The whistle goes. A deserved victory for Italy. England are relegated to tier B.
David Hytner was at San Siro, and his report on England’s demise has landed …
… while Jonathan Liew was in Leipzig to witness Hungary turn over Germany. Thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night!
Gareth Southgate doesn’t make it out in time to talk to Channel 4, who must be thinking they’ve been sold a right pup with this England deal. That’s five matches they’ve shown. Three defeats, two draws, and the only goal England have scored is a Harry Kane penalty. Not sure they’ve transmitted anything as relentlessly downbeat since the days of Murun Buchstansangur.
Gareth Southgate went over to applaud the England travelling support at the end of the match. He was greeted with audible booing. There’s now nothing riding on the Germany game at Wembley on Monday night … and yet so much depends on it. The mood music isn’t great with one match and two months to go until England start their World Cup campaign. Another loss would really set the alarm bells ringing. What England could do with a first win since March, and a little breathing space. Big game coming up!
England are in a dark place right now. That’s a third defeat in their last five games. Their winless sequence is five, their worst run since 2014 under Roy Hodgson. They’ve gone over seven and a half hours without scoring a goal in open play. The World Cup is just around the corner. “It’s obviously disappointing,” Declan Rice tells Channel 4. “Every tournament we set out to win the group and progress and win every game. Obviously in the Nations League we’ve slipped below our standards. But I didn’t think it was all bad tonight. One chance, one goal, we controlled the game but lacked that cutting edge. But it’s coming, and that’s a much better performance than the summer. It’s not as though we’re not creating the chances. I see it in training, there’s goals for fun. Trust me, we’re going to be good!”
ALSO FULL TIME: Germany 0-1 Hungary. Hungary remain top of Group A3, now with ten points. Italy leapfrog Germany into second place on eight points. Germany sit third on six, while England prop up the group with two points. That means …
Hungary will win the group and make the finals if they hold Italy in Budapest on Monday
Italy can still win the group and make the finals if they beat Hungary
Germany can no longer win the group or make the finals
England are relegated to tier B
The whistle goes. A deserved victory for Italy. England are relegated to tier B.
90 min +6: James shovels a cross into the Italy box from the right. It’s a fine delivery that finds Bellingham six yards out. Bellingham heads over. That’s surely England’s last chance to save themselves.
90 min +5: Gnonto turns on the jets down the left, and draws a foul from James. The clock ticks on, and Italy look in control. On the touchline, Southgate looks pensive, hands in pockets, staring glumly ahead.
90 min +4: Grealish is booked for deliberate handball. That means he’s suspended for the Germany match.
90 min +3: Rice swans in from the left and a little bit of space opens up. He aims a curler towards the bottom right, but it’s telegraphed, and an easy gather for Donnarumma.
90 min +2: England press forward, but Italy hold their shape on the edge of the box.
90 min +1: The first of six added minutes. A doofus comes onto the pitch and runs about like a galoot, so expect seven at least now.
90 min: Gnonto slaloms into the England box from the left, only for his shot to be blocked by Dier.
89 min: Dimarco makes way for Frattesi, while Jorginho is replaced by Emerson.
88 min: Di Lorenzo sashays in from the right and rolls across for Cristante, in acres on the edge of the D. He’s got to work Pope at the very least, but flays wildly over. Will Italy regret their profligacy?
87 min: The game becomes bitty. England can’t get anything going.
85 min: Gabbiadini breaks clear down the inside-left channel and hammers a shot straight at Pope. The Italian takes up possession again and slips a pass down the left for Dimarco, who creams a shot across Pope and off the base of the right-hand post. Shaw does well to avoid deflecting the rebound into the net, shifting his feet adroitly to turn and hack clear. Italy inches away from sealing England’s fate.
83 min: Bellingham makes a bit of space down the inside-left channel, his twists and turns earning himself the right to shoot. He aims for the top left, but he’s leaning back, and the ball’s always flying over.
82 min: With ten minutes to go in Germany, it’s still 1-0 to Hungary. With less than ten to go in Milan, England are heading for tier B. As things stand.
81 min: Before it can be taken, the goalscorer Raspadori is replaced by Gabbiadini. James then sees his free kick dispatched safely by Donnarumma.
80 min: Di Lorenzo is booked for a fairly agricultural block on Grealish, just to the left of the Italy D. A free kick in a dangerous position.
78 min: England continue to press Italy back, albeit without making another chance. They’ve looked a bit brighter since the introduction of Grealish. “Watching with a mixed assortment of Neapolitans and English here in Naples,” reports Colum Fordham. “Massive reaction by Neapolitan contingent to the superbly taken goal by Raspadori, Napoli’s new young striker.”
76 min: Nor will this. Foden, Grealish and Bellingham shuttle the ball left to right across the face of the Italy box. Bellingham slips one down the channel for Kane, who pearls low and hard towards the goal. Donnarumma parries brilliantly. Kane tries again. Donnarumma blocks again. Italy clear. That’s England’s best move of the match.
74 min: Kane tries to close down Donnarumma. The Italy keeper sees him off with a cheeky Cruyff Turn. That’s unlikely to have improved the England captain’s foul mood.
72 min: Southgate responds by sending on Grealish and Shaw for Saka and Walker.
71 min: James floats a free kick in from the right. Dier can’t get his header on target. Miles wide right.
