4 minutes: England was almost destroyed by a simple ball in the middle. Maguire stood up and Raspadori ran out. Raspadori shoots directly at Pope, who parries well. Then the flag was raised for offside. As it turns out, Maguire executed the trap perfectly.
3 minutes: Barrera found a little space on the right and hoped to free Dimarco to the other side with a diagonal pass. The ball flew out of the game harmlessly.
1 minute: Cristante left something in Foden, and Foden felt it. It was a bold opening strategy for a player far from suspension.
England let the ball roll. Tonight’s referee sent off Harry Maguire and Reece James for their last England coaching game (against Denmark at Wembley in 2020).
Before the game, there was a moment of silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II and the victims of the recent floods in Italy. Observe respectfully.
The team is out! Italy wore their famous sky blue, while England wore their new World Cup jersey with white and blue epaulets. The action is just a few songs away from the national anthem. (God Save the King still doesn’t blurt out, does it? Old habits, all that.)
Gareth Southgate talks to Channel 4: “We’re looking for a performance level and that’s key. It’s a good stage to play against top opponents. Harry Maguire seems to be in a good position to train and it’s not like he hasn’t played for 10 weeks. “We felt like we had a good process with Jude Bellingham, who came up in the European Championships and then started and then started some bigger games.”
Bukayo Saka said something to Channel 4. “We’ve been very positive. The future is more important than the past. We can’t control the past anymore. These games are very important, the last two games before the World Cup, so we really want to win those two games. That’s our mentality.”
Three Italian players are just one yellow card away from next week’s game in Hungary: Brian Cristante, Nicolo Barrera and Alessandro Bastoni.
There are five England players who will miss the visit to Germany if yellow is seen tonight: Kyle Walker, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Jack Grealish and James Ward-Prowse.
Both teams were in hiding – England beat Hungary 4-0, Italy 5-2 Germany – so there were a lot of changes. Gareth Southgate scored six goals, Eric Dier got his first appearance since November 2020 and Harry Maguire has not started in United’s last four Premier League games , but Nick Pope replaced the injured Jordan Pickford, and Declan Rice, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden also started. Roberto Mancini makes seven changes, Chelsea midfielder Jorginho returns and West Ham striker Gianluca Scamaca replaces the injured Ciro Immobile.
Italy: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Toroi, Cristante, Jorginho, Di Marco, Laspadori, Scamaca, Barre pull.
Substitutes: Meret, Vicario, Luis Felipe, Poberga, Fratesi, Gnonto, Emerson, Zerbin, Griffo, Gabbiadini, Esposito, Bass Tony.
U.K: Pope, James, Dier, Maguire, Walker, Bellingham, Rice, Sterling, Foden, Saka, Kane.
Substitutes: Ramsdale, D Henderson, Trippier, Shaw, Grealish, Cody, Ward-Prowse, Tomori, Mount, Bowen, Alexander-Arnold, Abraham.
referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (Spain).
The last time England played, this happened…
…so, well, you know. In fact, England have gone four games without a win and have so far messed up the Nations League Group A3. Defeats to Hungary at home and away, a lucky draw in Germany and some goalless tediousness against Italy in Wolverhampton have left Gareth Southgate’s side at the bottom of the table . If they lose tonight at the San Siro, they will be knocked out of the top flight with great prejudice. In other words, it’s game time. Kick-off time is 7.45pm BST. On!