Italy picked up a narrow 1-0 win over England when the two sides met in a UEFA Nations League encounter on Friday evening.
Giacomo Raspadori scored the only goal of the game for the hosts in the 68th minute, and the Three Lions have now been relegated to UEFA Nations League B following the defeat in Milan.
England have been abysmal in the UEFA Nations League so far, failing to win any of their five Group A3 matches. They are currently at the bottom of the group, and Gareth Southgate will be under tremendous pressure after another disappointing performance from his side.
Despite having top-class attackers like Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling at his disposal, Southgate has failed to get his offensive unit firing in the UEFA Nations League so far. England have scored just one goal from their five group games and the fans will be concerned with their team’s performance heading into the FIFA World Cup later this year.
Meanwhile, the win over England has propelled Italy to second in the standings just two points adrift of group leaders Hungary. Roberto Mancini will still harbour hopes of making it to the finals but Italy have to improve going forward. Here at The Hard Tackle, we run the rule over both sets of players and see how they fared on the night.
England have failed to win any of their last 5 games. This is their worst run since Gareth Southgate took over as manager.
Real concern before Qatar. ? pic.twitter.com/IqehMjnJPv
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 23, 2022
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6.5/10
The PSG goalkeeper had a relatively comfortable outing for his national team on the night. Donnarumma was barely tested in the first half, but he was alert when called upon. He produced an important double save to deny England striker Harry Kane.
Rafael Toloi: 6.5/10
The Italian centre-half put in a solid display against the Three Lions and did well to contain the likes of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane with his well-timed interceptions and tackling.
Leonardo Bonucci: 8/10
Arguably the pick of the players on the pitch last night. Bonucci produced a defensive masterclass and won most of his duels against the England attackers. Furthermore, he produced the all-important assist for Giacomo Raspadori’s goal with his impressive long-range passing.
— Leonardo Bonucci (@bonucci_leo19) September 23, 2022
Francesco Acerbi: 6.5/10
Acerbi had a no-nonsense approach to the game and defended admirably. He did well to support Bonucci and Toloi with his positioning and robust tackling.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo: 7/10
The right-sided wing-back had a solid defensive outing and helped his side deal with Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling. Di Lorenzo ventured forward on occasions and caused problems for the England backline.
Nicolo Barella: 6.5/10
The Inter Milan midfielder had a solid yet unspectacular outing on the night. Barella worked hard in defence and attack while doing his best to link the midfield with the forward line.
Jorginho – 6/10
The Chelsea midfielder was his usual self at the heart of the Italy midfield. Jorginho did well to win back possession and recycle the ball for his side.
Bryan Cristante: 6/10
The AS Roma midfielder put on a performance pretty similar to his colleagues in the midfield. Cristante did his job to support the likes of Jorginho and Barella while kept things simple in the middle with his short, accurate passing.
Federico Dimarco: 7.5/10
Deployed as the left wing-back, the Inter Milan defender put on an exceptional performance for his side. Dimarco bombed up and down the pitch throughout the game and helped create chances for the side. Dimarco was solid at the back as well.
Gianluca Scamacca: 6.5/10
The West Ham United striker had a bright start to the game and he hit the post with his header. He did well to create chances for the likes of Barella and Raspadori with his impressive link-up play as well.
Giacomo Raspadori: 7/10
Raspadori had a solid outing for Italy on the night. He led the line well alongside Scamacca and could have scored early on in the game. Raspodori came up trumps when it mattered most and scored the all-important winning goal.
Wilfried Gnonto: 7/10
Caused all sorts of problems for the England defenders with his mazy dribbling after coming on in the second half.
Tommaso Pobega – 6/10
Kept things simple in the middle and added defensive steel to the side after coming on.
Manolo Gabbiadini: 5/10
An unspectacular cameo, but he had the chance to increase Italy’s lead.
Davide Frattesi: N/A
Came on too late to make any meaningful impact.
Emerson Palmieri: N/A
Came on too late to make any meaningful impact.
— England (@England) September 23, 2022
Nick Pope: 6.5/10
Handed a start because of an injury to Jordan Pickford, the Newcastle United goalkeeper produced an impressive performance for his country. Pope pulled off important saves from Scamacca and Raspadori in both halves of the game.
Kyle Walker: 5/10
The Manchester City defender had a mediocre outing on the night. Walker was caught out of position a few times and could have done better to stop Raspadori’s match-winning goal.
Harry Maguire: 5.5/10
Maguire has not started much for Manchester United and seemed rusty against the Italian forwards. He was caught out of position early on and was beaten at the back post by Scamacca who was unlucky not to score.
Eric Dier: 6.5/10
The Tottenham defender was handed a rare start by Gareth Southgate, and he did well to justify his inclusion. Dier was probably the pick of the defenders on the night and produced some important tackles and blocks.
Reece James: 5.5/10
The Chelsea defender had a torrid outing for England on the night. James did look impressive going forward, but he was far too casual defensively and was out of position a number of times. He should have done better for Italy’s winner as well.
Bukayo Saka: 5/10
The Arsenal youngster was deployed in a surprising role of a left wing-back, and he was pretty much ineffective throughout the game.
Declan Rice: 7/10
The West Ham United captain put on a solid display at the centre of the park. Rice did well to break up play from time to time and recycled the ball for his midfield partner Jude Bellingham.
Jude Bellingham: 8/10
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder was our player to watch in the preview, and he stepped up accordingly. Undoubtedly the best player on the pitch for his side, Bellingham drove England forward and could have scored with a late header.
Phil Foden: 7.5/10
Another player who impressed in the final third for England. Foden linked up well with his teammates and tried to create chances for Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. He did not have too much time on the ball because of Italy’s dominance in the middle of the park, but his quality was evident.
Harry Kane: 6/10
The England captain did not have ample service from his teammates and struggled on the night. Kane did force a double save from Donnarumma late on in the second half, but that was as good as it got for him.
Raheem Sterling: 5/10
The Chelsea winger was marked out of the game by Italy and was rendered ineffective for most of the contest.
Jack Grealish: 5/10
The former Aston Villa captain has not had the best of time at the club level with Manchester City, and his performance for England was not spectacular either. Grealish had a largely ineffective cameo and failed to influence things in the final third.
Luke Shaw: 4/10
The Manchester United full-back looked out of pace when he came on and struggled massively at the back.