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Results 1946-1950                       Page Last Updated 23 March 2023


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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 Frank Swift won the toss

[0-1] Romeo Menti scores disallowed:offside
[0-1] Stan Mortensen 3
scored with a difficult kick from a yard from touchline into the nearside top corner, after running onto a Stan Matthew's through ball.
[0-2] Tommy Lawton 23
powerful low drive from a Stan Mortensen pull back
3.30 Quiz 4.0 Down Your Way
Italy v. England
6.0 Itma 6.30 Much Binding
News 7.30 Questions
[0-3] Tom Finney volley 72
a volley inside 6-yard area from a Wilf Mannion cross
[0-4] Tom Finney 74
from a Stan Mortensen pass
[0-4] Tom Finney outstretched volley hit the post
second half live on Radio Light Programme - Commentator: tbc


Officials         Italy FIFA ruling on substitutes England Party
Referee (black blazer)
Pedro Escartín
45 (8 August 1902), Madrid, Spain.
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.
 tbc  tbc
Italy Team
Current World Champions since 1938 Colours Dark blue jerseys with crew neck collars, white shorts, dark socks.
Rank No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 2nd
Captain Victor Mazzola Manager Vittorio Pozzo
third match, W 2 - D 0 - L 1 - F 6 - A 6.
Italy Lineup
1 Bacigalupo, Valerio 24
65 days
12 March 1924 G AC Torino 3 6ᵍᵃ
2 Ballarin, Aldo 26
127 days
10 January 1922 RB AC Torino 7 0
3 Eliani, Alberto 26
123 days
14 January 1922 LB Fiorentina 2 0
4 Annovazzi, Carlo 22
358 days
24 May 1925 RHB AC Milan 3 0
5 Parola, Carlo 26
239 days
20 September 1921 CHB Juventus FC 6 0
6 Grezar, Giuseppe 29
173 days
25 November 1918 LHB AC Torino 8 0
7 Menti, Romeo 28
254 days
5 September 1919 OR AC Torino 5 4
8 Loik, Ezio 28
233 days
26 September 1919 IR AC Torino 8 4
9 Gabetto, Guglielmo 32
82 days
24 February 1916 CF AC Torino 6 5
10 Mazzola, Valentino 29
111 days
26 January 1919 IL AC Torino 10 3
11 Carapellese, Riccardo 25
320 days
1 July 1922 OL AC Milan 4 4
unused substitutes: not known
team notes: The Italian team were reputedly on a win bonus of 100,000 lira each [2020 equivalent £3651].
Bacigalupo, Ballarin, Grezar, Menti, Loik, Gabetto and Mazzola would all be dead within a year, following the Turin Air Disaster.
World Cup Champions notes: Italy beat Hungary in Paris on 19 June 1938 to become the reigning World Champions, however, there are no surviving members of that team in this fixture.
2-3-5 Bacigalupo -
Ballarin, Eliani -
Annovazzi, Parola, Grezar -
Menti, Loik, Gabetto, Mazzola, Carapellese.
Averages: Age 27 years 125 days Appearances/Goals 5.6 1.8
England Team
Rank No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 3rd
Colours The 1946 home uniform - White collared jerseys, blue shorts, red socks
"England wore short-sleeved shirts. They were made of cotton."
P 14th of eighteen, W 11 - D 2 - L 1 - F 53 - A 12.

Frank Swift Manager Walter Winterbottom, 35 (31 March 1913), appointed as FA national director of coaching/team manager on 8 July 1946;
1st of 2, W 1 - D 0 - L 0 - F 4 - A 0. Member-in-charge: Arthur Drewry.
Trainer: Jimmy Trotter (Charlton Athletic)
0ᵍᵃ P 14th of 139, W 11 - D 2 - L 1 - F 53 - A 12.
  Original Party chosen by Selection Committee headed by Arthur Drewry on Sunday, 25 April. Team chosen Saturday, 16 May.
England Lineup
  two changes to the previous match (Howe & Mannion>Hardwick & Pearson) FINAL league positions (1 May)  
  Swift, Frank V. 34
140 days
26 December 1913 G Manchester City FC (FL 10th) 14 12ᵍᵃ
2 Scott, Lawrence 31
23 days
23 April 1917 RB Arsenal FC (FL CHAMPIONS) 14 0
671 3 Howe, John R. 32
222 days
7 October 1915 LB Derby County FC (FL 4th) 1 0
28th County player to represent England
4 Wright, William A. 24
100 days
6 February 1924 RHB Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (FL 5th) 14 0
5 Franklin, Cornelius 26
113 days
24 January 1922 CHB Stoke City FC (FL 15th) 14 0
6 Cockburn, Henry 26
245 days
14 September 1921 LHB Manchester United FC (FL RU) 5 0
Matthews, Stanley 33
105 days
1 February 1915 OR Blackpool FC (FL 9th) 25 9
Mortensen, Stanley H. 26
356 days
26 May 1921 IR Blackpool FC (FL 9th) 7 11
Lawton, Thomas 28
223 days
6 October 1919 CF Notts County FC (FL3s 19th) 22 22
Mannion, Wilfred J. 30 16 May 1918 IL Middlesbrough FC (FL 16th) 13 8
Finney, Thomas 26
41 days
5 April 1922 OL Preston North End FC (FL 7th) 12 11
the 143rd (10th post-war) brace scored
unused substitutes: Jack Aston (Manchester United FC (FL RU)), Alf Ramsey (Southampton FC (FL2 3rd)), Bill Nicholson (Tottenham Hotspur FC (FL2 8th)), Stan Pearson (Manchester United FC (FL RU)), Bobby Langton (Blackburn Rovers FC (FL 21st rel.)).
Ted Ditchburn (Tottenham Hotspur FC (FL2 8th)) was a 'stay-at-home' reserve. In case of an injury to Swift.
team notes: Frank Swift was chosen to captain England on Thursday, 13 May.
Jack Howe was wearing contact lenses, becoming the first England player to do so in an international match.
records: This victory creates a new post-war record. England's have gone seven games unbeaten, beating the previous record of six set between 1946-47.
England's third fixture against the World Cup Champions, W 2 - D 1 - L 0 - F 9 - A 4.
goalscoring records: Stan Mortensen ends the season as top goalscorer, seven goals in six matches, including a hattrick.
The England team trained in Stresa, overlooking Lake Maggiore, before setting up in the Hotel Piedmonte in Turin the day before the match.
2-3-5 Swift -
Scott, Howe -
Wright, Franklin, Cockburn -
Matthews, Mortensen, Lawton, Mannion, Finney.
Averages: Age 29 years 65 days Appearances/Goals 12.8 5.2
oldest post-war team so far most experienced post-war team so far
        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 methodical 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.

