Italy v England: Nations League – live | Nations League

The referee blows up on 44 minutes and 59 seconds. You can’t blame him. That wasn’t much of a spectacle. Channel 4 aren’t getting much bang for their buck from this England deal, are they.

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Italy: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Toloi, Cristante, Jorginho, Dimarco, Raspadori, Scamacca, Barella.
Subs: Meret, Vicario, Luiz Felipe, Pobega, Frattesi, Gnonto, Emerson, Zerbin, Grifo, Gabbiadini, Esposito, Bastoni.

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England: Pope, James, Dier, Maguire, Walker, Bellingham, Rice, Sterling, Foden, Saka, Kane.
Subs: Ramsdale, D Henderson, Trippier, Shaw, Grealish, Coady, Ward-Prowse, Tomori, Mount, Bowen, Alexander-Arnold, Abraham.

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Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano (Spain).

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The last time England played, this happened …

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… so, well, y’know. In fact, England are on a skid of four matches without a win, having made an awful mess of Nations League Group A3 so far. Home and away losses against Hungary, a fortunate draw in Germany, and some goalless tedium in Wolverhampton against Italy have rooted Gareth Southgate’s side to the bottom of the table. If they lose at San Siro tonight, they’ll be cashiered from the top tier with extreme prejudice. In other words, it’s gameface time. Kick off is at 7.45pm BST. It’s on!

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Key events

Mailbag at halftime. “Dear Christ, that’s awful, isn’t it? Two games of a World Cup? Ouch. Ben Watson there, with an email that reads even darker if you approach it from an Italian perspective.

Meanwhile, instead of meaningful action at the San Siro, Kári Tulinius reports: “Finland’s first half against Romania was decently entertaining. The latter have probably been the better team, but Teemu Pukki is a striker who can reliably shoot hard and hit the target, so despite Romania having more and more chances, the Eagle-Owls lead 1-0. Enjoy the 2nd half! We will try.

Halftime announcement. Register now! Register now! Register now? Register now!

ALSO HALF-TIME: Germany 0-1 Hungary. Adam Szalai with the only goal so far in 17 minutes. As it stands, Hungary will win Group A3 and advance to the final.

HALF-TIME: Italy 0-0 England

The referee explodes at 44 minutes and 59 seconds. You can’t blame him. It wasn’t really a show. Channel 4 isn’t getting its money’s worth with this deal with England, is it.

43 mins: Another free kick from Foden from the left. This one is better, towards Rice on the right edge of the penalty area. Bonucci is forced to frown for a corner, but it will never be taken, because the whistle is worth to hustle. Rice really didn’t do too much harm there and seems understandably furious.

42 mins: Kane has an absurd space in which to run. He advances in the middle, thinks of passing, thinks again, then blooters above the bar at 30 meters. Donnarumma calmly watches the ball go away.

40 mins: Italy repels England. Acerbi threatens down the inside left channel, but Foden slips into the road and wins a free kick. The pressure on England is released.

38 mins: Scamacca knocks down a long ball for Cristante, who scores a first shot on goal. He swerves away from danger, on the back of his own man Scamacca.

37 mins: Bellingham meets the corner on the edge of the box but can only send a weak bouncer to Donnarumma. England suddenly shifted into high gear.

36 mins: Bellingham force their way to the right and give England a corner. James takes. More trifles. Dimarco is forced to hack another corner from the same side. James to resume.

35 mins: Free kick for England on the left sideline. Foden’s free kick is half cleared. James, surging down the inside right flank, has a speculative shot. The ball makes its way through the Italian penalty area and out for what should be a corner kick… but the referee awards a goal kick instead.

33 mins: Mancini hugs the sideline and gives Dimarco some incisive advice. He is not at all happy with his team.

31 mins: England enjoy the (three) lions’ possession share – 57% so far – but Italy look the most likely to open the scoring. Not that either Guardian had too much meaningful work to do.

Photography: Michael Regan/Getty Images

30 minutes: Dimarco has another run down the left and wins a corner over James. He takes it himself and the delivery is abysmal and easy meat for Pope.

29 mins: It’s Bellingham against Raspadori again. This time, the English midfielder drops his man 30 yards from goal. Italy decides not to send the free kick directly into the box, but sends the ball on the left to Dimarco, who crosses for a long time. Barella prevents the ball from crossing the line to the right of the goal, but there is no one in blue to take advantage of his withdrawal.

27 mins: Barella finds himself in a lot of space in the lower right. He looks up and rolls down the field for Raspadori, into space at the penalty spot. Raspadori takes a bad touch and loses the opportunity to shoot. Bellingham intercepts and clears. For a split second, England were in trouble there.

25 mins: Sterling dribbles into the box down the left, but there’s no way past Di Lorenzo and Jorginho. The door slams shut and Sterling cuts Di Lorenzo off in frustration.

23 mins: Hungary took the lead from Germany. Scorer Adam Szalai. As it stands, Hungary will win Group A3.

Adam Szalai places Hungary ahead of Germany.
Adam Szalai places Hungary ahead of Germany. Photography: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

21 mins: Cristante makes a simple pass right away for a throw. Mancini hops up and down. The reason for this reaction a little clearer.

19 mins: Everything is a bit messy now. Bonucci goes through Kane’s back. On the touchline, Southgate cheers. No idea why.

