England were saved by Tottenham Hotspur fringe player Andros Townsend, who netted a stunning equaliser just nine minutes after coming on the pitch against four-time World Cup winners Italy in Turin.
England stopper Joe Hart was forced into his first save with ten minutes on the clock, following a speculative effort by Marco Parolo from 25 yards, which swerved in the air, forcing Hart to tip the shot over the bar.
There was more danger to follow, but some excellent defending from Phil Jagielka prevented the Italians taking an early lead. The Everton man cleared a pass across the goal that looked certain to end up in the back of the net.
Nonetheless, England almost capitalised on Italy’s failure to take their chances when Wayne Rooney’s volley hit the cross-bar – but the Manchester United skipper scuffed the opportunity.
Moments later, however, Graziano Pelle gave the Italians the lead.
Giorgio Chiellini breezed past Phil Jones to deliver an inviting cross from the left-flank, which met the head of Pelle who beat the offside trap, and sent the ball into the far corner with the most delicate of flicks.
It was almost the worst start to the second-half for the Three Lions, when Hart was called into early action following dismal defending. Jagielka cleared the ball straight to the feet of Pelle who – fortunately for England – fluffed the glorious chance.
A sweet strike on the half-volley by Rooney was England’s best chance to equalise, but his shot was comfortably palmed away by Gianluigi Buffon.
Again, the Old Trafford star came close, but just couldn’t latch onto Harry Kane’s superb cross from the right-flank.
England would have considered themselves unlucky if they didn’t get themselves on the scoresheet – and it was Andros Townsend who came to the rescue.
After coming on as a substitute, the Spurs winger hit a thunderbolt from 20 yards, giving Buffon no chance.