In what was a repeat of last summer’s European Championships final, Italy once again broke English hearts as the Azzurri picked up a 1-0 victory on Friday night.
Only pilling more pressure onto a Three Lions squad who are in the midst of an extended nightmare, Gareth Southgate’s side were also hit with a shock League A relegation.
Failing to pick up any kind of momentum before they make the trip out to Qatar in six weeks’ time, Friday’s meeting at the San Siro was eventually decided by Giacomo Raspadori’s wonderful second-half strike.
In what was another night to forget for England, what were the main talking points from a cagey affair in Milan?
Is it time up for Southgate?
While many across the globe might have tipped England as a standout pick to lift their first international title since 1966 when they make the trip out to Qatar in November, Friday’s guests are enduring a rather public nightmare.
Heading into the summer break with an infamous 4-0 drumming at home against Hungary, the pressure on Southgate’s shoulders is at an all-time high.
Although the ex-Aston Villa defender might have made it clear that he was calling on his side to find some stability, the calls for a change in the dugout are becoming hard to ignore.
While it might be highly unlikely that Southgate will be given the sack just six weeks before the World Cup finals get underway, English fans have become disillusioned with the 52-year-old’s pragmatic approach.
Suffering a remarkable League A relegation on Friday night following their 1-0 loss at the San Siro, England’s traveling support made their anger heard at the final whistle here.
Toothless displays and unwanted records
Although Southgate might have a string of attacking heavyweights in his squad, it is no secret that England have shown some rather glaring issues in the final third.
Once again drawing a blank here and with Harry Kane cutting a frustrated figure, the Three Lions have also started to break some unwanted records.
Along with failing to record a single strike from open play from any of their five Nations League appearances this year, Southgate’s side have also not found the net in their previous three outings on the spin.
In fact, now going over 550 minutes without getting themselves on the scoresheet, this is the first time in almost 22 years that England have drawn three consecutive blanks.
Likewise, limping through this year’s tournament without a single win to their name, the Three Lions’ five-match winless run is their worst rut since 2014 when under former boss Roy Hodgson.
Making the shock call to completely omit Brentford’s Ivan Toney from his matchday squad here, Southgate has a huge amount of work to do.
The exact response Mancini was hoping for
While Italy might have left England heartbroken at Wembley last summer as they were crowned European champions, Roberto Mancini’s side have rather drastically failed to build off of that success.
Suffering a stunning 1-0 loss at the hands of North Macedonia back in March as they failed to book their World Cup ticket, the former Manchester City boss has come under real scrutiny.
However, heading into the summer break with a dreadful 5-2 hammering away at Germany, the Azzurri should be boosted by a much-needed display here.
Opening Friday’s must-win showdown at the San Siro with just a pair of victories from any of their previous nine appearances across all competitions, Italy will be wishing that they could play England every week.
Along with that famous penalties victory at Wembley 15 months ago, the Blues are now unbeaten in each of their last six meetings against the Three Lions – a run that stems back to a 2-1 friendly defeat in 2012.
Italy: Donnarumma, Toloi, Bonucci, Acerbi, Di Lorenzo, Barella, Jorginho, Cristante, Dimarco, Scamacca, Raspadori
Subs: Pobega, Frattesi, Gnonto, Palmieri, Gabbiadini
England: Pope, Walker, Dier, Maguire, Saka, Rice, Bellingham, James, Foden, Kane, Sterling
Subs: Shaw, Grealish
Goals: Raspadori (68′)
Yellow Cards: Italy: Bonucci, Di Lorenzo – England: Grealish
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano
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