And win they have - the whistle blows and France have come from behind to seal a 2-1 triumph in what was a pretty entertaining encounter.
- 2nd Half
- El ShaarawyDiamanti74'
- 1/2 Time
- 1st Half
- El Shaarawy35'
Italy - France
International friendlies - 15 November 2012
International friendlies – Follow the Football match between Italy and France live with Eurosport. The match starts at 06:50 on 15 November 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
Who will come out on top in the battle of the managers Roberto Mancini or Didier Deschamps? Find out by following our live matchcast.
Have your say by voting on who will win between Italy and France? Enjoy some pre-match reading with related articles about these two Enjoy some pre-match reading with related articles about these two Football teams.
Head-to-head: see historical stats and visit our detailed profiles for Italy vs France. Get all the latest on Football: fixtures, results and tables.
Remember, France have not won in Italy since 1994 - but they are mere seconds away now.
That substitution, by the way, was Tremoulinas on for Sissoko.
They will have three added minutes.
Italy in possession, as the crowd tries to urge them to one last hurrah.
But before they can do that, Giaccherini is agonisingly close for Italy. He hits the bar and the ball bounces down, but it does not threaten to cross the line.
France are looking for the chance to put together a counter that will put this one beyond any doubt, and they'll make one more change...
Another Pirlo free-kick, this one from the right, and another French clearance.
One or two signs of frustration from the Italians now. The ticking clock is against them.
Then, as Italy counter, Lloris clutches the ball under the crossbar.
So close to France finishing this contest: Menez breaks down the right and his low drive is pushed agonisingly wide of the far post. That would have been that.
Capoue is off and Gonalons on as France make another switch.
He fires a great shot from the edge of the area, but Lloris, with a brilliant one-handed save, is equal to it.
And Giovinco has his eyes on doing just that, making a determined run through some flailing France challenges...
Ten minutes remain for the Italians to rescue themselves.
A little pepping up in the Italians' play. Diamanti looks to curl a dangerous little ball in from the left of the area, but it comes to nothing.
And again. This time, the ball is just lumped back into the Italian half in 'anywhere will do' style. But Italy come back and force a corner - Reveilliere clearing - which Pirlo takes, and which is cleared.
Again, France make life difficult for themselves with some unnecessary fouls in midfield. They scramble the ball away from the area, though.
Balotelli is the man on the end of that one, but the header is over the top and harmless.
Pirlo will get a chance to give his dead ball prowess a whirl as a clumsy foul on the right gives him the chance to swing a cross in.
We're edging towards the final quarter of an hour. What can Italy do?
Another change for the home side: off goes El Shaarawy, who had a fine first half, with Diamanti on in his place.
In the end, the ball blazes all the way through the area with nobody able to get a touch.
Then a low cross from Italy, fizzed in from the right...
Another Italian change, with Canfreva off and Giovinco on.
Gomis, in the mood, has another go, but his low effort from the edge of the box is rather scuffed and easily held.
France have had the better of things after the break, and they deserve that lead.
GOAL! And they have the lead! Evra mishits what looks like an attempted shot, and it turns into a cross from which substitute Gomis turns home.
Meanwhile, back on the pitch, France have a corner on their right...
Balotelli in the book, leaving his foot in on a challenge.
As if to emphasise it, Italy pass the ball straight out of play
A little bit of midfield skirmishing here - no great pattern just at the moment.
Giroud off and Gomis on as France ring the changes once more. Robery off and Menez on, too.
Then Capoue loses it in midfield for the French, but Italy can't make the most of it.
Great pass from Pirlo, who goes crossfield and does so beautifully. El Shaarawy can't make the most of it, though.
Valbuena on the ball for France - and there's Balotelli to head clear. Good defending from him.
Indeed he does. The wall does its job, though.
France win a free-kick within potential shooting range, and this'll probably be one for Ribery, a man who isn't shy of having a go at goal from all angles.
They string some good passing together, but the ball just eludes Balotelli, who is unable to either control it or help it into someone's path.
...it comes to nothing, though, and Italy will try to press forward.
So it's all change in the three-man midfield for the hosts, who are slightly on the back foot as they concede a corner...
He does end up hitting one, but Lloris saves and then grabs the follow-up.
