England suffered the embarrassment of being relegated from their Uefa Nations League group after going down to lose to Italy in Milan.
Giacomo Raspadori’s stunning 68th-minute strike broke the deadlock at the San Siro as a game lacking any spark finally came to life after the break, with England’s winless streak extended to five games, their worst since June 2014.
Raspadori produced instant control and a fierce right-footed finish that gave goalkeeper Nick Pope, coming on for the injured Jordan Pickford, no chance.
Manager Gareth Southgate kept faith with Harry Maguire despite his struggles at Manchester United, the defender suffering an early anxious moment when West Ham United striker Gianluca Scammaca beat him in the air at the far post, only for a combination of Pope and the woodwork to keep his header out.
England eventually responded, Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma producing a fine double block from Harry Kane, although the home side had chances of their own in a frenetic final.
England lacks inspiration again
Southgate was keen to refocus after a winless run left them in trouble in their Uefa Nations League group, but there was little to cheer about here as the latest goalless display saw them go 495 minutes without a goal in open play.
Kane threatened Donnarumma as England tried to respond, but there were hardly any other clear-cut chances, despite the urgings of Phil Foden, apart from a late header from Jude Bellingham which he sent over the bar.
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka had been named England Player of the Year before the match and his reward was a role in an unfamiliar left-back position where he made little impact, perhaps understandably, before being substituted.
It was hard not to feel sympathy for the youngster being asked to perform such an unfamiliar role at this level.
Maguire had few serious alarms but England deserved nothing from the game and must now face Germany at Wembley on Monday with their Uefa Nations League fate already decided.
And Southgate must surely involve Brentford’s Ivan Toney, surprisingly excluded from the matchday here. Anything else would make a mockery of his call.
This was another disappointing night for England who did nothing to lift their spirits after their recent poor run.
Southgate needs to boost his confidence
England must break out of this poor slump with just 90 minutes of international football left before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar in November.
Time is running out with the showpiece looming and England are reaching their worst run of form since 2014, making a mockery of their lofty status as one of the World Cup favourites.
Relegation now means that they drop out of the elite groups in the Uefa Nations League and could face a potentially more difficult draw in the next EC.
England had made a habit of getting the job done even when not at their best, but this has been lost now and the lack of strength, thus leaving an even greater reliance on Kane, is a real concern for Southgate.
He will have hoped to have his World Cup thoughts crystallized now, but England’s current mediocre form raises more questions than answers.
- 1G Donnarumma
- 19BonucciOrdered in 48 minutes
- 2Di LorenzoOrdered in 80 minutes
- 18BarellaSubstituted forPobegaon 63′minutes
- 8JorginhoSubstituted forEmersonon 89′minutes
- 3DimarcoSubstituted forFrattesion 89′minutes
- 9ScamaccaSubstituted forGnontoon 63′minutes
- 10RaspadoriSubstituted forGabbiadinion 81′minutes
- 5Ramos Marchi
- 12The more
- 1. 3Emerson
- 2WalkerSubstituted forShawon 72′minutes
- 7The thingSubstituted forGrealishon 72′minutesOrdered in 90 minutes
- 11The foot
- 1. 3Ramsdale
- Jesus Gil Manzano
The match ends, Italy 1, England 0.
Second half ends, Italy 1, England 0.
Attempt the boom. Jude Bellingham (England) header from the center of the penalty area is too high. On a pass from Reece James with a cross ball.
5′ Reece James (England) takes the free kick.
20 Wilfried Gnonto (Italy) wins a free kick on the left wing.
4′ Raheem Sterling (England) wins a free kick in the opponent’s half of the field.
Tommaso Pobega (Italy) takes the free kick.
Jack Grealish (England) receives a yellow card.
Handball by Jack Grealish (England).
Attempt saved. Declan Rice (England) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Passed by Luke Shaw.
Attempt blocked. 28 Attempt blocked. Wilfried Gnonto (Italy) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. On a pass from Manolo Gabbiadini.
Exchange, Italy. Emerson replaces Jorginho.
Exchange, Italy. Davide Frattesi is substituted for Federico Dimarco.
Attempt the boom. Bryan Cristante (Italy) left footed shot from the center of the box is too high and wide to the left. Passed by Giovanni Di Lorenzo.
43′ Jack Grealish (England) wins a free kick in his own half.
Bryan Cristante (Italy) takes the free kick.
Attempt saved. 33 Attempt saved. Manolo Gabbiadini (Italy) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the center of the goal. On a pass from Jorginho with a through ball.
Attempt the boom. Jude Bellingham (England) left footed shot from outside the box is too high and wide to the left. On a pass from Phil Foden.
43′ Jack Grealish (England) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Wilfried Gnonto (Italy) takes the free kick.