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England 0 – 0 Italy


England could only manage a 0-0 draw with Italy at Molineux as Gareth Southgate’s side remain bottom of Nations League Group A3.

England had chances to win, hitting the crossbar through Mason Mount and seeing Raheem Sterling miss the target from close range.

But Italy were well worth their point and it took a big performance from Aaron Ramsdale to keep the game scoreless, sensationally saving from Sandro Tonali in the first half and pretty much keeping Roberto Mancini’s side at bay by the following.

The result jeopardizes England’s chances of progressing in the Nations League. Finishing bottom would bring relegation. The draw is enough for Italy, the side that denied them on penalties in the Wembley final last summer, to retain top spot.

Player ratings

England: Ramsdale (8), James (8), Tomori (7), Maguire (7), Trippier (6), Rice (7), Ward-Prowse (5), Mount (6), Grealish (6), Sterling (5 ), Abraham (6).

Subtitles: Kane (6), Phillips (7), Bowen (6), Saka (n/a), Guehi (n/a).

Italy: Donnarumma (6), Di Lorenzo (8), Gatti (7), Acerbi (8), Di Marco (8), Frattesi (6), Locatelli (6), Tonali (7), Pessina (7), Scamacca (5) ), Pellegrini (6).

Subtitles: Esposito (6), Gnonto (6), Raspadori (6), Florenzi (n/a), Christante (n/a).

Man of the match: Aaron Ramsdale.

There was a curious sensation on the occasion of the first England men’s international match played at Molineux in 65 years as the few thousand children invited to fill the lower tier of the Steve Bull Stand offered treble support to the local team throughout.

While the reasons for the fan restrictions are serious following the disorder of fans at the Euro 2020 final between the two teams at Wembley just under a year ago, it created a lighthearted atmosphere with cheers as the England players came out to warm up. and only the strange pantomime boo for visitors. They were in the mood to have fun.

Team News

Gareth Southgate made six changes to the side which drew 1-1 in Germany, with Aaron Ramsdale starting in goal for the second time and Fikayo Tomori earning his first England start.

Gianluigi Donnarumma and Lorenzo Pellegrini were the only players to retain their starting positions as Roberto Mancini made nine changes to the Italy squad that beat Hungary on Tuesday.

The players responded. Italy cut in the second minute when Davide Frattesi could have done better than slip his shot away from the far post on the right channel. But England had their own openings in what was an open start.

Gianluigi Donnarumma lacked possession more than once and the Italian goalkeeper-captain had a pass intercepted by Tammy Abraham early on, which the striker, replacing Harry Kane up front, simply didn’t could exploit.

Mount went even closer after trading passes with Sterling, but his shot from an excellent position shook Donnarumma’s crossbar rather than find the net. It was a shrewd move, England’s best chance in the first half, but Italy had plenty of it too.

Ramsdale took his chance to impress. His close-range save after Giovanni Di Lorenzo found Tonali mid-half looked like an inevitable goal. Gianluca Scamacca blazed from six yards out. Matteo Pessina’s shot had to be deflected.

Image:
James Ward-Prowse of England is shut down by Matteo Pessina of Italy

England needed more after picking up a single point from their opening two Nations League group games and appeared to have found the breakthrough when Reece James’ brilliant low cross found Sterling within yards. Somehow the striker managed to skip it.

Jack Grealish began to enjoy more freedom down the left, although Italy retained their threat, attacking the space they had left with Kieran Trippier against him behind him. The English defence, where Fikayo Tomori made his first start, did not look comfortable.

Southgate attempted to turn the game around as they had some good results against Germany, this time turning to Harry Kane, Kalvin Phillips, Jarrod Bowen and eventually Bukayo Saka. It was in vain. Mancini’s team held firm. Italy continues to be an enigma that his England cannot solve.

Man of the Match: Aaron Ramsdale

Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:

“Made two excellent saves in the first half, denying Sandro Tonali with his legs at close range, then tipping a deflected shot from Matteo Pessina over the bar. Alert again to save Giovanni Di Lorenzo later. A impressive display on just his second start.”

Read the full Nick’s England player ratings

Mancini: Italy deserved to win

“The team played well and deserved to win,” Mancini said afterwards.

“We only had one big problem and that is you can’t create 10 clean chances and not score. If Frattesi scores early it’s a different game. We’ve still scored over 100 goals since that I took over. It’s only in the last six months that we’ve slowed down.”

Although he insisted his side should have taken all three points, he praised England and urged Southgate’s side to push for glory at the World Cup in November.

“England are one of the best teams in Europe at the moment because they have many, many good players,” he added. “I think they are one of the candidates to win the World Cup in Qatar.”

Phillips: We were the best team

“During the game we were the better team,” said Phillips, the England midfielder coming on in the second half. “Italy created a few chances in the first half, but as the game went on we were better, we just couldn’t create the last chance to score.”

England have scored just once in three Nations League games, but Phillips doesn’t care. “It’s not really a concern, to be fair. The strikers we have are prolific strikers. As long as we keep working together the goals will come.”

With England bottom of the group, is Tuesday’s game against Hungary the one they need to win now?

“We always want to win every game,” added Phillips. “You see the result tonight, Germany and Hungary draw. International football is tough, there are a lot of tough teams. We want to play Hungary in the next game and get the three points.”

England’s draw in statistics

  • England have failed to score in seven of their 15 UEFA Nations League matches (47%). Indeed, seven of the last eight times the Three Lions have failed to find the net in all competitions have been in this tournament.
  • England have now had four scoreless draws against Italy in all competitions, having none against Wales (7) and Sweden (5) in their history.
  • Italy have lost just two of their last 16 games against England in all competitions (W7 D7), losing 2-0 in June 1997 and 2-1 in August 2012, both in friendlies.
  • Fikayo Tomori (Milan) and Tammy Abraham (Roma) became the fifth and sixth Italian players to feature for England against Italy, following Ray Wilkins, Mark Hateley, Trevor Francis and Paul Ince.

And after?

England take on Hungary at Molineux (7.45pm), while Italy travel to Germany, with both Nations League Group A3 clashes starting at 7.45pm on Tuesday 14 June.




Sky Sports

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