        Match Report as reported in the F.A. Yearbook 1948-49, pages 26 to 28

Fifteen goals to one in three matches is a record any team can be proud of, but the bare figures give little idea of the extent of the England team's success. As many of the journalists accompanying the official party reported, the tour was more than a success of English football—it also showed that sport can be one of a country's most valuable ambassadors.
The tour had originally been planned to include a match with Czechoslovakia, but following changes in the organisation of the Czech F.A., this was cancelled. An attempt was made to arrange a substitute game with Spain, but when this was found to be impossible, at the last moment the programme was completed by the inclusion of two matches with the Swiss teams.
The players...were all fit except Lawton who was still suffering from an injury to the groin; he recovered sufficiently to take part in the match against Italy, but was not included in the matches against the Swiss elevens.
The party travelled by air from Northolt to Geneva, then by two smaller planes to Milan where their reception was tumultuous. Here, as throughout the tour, flowers and cheering crowds enveloped the players, whose prospects had been discussed for weeks in the Italian press and whose reputations were well known to the Italians. The four days before the Turin match were spent at Stresa on Lake Maggiore in rest, excursions, sleep, and training.
After a morning of rain the afternoon of Sunday, May 16, turned out to be hot and sunny, and by 5 p.m., the advertised time of the kick-off, the Juventus Stadium at Turin was packed by 85,000 spectators.
The Italian team had enjoyed a highly successful season, and was made up of some of the best players seen for quite a time in a country where the game is as popular and as well played as anywhere in Europe; Italy had already defeated France 3-1 in Paris, and in England's two previous visits the result had been a draw. Many Italians believed that while English tactics and style had stood comparatively still during and since the war, their own team's development of the dashing, individual attack would make their victory almost complete.
The toss was won by Swift who chose to play against the sun, anticipating that it would be a greater drawback to do so in the second half. The game opened at a tremendous pace and the Italian tactics gave the English defence plenty to think about. The Italian forward line remained unusually far up, and were kept well supplied by long clearance kicks by the backs. This made the task of our half-backs difficult; on the other hand, once the English attack got under way, they enjoyed unaccustomed freedom.
England's first goal followed a break-away by Mortensen who mis-led Bacigalupo into expecting him to centre and scored with a difficult kick, just before reaching the goal line. The second goal was also scored largely due to Mortensen who, after a brilliant solo run which he evaded Parola, centred low to Lawton who scored.
In the second half the English half-backs asserted their superiority in mid-field, and the attacks on their English goal were less frequent, although the Italians continued to put up a vigorous game. England's third goal came from Finney, who volleyed a pass from Mannion straight into the net. The fourth and last goal was also scored by Finney from a pass by Mortensen.
The result, 4-0, perhaps favoured the English side too generously, in view of the brilliance of many of the Italian players and the tenacity of their attacks. But there was no doubt among the spectators that the English team, by their craft and instinctive sense of co-operation, earned the victory.


        News Thursday, 5 May 1949, Belfast Telegraph

"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 BasIlića 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 BasIlića.
"The Torino, five times consecutively winners of the Italian championship, included many internationals, some of whom played against a British team in Turin last year.
"A one-week 'black-out' of all Italian football may follow the crash."


     In Other News....
It was on 15 May 1948 that the touring Australian test cricket team scored a world-record 721 runs in a single day against Essex at Southend-on-Sea. Four players scored centuries with the great Sir Donald Bradman hitting 187 in just two hours and four minutes. The score remains the highest-ever total by a cricket team in one day in a first-class match. Even the scoreboard was unprepared for the total, as it only went up to 699!
        Source Notes
Original newspaper reports
Billy Wright's The World is My Football Pitch
  Rothman's Yearbooks
Mike Payne's England: The Complete Post-War Record

Norman Giller, Football Author
British Pathé