England 0-0 Italy: Key Talking Points As The Three Lions’ Nations League Winless Run Continues
While England might have been handed the chance to gain some revenge against Italy on Saturday night, the Three Lions instead saw their winless Nations League run continue.
12 months on from their European Championships final heartbreak against the Azzurri in the English capital, Gareth Southgate’s squad had to settle for a 0-0 stalemate at Molineux.
Putting in what was another toothless display, England have now failed to win any of their opening three Nations League matchups and the pressure appears to be growing.
On a night that turned out to be largely uneventful at an almost empty Molineux, we have taken a look at the main talking points.
England’s attacking issues continue
After watching Harry Kane convert from the spot and grab a late equaliser out in Munich earlier in the week, England would have been keen to build off of those slim positives.
However, with Southgate electing to make six changes from their 1-1 draw against the old enemy, the Three Lions once again showed some rather worrying problems in the final third.
Despite moving just three goals away from equaling Wayne Rooney’s all-time goalscoring record, Kane had to settle for a place on the bench as Roma’s Tammy Abraham picked up his 11th cap.
While Mason Mount might have rattled Italy’s crossbar in the first-half as Southgate’s men
dominated large spells of possession, their inability to find the net from open play will be a growing concern.
Watching Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling waist a golden chance after returning from the interval, the Three Lions have now failed to bag a single strike from open play in their first three Nations League appearances.
Although West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen might have once again impressed after coming off the bench, England’s lethargic squad now sit bottom of Group A and facing the real possibility of being hit with what would be a remarkable relegation.
The pressure mounts on Southgate
After watching enjoy a nine-match unbeaten run after their European Championships final heartbreak at the hands of Italy 12 months ago, England did gain plenty of praise from the way that they bounced back.
However, while the Three Lions might still be tipped as one of the leading contenders when they make the trip out to Qatar later in the year, Southgate does find some growing pressure on his shoulders.
Opening up this year’s Nations League desperate to storm their way to the semi-finals once again, the one-time Aston Villa defender has seen his sluggish squad fail to lay down any kind of marker.
Showing some extended issues in the final third over the past week, the question remains – is Southgate the manager who can finally lead England to their first international crown since 1966?
Enduring his longest winless run since taking charge six years ago, Southgate has gained a reputation from his critics for his negative style of play.
Electing to make a string of changes from their 1-1 draw away at Germany earlier in the week, Southgate has largely brushed off the criticism that has come his way.
However, with many English fans regarding their current crop as their ‘golden generation, the 51-year-old will be desperate for his side to find some much-needed momentum sooner rather than later.
Italy still seeking stability
Much like Southgate, Italy boss Roberto Mancini was also in the mood to make a host of changes on Saturday night.
With only a few of their European Championships heroes selected in Mancini’s starting XI here, the one-time Manchester City boss will be looking to take away the positives from a largely rugged display.
Managing to open their own Nations League campaign with a 2-1 victory against Hungary earlier in the week, the Blues did have the chance to grab back-to-back victories here.
Along with Davide Frattesi going close in the opening moments, Italy forced Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale into a handful of eye-catching stops on either side of the half-time break.
However, while Saturday’s point at Molineux might have seen the Azzurri move into pole position to book their semi-final ticket, they still have the feel of a nation really seeking some stability.
While Mancini’s men might have left England stunned at Wembley 12 months ago as they claimed their second European crown, they have come crashing back down to earth over recent months.
Left stunned at the hands of North Macedonia back in March as they were hit with an infamous 1-0 defeat, a result that cost them their spot at this year’s World Cup finals, Italy will be hoping the Nations League offers them better success.
England: Ramsdale, James, Maguire, Tomori, Trippier, Ward-Prowse, Rice, Sterling, Mount, Grealish, Abraham
Subs: Guehi, Bowen, Phillips, Kane, Saka
Italy: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Gatti, Acerbi, Dimarco, Frattesi, Locatelli, Tonali, Pessina, Scamacca, Pellegrini
Subs: Florenzi, Gnonto, Cristante, Raspadori, Esposito
Yellow Cards: England: Ward-Prowse, Grealish – Italy: Gatti, Locatelli, Tonali
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Szymon Marciniak
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