England and Italy play out goalless Nations League draw in Euro 2020 final repeat


Southgate: Embarrassment for England to play behind closed doors

Gareth Southgate says it's embarrassing for England as a country to play Italy behind closed doors as a punishment for poor fan behaviour at the Euro 2020 final.

England remain without a win in this year's UEFA Nations League after a goalless draw with Italy at Wolverhampton's Molineux on Saturday.

The match was played behind closed doors following sanctions against the FA for crowd trouble during last year's Euro 2020 final at Wembley, when Italy beat England to win the trophy after a penalty shootout.

The 2,000 or so children who were allowed to attend Saturday's match witnessed a much less dramatic affair this time around.

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The two goalkeepers were the standout performers with England's Aaron Ramsdale and Italy's Gianluigi Donnarumma each making impressive saves to maintain the 0-0 scoreline.

England will likely feel the more disappointed of the two sides not to pick up a win after controlling much of the possession and also seeing Raheem Sterling shoot over the bar from inside the six-yard box with a clear chance in the second half.

Both teams featured a number of changes from the lineups that contested the European Championship final a year ago.

England coach Garteth Southgate took the opportunity to get looks at Ramsdale, defender Fikayo Tomori and striker Tammy Abraham from the start, with Harry Kane only a substitute, as preparations continued for the World Cup.

Italy's Roberto Mancini, meanwhile, continued to look to the future with a new generation of players after failing to qualify for Qatar.

England stay bottom of League A3, with two points from three games, while unbeaten Italy are top with five points.

In the final games of the June window on Tuesday, England will host Hungary while Italy will travel to take on Germany.

While England's lineup had an experimental feel and the atmosphere was flat, the lack of quality and their over-cautious style will be a cause for concern with the World Cup looming in Qatar in November.

It is the first time they have gone three games without a win since Southgate took charge and they have not scored a goal from open play in their last three games.

"We improved upon a lot of things today," Southgate said. "We had two or three really good chances that we needed to score and lacked that bit of sharpness in the final third.

"But the general performance I was pleased with. I thought the second half we were the better team."

Mancini would have been the happier of the two managers as his new-look side played the better football, starting from the third minute when but Davide Frattesi side-footed a superb chance wide of the post.

Mount should have scored when he was played in on goal but his curling effort rattled the crossbar.

But the slicker moves came from Italy and Ramsdale made a stunning save with his legs to deny Sandro Tonali who looked poised to score from Giovanni Di Lorenzo's volleyed cross.

The Arsenal keeper then had to react smartly to keep out Matteo Pessina's looping shot on the stroke of halftime while Gianluca Scamacca also fired another chance over.

Sterling, captain for the night, should have put England ahead but his scooped finish over the crossbar rather summed up a disappointing night for the hosts.

"We have been too reliant on Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling and other players have to step into that space," Southgate said.

"A number of them have been able to do it with their clubs but have not converted at international level."

Information from Reuters was used in this report.