been outstanding.

    Match Report by Norman Giller

Frank Swift recovered from his rib injury against Scotland the previous month in time to become the first goalkeeper to captain England, taking over from the unfortunate George Hardwick. His first match as skipper was against the two-times world champions Italy. Italy were stunned in the fourth minute when Stan Mortensen sprinted 40 yards down the right wing before cutting in and scoring with a screaming shot from an acute angle.  Following a series of stunning saves by skipper Frank Swift, Morty laid on a second goal for Tommy Lawton, and two individual goals from Tom Finney finished off the Italians late in the second-half. Derby County defender Jack Howe, making his debut at left-back, was the first to play for England while wearing contact lenses. There were tears among the shirt-sleeved 58,000 spectators in Turin's Stadio Communale as the Old Masters conquered the side that had won the World Cup in 1934 and again in 1938. At the peak of Italy's attempted revival in the first-half, it was Wright and Franklin together who did most to repel the wave upon wave of Italian attacks, with Swift always alert behind them as a magnificent last line of defence. He was so proud of being made captain that he was going to refuse to let anybody put the ball past him and spoil his big day. He saved at least half a dozen times when a goal seemed certain. The Italian team included six of the gifted Torino team that was tragically killed in an air crash a year later. Among the victims was skipper Valentino Mazzola, whose two sons later went on to play for Italy. It is chilling to think that both captains in the match against Italy, Frank Swift and Mazzola, were later to die in air crashes. Big Frank died in the 1958 Munich air disaster when travelling with Manchester United as a newspaper reporter.

Source Notes

"Italy's champion Association football team, the Torino F.C., with their English trainer, 38-year-old former Manchester United star, Leslie Lievesley, were killed in a plane crash near Turin on Wednesday evening.
"The death-roll includes the full team, at least three reserves, another trainer, three journalists, the president of the club (Professor Agnesina), a masseur, and the crew of the plane. In all the victims number 31.
"The aircraft, which was bringing the team back from a friendly match in Lisbon, was trying to land on Turin Airfield in bad visibility when it struck the Superga hill and burst into flames.
"Fragments of wreckage were shot through the roof of the famous Basilica of the Superga, a burial place of the Royal House of Savoy. The plane's wing-tip is thought to have touched the tower of the Basilica.
"The Torino, five teams consecutively winners of the Italian championship, included many internationals, some of whom played against a British team in Turin last year.
"A one-week 'blck-ou' of all Italian football may follow the crash."
- Thursday, 5 May 1949, Belfast Telegraph

Original newspaper reports
Rothman's Yearbooks
Mike Payne's England: The Complete Post-War Record (Breedon Books Publishing Company, Derby, U.K., 1993)
Billy Wright's The World is My Football Pitch (Stanley Paul Co 1953)

Norman Giller, Football Author