17 mins: Nothing comes from the corner.

16 mins: Raspadori rolls the ball wide to the right towards Barella, who is cut off by Saka and doesn’t need too much persuading to get down. A free kick just outside the English penalty area. Dimarco and Raspadori take turns for the dummy, running in absurd circles, then Dimarco finally drives low into the mixer. Poorly executed and absurd. The ball deflects for an Italian corner.

14 mins: England settled in after that shaky start. They lash the ball, prompting a few whistles from the home fans. Kane steps in from the right and tries to shake things up in a crowded club. Italy swarms and closes the door. Kane tries again on the left. No luck either. But it’s much better from visitors.

12 mins: England recycle possession, Sterling floating one from the left. Maguire, who had been left standing after the free kick, curls a sweet header on target. Donnarumma catches it without a fuss.

11 minutes: Foden’s delivery is not good, failing to beat the first man.

10 minutes: Jorginho crosses from the right. Too close to Pope, who claims without fuss. England go up the other end through Sterling, who is fouled as he heads to the left. Free kick. Everyone lines up on the edge of the Italian box.

8 minutes: San Siro isn’t full, so the mood isn’t up to snuff, although Italy continue to dominate possession.

Jorginho on the ball
Photography: Alberto Lingria/Reuters

6 minutes: England is everywhere in the shop. Scamacca turns around and digs a huge gap in the middle of the field. He has options on either side, but decides to shoot early and sends one screaming inches from the left post. I’m not sure Pope would get there, had he been on target.

5 minutes : Italy got off to a very good start. Dimarco arrives from the left. Scamacca rises above Maguire at far bat and sends a header up the right. Pope desperately gets it under the crossbar and Maguire concedes a corner. England handle this quite easily.

4 minutes: England are almost defeated by a single ball in the middle. Maguire steps up and Raspadori’s runs are cleared. Raspadori shoots straight at Pope, who parries well. Then the flag is raised for offside. Turns out Maguire executed the trap perfectly.

3 minutes: Barella finds some space down the right and looks to free Dimarco on the other flank with a raked diagonal pass. The ball flies safely out of play.

1 minute: Cristante leaves a little something on Foden, who felt it. A bold opening bet for a player with a suspension reservation.

England opens the ball. Tonight’s referee sent off Harry Maguire and Reece James the last time he took charge of a game against England (against Denmark at Wembley in 2020).

Before the match, a minute of silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II and the victims of the recent floods in Italy. Respectfully observed.

The teams are out! Italy wear their famous azure, while England sport their new World Cup kit, white with blue shoulder pads. The action is only a few national anthems away. (God Save the King still doesn’t stumble, does it? Old habits, all that.)

Gareth Southgate speaks to Channel 4: “We are looking for a level of performance, that is the key. It’s a great stage to come and play, against high level opponents. Harry Maguire seems in good shape with his training, and it’s not like he’s gone ten weeks without a game. We think there was a good process with Jude Bellingham dipping his toe into the European Championship, then starting, then starting bigger games.

Bukayo Saka has a quick word with Channel 4. “We are quite positive. The future is more important than the past. We can no longer control the past. These games are very important, the last two before the World Cup, so we really want to win them both. This is our mentality.

Imagine being in the room when they agreed on the storyboard for this.

Italy have three players who are one warning away from missing next week’s game in Hungary: Bryan Cristante, Nicolò Barella and Alessandro Bastoni.

England have five players who will miss Germany’s visit if they see yellow tonight: Kyle Walker, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Jack Grealish and James Ward-Prowse.

Both teams are coming out of hiding – England beaten 4-0 by Hungary, Italy spanked 5-2 in Germany – so there are plenty of changes. Gareth Southgate makes it six, with Eric Dier picking up his first cap since November 2020, Harry Maguire returning despite not having started in any of Manchester United’s last four Premier League games, Nick Pope replacing the injured Jordan Pickford, and Declan Rice, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden are also leaving. Roberto Mancini makes seven changes, with the return of Chelsea midfielder Jorginho and West Ham striker Gianluca Scamacca taking the place of the injured Ciro Immobile.

The teams

Italy: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Toloi, Cristante, Jorginho, Dimarco, Raspadori, Scamacca, Barella.
Replacements: Meret, Vicario, Luiz Felipe, Pobega, Frattesi, Gnonto, Emerson, Zerbin, Grifo, Gabbiadini, Esposito, Bastoni.

England: Pope, James, Dier, Maguire, Walker, Bellingham, Rice, Sterling, Foden, Saka, Kane.
Subs: Ramsdale, D Henderson, Trippier, Shaw, Grealish, Coady, Ward-Prowse, Tomori, Mount, Bowen, Alexander-Arnold, Abraham.

Arbitrator: Jesus Gil Manzano (Spain).

Preamble

The last time England played, it happened…

…so, well, you know. In fact, England are on a four-match slip without a win, having made a terrible mess in Nations League Group A3 so far. Home and away defeats to Hungary, a lucky draw in Germany and a scoreless streak at Wolverhampton against Italy anchored Gareth Southgate’s side at the bottom of the table. If they lose at San Siro tonight, they will be knocked out of the top tier with extreme prejudice. In other words, it’s game time. Kick-off is at 7.45pm BST. It’s on!

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