England suffered the hardship of relegation from the top tier of the Nations League after a tepid defeat to Italy which raises further concerns ahead of this winter’s World Cup.
Favorites to triumph in Qatar after reaching the semi-finals four years ago and the Euro 2020 final, things have gone awry for Gareth Southgate’s side of late.
England failed to win any of their four matches in June and produced a humble response to their 4-0 Molineux mauling of Hungary, with Giacomo Raspadori sealing Roberto Mancini’s Italy a 1-0 victory on Friday night.
A fifth consecutive game without a win means Southgate’s men have been relegated from Group A of the Nations League – a competition they finished third in three years ago – with a game to spare.
Relegation is embarrassing but the performance is arguably more worrying with just 59 days to go until their World Cup opener against Iran.
The Euro 2020 finalists had played out an unforgettable goalless draw behind closed doors in June and the first half in Milan somehow managed to be even more dreary as England toiled against the absent Azzurri.
It didn’t get any better from the visitors’ perspective as Italy, who won’t be in Qatar, kept them at bay and secured victory through Raspadori’s fine curling effort.
Southgate’s side lacked the ruthlessness required ahead of a San Siro encounter that ends with more questions than answers, with only Monday’s home game against Germany coming before the World Cup.
England player rating
England were relegated from Nations League Group A3 on Friday night after losing 1-0 away in Italy.
Giacomo Raspadori scored a brilliant goal to condemn Gareth Southgate’s side to their fifth game without a win on a night where England struggled for firepower.
Here’s how Gareth Southgate rated his side at the San Siro…
FT: Italy 1-0 England
England’s worst run under Gareth Soutghate continues as the Three Lions are humbly relegated.
One match left for the World Cup…
Into added time
90+3: Frankly, England go down without a whimper.
England on the brink of relegation
82:00 – A bit more urgency from England at the moment but Italy almost kill the game off, hitting the post from a corner.
Kane with a double chance
76:00 – From a tight angle granted, but Kane fires straight at the keeper twice.
Dan Kilpatrick at San Siro
As it stands, England face relegation in the Nations League – and potentially a tougher road to Euro 2024. Obviously, the more immediate concern is their form going into the World Cup, with just one game to go after this one before Iran on November 21.
GOAL! Italy 1-0 England | Giacomo Raspador’67
67:00 – Brilliant goal from the Napoli forward, who gets in behind Walker and curls a shot past Pope. Fantastic finish.
Good to defend England
61:00 – Walker and Pope with crucial interventions to stop England falling behind as Italy increase the pressure.
Dan Kilpatrick at San Siro
It’s been a livelier start to the second half, with an offside flag just sparing England and Barella the blushes after a poor miss from the Italian forward following a fine move. It’s more end to end now, and England have also been more determined, especially on the counter.