70 min: Walker afforded Raspadori far too much space and time there. None of the other England defenders seemed particularly switched on, either. As things stand, England will be relegated from the top tier.
Out of not very much at all, a wonder goal! Raspadori takes delivery of a speculative pass down the inside-left channel. He brings it down from the sky, takes a touch to the left, drops a shoulder back to the right, sending Walker off to the shops, and whips a sensational shot across Pope and into the right-hand side of goal. One hell of a finish!
66 min: A corner on the right leads to another on the left. Dimarco takes. Pope punches clear again, and this time England clear their lines. Bellingham is clipped by Cristante causing Kane to sound off in the referee’s face. A little bit of edge coming into this game.
65 min: Di Lorenzo rolls a flat-footed Maguire down the right, drawing a foul. England don’t clear the resulting free kick, and Raspadori ends up shooting from a tight angle on the right. Pope punches out for a corner.
63 min: Italy make a double change, replacing Scamacca and Barella with Pobega and Gnonto.
61 min: From the corner, Bellingham goes up for a high ball with Barella. The pair collide with Bellingham in mid-air, and the England man falls on his back. He’s winded. England claim a foul – it was right on the edge of the penalty box – but both referee and VAR rule it a 50-50 accident. There was no malice on Barella’s part, but it was a clumsy challenge, and you’ve seen fouls given for less.
60 min: Kane is sent into space down the right and fires low and hard through the six-yard box. Sterling hopes to get on the end of it by the left-hand post, but Toloi flicks out for a corner, just in time.
59 min: Bellingham romps down the middle and sprays a pass wide left for Foden, who tries to find Kane at the far stick. Acerbi gets in the road to flick out for a corner, but the flag goes up for offside.
57 min: Raspadori rolls a cute pass down the left for Dimarco, who rolls the ball into the box for Barella. He’s got to score from ten yards, with only Pope to beat, but slides his effort wide right. What a miss! His blushes are spared when the flag goes up for offside.
55 min: Kane takes matters into his own hands and wanders back on anyway. The referee comes across to give him a small bollocking, but doesn’t add insult to injury by booking him for insubordination.
54 min: Kane is good to continue, yes, but he’s not been allowed back on yet. He’s fuming, but it looks like he’s still bleeding, and so the assistant ref isn’t allowing him back on.
53 min: Replays show Toloi accidentally nutting Kane slap bang in the mouth. There’s a fair bit of blood but the physio mops it up, stems the flow, and the England captain will be good to continue.
51 min: James hits the cross long. Kane goes up with Toloi. The ball sails over their heads and out for a goal kick. Kane meanwhile crashes to the floor holding his face. On comes the physio.
50 min: Kane makes his way down the inside-left channel before hitting a cross-cum-shot that’s deflected out for a corner by Bonucci. James to take.
49 min: James tries to whip-curl the free kick into the top-right corner. The ball nestles in the top-right corner of the stand behind.
48 min: … but then the game springs to life at last! Dimarco curls in viciously from the left. Scamacca can’t quite get on the end of the low cross to fire home. England immediately counter through Sterling, who dribbles down the inside-left channel and draws a cynical foul from Bonucci. A yellow card for the Italian captain, and a free kick in a very dangerous position, just to the left of the D.
46 min: A scrappy start to the half, with both teams shipping possession far too easily. It doesn’t augur well.
Italy get the second half underway. There have been no half-time changes.
Half-time postbag. “Dear Christ, this is awful, isn’t it? Two games from a World Cup? Yikes.” Ben Watson there, with an email that reads even more glumly if you come at it from an Italian perspective.
Meanwhile in lieu of meaningful action at San Siro, Kári Tulinius reports: “The first half of Finland v Romania has been decently entertaining. The latter have probably been the better team, but Teemu Pukki is a forward who can reliably shoot the ball hard and hit the target, so despite Romania having more and better chances, the Eagle-Owls lead 1-0. Enjoy the 2nd half!” We’ll try.
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ALSO HALF TIME: Germany 0-1 Hungary. Adam Szalai with the only goal so far on 17 minutes. As things stand, Hungary will win Group A3 and make it through to the finals.
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.
43 min: Another Foden free kick from the left. This one’s better, towards Rice on the right-hand edge of the six-yard box. Bonucci is forced to eyebrow out for a corner, but that’ll never be taken, because the whistle goes for shoving. Rice really didn’t do too much wrong there, and looks understandably incensed.
42 min: Kane is given an absurd amount of space to run into. He strides down the middle, thinks about passing, thinks again, then blooters over the bar from 30 yards. Donnarumma calmly watches the ball sail away.
40 min: Italy push England back. Acerbi threatens down the inside-left channel, but then Foden nips in the road and wins a free kick. The pressure on England is released.
38 min: Scamacca knocks a long ball down for Cristante, who creams a first-time shot goalwards. It deflects away from danger, off the back of his own man Scamacca.
37 min: Bellingham meets the corner on the edge of the box, but can only send a weak bouncer through to Donnarumma. England have suddenly taken it up a notch.
36 min: Bellingham works his way down the right and earns England a corner. James takes. More bagatelle. Dimarco is forced to hack out for another corner on the same side. James to take again.
35 min: Free kick for England out on the left touchline. Foden’s free kick is half cleared. James, romping down the inside-right flank, has a speculative whack. The ball bagatelles its way through the Italy box and out for what should be a corner … but the referee awards a goal kick instead.