• By Paul Lagan at Molineux Stadium

England face possible relegation and are bottom of Nations League table after 0-0 draw with Italy



England head coach Gareth Southgate Picture: Paul Lagan


By Paul Lagan at Molineux Stadium

England 0 v Italy 0

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England remain rooted to the bottom of their Nation League group, and face the possibility of relegation following their 0-0 draw against Italy at Wolves' Molineux stadium tonight.

The Three Lions produced a positive performance, had the lions' share of the ball, but failed to pierce the solid defence of table-toppers Italy.

Chelsea's Mason Mount had the best chance of the game, but his venomous early shot rattled the Italian crossbar.

England have yet to win any of their three opening Group A3 fixtures, mustering just two draws.

They face Hungary, again at Molineux on Tuesday.

The backdrop to this match was that no paying fans were allowed in, due to the antisocial behaviour of England fans at the Euro Final at Wembley last summer.

There were about 3,000 children allowed in however.

But their youthful support for the players wasn't reciprocated on the pitch.

England, despite having the most of the early possession were cut apart on two minutes when Davide Frattesi beat the static Three Lions defence.

However his low, right-footer, went across Aaron Ramsdale body and inches wide of his right post.

Chelsea's Mount had the first chance for England, quickly followed by ex-Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham. Mount's shot went straight to Gianluigi Donnarumma, Abraham's went into the side-netting.

Mount rattled Donnarumma's crossbar on nine minutes, ably set up by Rahemm Sterling.

West Ham's Declan Rice saw a fine volley from Sterling corner, on 17 minutes, flash over the Italy crossbar as the home side dominated the ball.

Italy had a golden opportunity to take the lead in this Nations League match on 24 minutes when Sandro Tonali struck a firm, unchallenged right-footer on goal.

Ramsdale was equal to the task and hacked the goal-bound effort clear.

Scamacca had a turn and shot, on 42 minutes but his shot went high over Ramsdale's crossbar and into the empty stand behind him.

Right on the whistle Ramsdale produced a fine save, tipping over Davide Frattesi's powerful drive for a corner.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

Sterling's conversion rate from close range is not great and so it continued on 53 minutes when a fierce byline cross by Reece James fell to Sterling at the far post. But the Manchester City forward was a tad too far forward, and couldn't control the ball and it fell away for a goal kick.

His weak shot three minutes later fell straight to Donnarumma.

England boss Gareth Southgate opted to make a triple substitution on 66 minutes, bringing on Harry Kane, Jarred Bowen, and Kalvin Phillips, off came Abraham, Rice and Mount.

England continued to dominate the possession of the ball, but the Italian's were resolute in their defensive set-up, forcing England to play across the pitch without getting behind their back four

Bukayo Saka was then introduced at the expense of Sterling with 12 minutes left.

Marc Guehi replaced AC Milan, and former Chelsea player Fikayo Tomori with two minutes left on the clock.

Teams: England, Ramsdale, James, Tripper, Rice, Tomori, Maguire, Grealish, Ward-Prowse, Abraham, Sterling, Mount

Subs: Pope, Pickford, Stones, Walker, Guehi, Coady, Bowen, Phillips, Bellingham, Kane, Gallagher, Saka

Italy: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Gatti, Locatelli, Tonali, Scamacca, Pellegrini, Pessina, Dimarco, Acerbi, Frattesi

Subs: Gollini, Meret, Felipe, Calabria, Florenzi, Gnonto, Cristante, Politano, Barella, Scalvini, Raspadori, Esposito

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)