Back come the Italians, who have struggled to get much rhythm going in this half so far. Florenzi could be in with a shooting chance here...
Then Capoue comes forward for France and tries his luck from outside the area. That's not a bad strike, but it's no great threat to Sirigu, who clutches the ball. Pirlo enters the fray for Italy, replacing Verratti.
Meanwhile, away from the changes, Evra searches out Giroud and only Chiellini's intervention stops a worrying situation for the Italians.
Debuchy comes off and Reveillere is on for France, Montolivio is off and Florenzi on and Marchisio off and Giaccherini and Bonucci on for Barzagli for Italy.
It looked for a moment as though they were about to create some danger but, with a crossing chance, Maggio miscontrols and the ball creeps out for a goal-kick.
There have, inevitably been substitutions at half-time - details as soon as there's a lull in play but here come Italy...
Ribery barges over his defender, but France get the ball back and Sissoko cushions a long ball beautifully and gets another move going.
France get the second half under way, and they'll be boosted by the speed - not to mention the quality - of that equaliser.
But there's not much to report in that minute, and the half-time whistle goes with the sides level at 1-1.
There will be a minute of added time at the end of what has been an open and entertaining first period.
Balotelli tries to fire one into the area, but a deflection will take that towards Lloris, who gathers easily.
Now he's back on his feet. Players from both sides took advantage of that breather to have a gulp of water.
There's a bit of concern on the France bench. A stretcher is being readied but it shouldn't - hopefully - be required.
A minute or two earlier, he had floated in a good cross, which Barzagli got clear.
And with five minutes or so remaining until the break, Valbuena is on the floor for France after a lunging challenge.
Suddenly, France appear to have a new lease of life, and Italy look a bit shocked. As well they might.
Astonishing stuff, and the shortest-lived of short-lived leads for the hosts.
GOAL! And he scores brilliantly, firing the ball high into the corner. Great stuff.
But wait a minute - Vakbuena on the edge of the area, left-hand side. He beats Verratti and makes his way into the area...
They've enjoyed the bulk of the possession and the best of the attacking threat so far.
Coolness itself from the Milan forward, and that is a deserved lead for Italy.
GOAL! And he scores beautifully, slipping the ball low past Lloris from inside the area and central
And this is dangerous again - Montolivio finds space and slips the ball through to El Shaarawy, who can run in on goal...
This time, France scrape the ball away, but again they can't keep possession.
Italy are picking up the tempo again, and start to weave their way through midfield.
Sissoko then has a go for France - but his effort is as high as Candreva's was wide.
France concede a corner, which finds its way to Candreva on the left. His shot is dragged miles wide from the edge of the area, though.
Cool from Maggio, who just walks the ball away with Sissoko in close attendance.
Candreva on the ball, this time on the left of his own defence. Giroud comes across to challenge, is deemed to have fouled him, and doesn't agree with the referee's decision to award a free-kick.
Montolivio gets away from Matuidi, just for a moment, and just inside the area. This could be a danger... but in the end it isn't as France hack clear.
El Shaarawy is also having a fine night: off he goes on another direct burst forward before Debuchy decides enough is enough and bangs the ball out of play.
The excellent Balotelli is roaming around. This tuime, he pops up on the right with a deflected cross. Sakho, who has had a busy night, is the man in the right place to clear.
Excellent play from Giroud - a strong run threatens to buy him a route into the penalty area, but Chiellini gets there to stab the ball away from danger.
Then Evra decides that it's time to get forward, but the ball eludes him and Italy have the throw.
More eventfulness for Balotelli, fouled this time by Evra. The free-kick is long, over everyone and out for a goal-kick to the French.
Valbuena gets forward fro France and has a go from just outside the area. Sirigu, though, is right behind that one.
Ribery created that moment of danger with an angled ball, and Matuidi helped it on its way with a flick.
Then Sirigu is forced to claim a low ball in with Giroud waiting to feed off any scraps.
Balzaretti moves down the left, but his cross is early and eludes everyone.
Maggio starts another move and Italy want a free-kick after Candreva appears to be bumped off the ball. Nothing doing, says the referee.
The Italy striker is still the man who has come the closest to a breakthrough with that effort off the angle.
Balotelli on the chase again, but Sakho beats him to that one just outside the France area.
Italy are playing in a measured way, and another El Shaarawy burst forces Sakho to hack the ball clear.
