Uninspiring England held to goalless draw by Italy

·1 min read
England’s Raheem Sterling rues a missed chance (Nick Potts/PA). (PA Wire)
England’s Raheem Sterling rues a missed chance (Nick Potts/PA). (PA Wire)

England and Italy played out a humdrum scoreless draw in front of empty stands as Gareth Southgate experimented against the inexperienced Azzurri in the Nations League.

Following the shock 1-0 loss in Hungary and Tuesday’s hard-fought 1-1 draw in Germany, the Three Lions continued their World Cup preparations against Roberto Mancini’s European champions in Wolverhampton.

The vibe around this Nations League encounter could not have been more different to the Euro 2020 final at Wembley 11 months ago, when crowd trouble compounded England’s agonising penalty shoot-out loss to Italy.

That fan disorder meant Saturday evening’s reunion had to be played behind closed doors at Molineux, where the Group A3 clash ended in a forgettable 0-0 draw.

There were just seven starters from the Euro 2020 final line-ups as Southgate tested his peripheral players before a winter World Cup from which Italy will be absent, allowing Mancini to fully focus on their rebuild.

Mason Mount hit the crossbar early on and Aaron Ramsdale denied Sandro Tonali in an open first half that made way for a second period disrupted by substitutions.

Stand-in skipper Raheem Sterling wasted the hosts’ best chance in a match watched by a couple of thousand school children. There were a few boos from the kids at full-time.