Italy 1-0 England: Raspadori strike relegates England to increase World Cup worries

By Sports Desk September 23, 2022

England suffered relegation to League B in the Nations League after a 1-0 defeat to Italy, a result which also equalled their worst run of form in eight years.

Giacomo Raspadori curled home the only meaningful attempt of the game for the hosts, capitalising on sloppy defending from Kyle Walker, who provided too much space for the Napoli man.

Italy's win was only their third in 10 matches and the performance did little to ease concerns around Roberto Mancini's side.

It is England who face more immediate problems, though, with just 90 minutes of football left before the World Cup begins, and Gareth Southgate's men looked far from ready here.

A lacklustre first half saw both sides crippled by an inability to create any sort of threat in the final third, with neither Nick Pope nor Gianluigi Donnarumma called into action as play was limited to scrappy exchanges in midfield.

The early exchanges of the second half did not change much but Italy took the lead with their first meaningful chance of note, Raspadori collecting Leonardo Bonucci's long pump forward and given time to turn, before curling into the far corner beyond Pope's reach.

England's introduction of Jack Grealish and Luke Shaw after conceding, which finally gave the Three Lions a natural left-sided defender having started Bukayo Saka out of position, did not change the pattern of the game.

Harry Kane saw two shots saved by Donnarumma, though neither was particularly threatening, with Italy looking the more likely to extend their lead as Federico Dimarco struck the frame of the goal.

Jude Bellingham headed a late chance over the bar deep into stoppage time as England's fate was sealed on the final whistle.

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