Deschamps doesn't look too happy on the touchline. His side are struggling to make much happen and are giving the ball away too easily.
Prandelli's men, like the French, are playing a 4-3-3, but they seem far happier with it so far than their visitors.
Candreva is enjoying his evening so far as well - he's bundled off the ball this time, but the hosts are well on top and France are struggling to string much together.
He's in the mood tonight and fires in another shot. This one pings off the angle of post and bar, and Lloris wasn't getting there.
Good play by Italy: El Shaarawy makes life difficult for the France defence and Balotelli picks up the pieces...
Another Italian free-kick, deep inside their own territory. This time, Maggio comes forward and finds himself a position from which to cross, only for Lloris to claim.
A path opens up for him, but the shot is wild and disappears in to the night sky.
It's an eventful start for Balotelli. Sakho unceremoniously puts him on the floor. The free-kick is cleared but the ball ricochets back to the Italian forward, who can run in on the penalty area here...
Balotelli makes a real pest of himself and, when the ball is half-cleared, Candreva finds himself with a chance to cross from the right. It's not that dangerous, though, and Lloris is eventually able to claim.
France on the ball for almost the first time. Sakho, on the left, roams forward and has nowhere to go and is forced to lay the ball back to central defence.
Balotelli is bowled over near halfway, Koscielny the clumsy culprit. Again, the dead ball comes to nothing.
And we're off - Italy soon win the first free-kick of the match which is swung in, headed clear and then miscued behind for a goal kick.
Balotelli lurks around in the centre circle. Italy will kick off.
Referee Malenco, of Spain, is about to get things under way.
Coach Prandelli joins in with gusto - and then the singing is over and it's time for the pre-match handshakes.
And here they come - plenty of flags waving, both in the heavily-populated home areas and the more thinly-populated away ones.
Five minutes until kick-off, and we're warming up for the anthems.
The teams are in the tunnel, and there's a really good crowd inside the stadium for this prestige match.
TEAMS: ITALY: Sirigu, Maggio, Chiellini, Barzagli, Balzaretti, Montolivo, Verratti, Marchisio, Candreva, Balotelli, El Shaarawy /// FRANCE: Lloris, Debuchy, Koscielny, Sakho, Evra, Capoue, Matuidi, Sissoko, Valbuena, Ribery, Giroud
Prandelli, meanwhile, has given Balotelli some build-up: "The time has arrived for Balotelli to demonstrate that he has become a mature footballer."
Lyon forward Bafetimbi Gotis could start for the French, and says they can show how far they have come under the Deschamps regime. He said: "We all aspire to enjoy happier times, especially if we manage to get to the World Cup finals in Brazil."
The France coach has warned his players that, despite the game's friendly status, "the result is always important". He said his team would need to show "a particular level of concentration" and praised Euro 2012 finalists Italy as "an example to be followed".
Deschamps, of course, knows Italy well - he was both a player and coach for Juventus, and had said he hoped tonight's match would take place in Turin.
What we do know, however, is that Prandelli wants to give some of Italy's rising stars a chance. Keeper Gianluigi Buffon will be rested, with Salvatore Sirigu set to come in, and the coach has said he wants to play a 4-3-3 with Stephan El Shaarawy and Antonio Candreva joining Balotelli in the attack.
We're still awaiting confirmation of the teams from the Stadio Ennio Tardini, however. In games against the French in Italy, the home side have won 13 of the last 19. France last won in Italy in 1994, when they triumphed in a Naples friendly.
There's no Daniele De Rossi, who was dropped from the Italy squad after being sent off as his Roma side lost 3-2 to Lazio, the red card meaning the midfielder fell foul of coach Cesare Prandelli's code of ethics. Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, however, is expected to start.
So maybe 'friendly' is the wrong word - there's not likely to be any of the sedate pace or genteel atmosphere you'd get at many international friendlies, after all.
It may be a friendly, but there's a fierce rivalry between these two - as acknowledged by France coach Didier Deschamps when he talked to the press before the game. The 2006 World Cup final in Berlin - Zidane's headbutt in extra time, the penalties that made Italy Europe's most successful World Cup side - will live long in the memory.
Good evening everyone, and welcome to our LIVE coverage of Italy's match against France in Parma.