17 November 1976
England flew from Rome beaten for the first time in the current World Cup qualifying tournament and with their hopes of reaching the finals in Argentina in 1978 flickering only faintly. The sad fact is that England played as well as they were able, but could never match Ihe liquid skills of the Italian mas-ler craftsmen. That is even more depressing than the 2-0 scoreline. To prevent Italy lining up in the last 16, Don Revie's men almost certainly will have to win the return match, preferably by three clear goals, because the other nations in the group. Finland and Luxembourg, are merely making up Ihe numbers.
Italy's first goal came after 36 minutes, following a foul on Causio just outside England's penally box. Causio lapped the ball to Antogmmi, who drove it al the England wall and got a crucial deflection off Keegan's body. A rout seemed on, but Italy allowed England back into the game — at least until 12 minutes from time, when they sealed victory with a brilliant second goal. Causio found Benetti on the lefl and. as his low cross came over, Bettega launched himself at it to head past Clemence in goal.
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