England U17 headed to the top of Group D in their first match of the European Championships in Bulgaria with a 1-0 victory over heavyweights Italy.
Neither side showed the goalscoring quality that displayed itself in qualifying but Marcus Edwards' second half goal gave England the three points.
Everton midfielder Tom Davies was stretchered off with an ankle injury in the second half.
Italy had a positive start with Cutrone swerving between the England defence. Yet Reece Oxford did well to get between him and the goal and stopped him in his tracks.
Herbie Kane almost got England off to a flyer in the 6th minute, firing from distance to have his effort sweep over the crossbar.
Chris Willock followed Kane in shooting from distance but he too could only hit it over Donnarumma's crossbar.
Italy couldn't take advantage of an injury forcing captain Reece Oxford off the pitch as they took a short corner instead of capitalising on being a man up.
Dasilva controlled a cross field ball with brilliant ability before feeding the ball into Ndukwu in the first sign of the fullbacks bombing forward for England as they usually do.
England controlled the tempo of the game for the first twenty minutes in Bulgaria. Right from the back with Reece Oxford to the leading scorer in the qualifiers, Ndukwu, England kept possession but neither side could find the incisive pass to provide a clear chance.
The desperation to make a difference in a poor opening 25 minutes from both side became prominent as Italy captain Lamas lofted a ball way upfield to neither his teammate or opponent. Bruno Tedino's shouts could be heard above the few hundred spectators as he had a word with his captain.
Holland beat Giraudo well but with the awful weather contributing the ball slipped away from his control.
After thirty minutes England thought they could provide a real opportunity as Herbie Kane looked to deliver the ball from a free kick but parallel with the game, his delivery was very poor and Italy regained the ball from a good chance.
Davies picked up a first half booking but Italy wasted their free kick as well.
Mavididi became the first player to take a shot in almost 20 minutes with a long range effort wide of the goal, yet still neither side could challenge the goalkeeper.
As added time approached in the first half, Dasilva put in a fantastic ball for Davies but he couldn't quite guide the ball past Donnarumma as he was on the stretch. He did well to come back from an offside position to have the chance allowed but as he did so, he couldn't get the follow through on the ball he wanted and hit it wide.
Marcus Edwards replaced England's top goalscorer Ndukwu at half time with the striker presumably picking up a knock.
It was Edwards, the substitute, who finally brought a goal to the game. Kane fired a long distance shot onto the post but Italy couldn't reach the loose ball first as Mavididi collected it. His shot was deflected to Edwards to coolly finish from an angle of the left side.
Holland went for a goal as England sprang into life but the goalkeeper got down well to keep it at 1-0.
Italy began to come out of the shell after a spell of England dominance but the Young Lions remained in control of possession, calming the game down after taking the lead.
Lo Faso, on in the 54th minute, shaped up to shoot with no one around him but his shot dug into the ground and bounced into Woolston's hands in goal.
Ugbo came on for Mavidi with 15 minutes left and made an impact immediately. Yet his impact was stopping a Jay Dasilva run after being called offside. Dasilva skipped through three Italian players to further extend his status as the best man on the pitch.
The Chelsea man attracted the ball to his left hand side like a magnet does to a paperclip as England heavily concentrated on attacking with him. He delivered a wonderful cross for the England strikeforce but Italy headed clear.
Tom Davies looked to be away with the chance to double England's lead but Italy's captain Llamas caught him in the penalty box. The penalty claims came as Davies stayed down but replays showed Llamas' tackle was timed to perfection as one stud nipped the ball away from Davies. Ugbo caught the loose ball but could only hit the side netting as the referee played on.
Although Llamas did get the ball, Davies was forced off on a stretcher to applause from the Bulgarian crowd. The follow through from the Italy captain looked to cause him huge pain in his ankle and the Everton midfielder looked in further pain as he realised he could miss the rest of the tournament. Trent Arnold came on as his replacement.
Nathan Holland took advantage of the unorthodox goalkeeping style from the Italy man. Holland seemed to have lost the ball in the box but with the keeper hesitating to claim the ball he struck it at his chest.
Italy produced a late charge for an equaliser as added time approached. Woolston in goal had to claim a corner well in the 83rd minute before the English defence's first mistake of the game almost proved costly. Cutrone pounced on a deflected ball through and tried to curl it round to defenders and the keeper. Yet it was an inch too wide for Italy and England proved winners in a game which failed to show the quality of the two sides.
England are top of Group D as the Republic of Ireland drew against the Netherlands.