England 0 – 0 Italy

England could only draw 0-0 with Italy at Molino as Gareth Southgate’s side remained bottom of Nations League Group A3.

England had chances to win, as he hit the crossbar through Mason Mount and saw Raheem Sterling miss from close range.

But Italy were well worth their points, demanded a superb performance from Aaron Ramsdale to keep the game scoreless, made a spectacular save from Sandro Tonali in the first half and only tried to send the team away by Roberto Mancini thereafter.

The result jeopardized England’s chances of progressing in the Nations League. Finishing the bottom will result in a landing. A draw is enough for Italy, the team that denied them a penalty shootout in the Wembley final last summer, to keep them top of the table.

Player ratings

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

Subtitles: Kane (6), Phillips (7), Bowen (6), Saka (unknown), Juehi (unknown).

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

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

man of the match: Aaron Ramsdale.

There was an eerie sense of occasion for England’s first men’s international game at Molino in 65 years, as the few thousand children invited to fill the lower tier of Steve Ball Stadium provided acute support for the local team throughout.

While the reasons for the crowd restrictions are serious after fans rocked the Euro 2020 final between the two teams at Wembley just under a year ago, it created a calm atmosphere with cries of joy as the England players emerged from the heat. Above and just the weird pantomime 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 winning his first game for England.

Gianluigi Donnarumma and Lorenzo Pellegrini were the only players to keep their starting positions as Roberto Mancini made nine changes to the Italian national team which beat Hungary on Tuesday.

The players responded. Italy took the lead early in the second minute when David Frattisi could have done better to pass his shot just wide of the right channel. But England had their own slots in an open start.

Gianluigi Donnarumma lacked possession more than once, the Italian goalkeeper captain received just one pass which was blocked by Tammy Abraham early on, and the striker, assigned to Harry Kane up front, failed to could take advantage of it.

Mount came close to that after trading passes with Sterling, but his shot from a great position hit Donnarumma’s crossbar instead of hitting the net. It was a big shot, England’s best chance in the first half, but Italy had plenty of it too.

Ramsdale took his chance to impress her. His blocking seemed to be his starting point after Giovanni Di Lorenzo Tonali found an unavoidable goal midway through the half. Gianluca Scamaca took off from six meters. Matteo Pesina’s shot had to be reversed.

image:
England’s James Ward Bruce was shut down by Italy’s Matteo Pessina

England needed more after picking up a single point from their first two Nations League group stage matches, and looked to break through when Reece James’ superb low pass found Sterling just yards away. Somehow he pretended to move towards the sky.

Jack Grealish began to have more freedom down the left, although Italy maintained their threat, attacking the space they had cleared with Kieran Trippier behind him. The England defence, as Fikayo Tomori took his first steps, did not look comfortable.

Southgate tried to change the game as he had good effect against Germany, but this time he moved on to Harry Kane, Calvin Phillips, Jarrod Bowen and finally Bukayo Saka. It was useless. Mancini’s team held firm. Italy remains a dilemma that England cannot solve.

Man of the Match: Aaron Ramsdale

Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:

“He made two excellent saves in the first half, denying Sandro Tonali with his feet from close range and then sending a slanted shot from Matteo Pesina over the bar. Again watch out for saving Giovanni di Lorenzo later on. Fantastic show only the second time around. Started.”

Read Nick’s full England player reviews

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 clear chances and not score. If Frattisi scores early, it’s a different game. We still scored over 100 goals since I took over. It’s only in the last six months that we’ve slowed down.”

Despite insisting his side should have taken all three points, he praised England and ordered Southgate’s side to seek glory at the World Cup in November.

He added: “England are one of the best teams in Europe at the moment because they have lots and lots of good players.” “I think they are one of the favorites 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 who featured in the second half. “Italy created a few chances in the first half, but during the game we were better, we couldn’t create the last chance to score the goal.”

England have scored just once in three Nations League games, but that doesn’t interest Phillips. “No need to worry, to be fair. Our strikers are prolific strikers. As long as we continue to work together, the goals will be achieved.

With England bottom of the group, is Tuesday’s game against Hungary a game they should win now?

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

England equal in statistics

  • England have failed to score in seven of their 15 Nations League games (47%). In fact, seven of the last eight times the Three Lions have failed to score in all competitions have come at this tournament.
  • England have now had four 0-0 draws with Italy in all competitions, and have only had more in their history against Wales (7) and Sweden (5).
  • 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 at friends’ homes.
  • Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan) and Tammy Abraham (Roma) become the fifth and sixth Italian players to feature for England against Italy, following Ray Wilkins, Mark Hatley, Trevor Francis and Paul Ince.

What else?

England meet Hungary at Molino (7.45pm), while Italy travel to Germany, where the Nations League Group A3 matches kick off at 7.45pm on Tuesday 14 June.

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