Giacomo Raspadori strike relegates England to increase World Cup worries


England have failed to win any of their last five fixtures and have just one more match before their World Cup campaign gets underway.

England suffered relegation to League B in the UEFA Nations League after a 1-0 defeat to Italy, a result which also equalled their worst run of form in eight years.

Giacomo Raspadori curled home the only meaningful attempt of the game for the hosts, capitalising on sloppy defending from Kyle Walker, who provided too much space for the Napoli man.

Italy’s win was only their third in 10 games and the performance did little to ease concerns surrounding Roberto Mancini.

However, it is England who face the more immediate problems with just 90 minutes of football remaining before the start of the World Cup and Gareth Southgate’s men are far from ready.

A lackluster first half saw both sides hamstrung by an inability to create any sort of threat in the final third, with neither Nick Pope nor Gianluigi Donnarumma called into action as play was reduced to sketchy exchanges in midfield.

The first exchanges of the second half didn’t change much but Italy took the lead with their first meaningful chance of awareness, Raspadori collecting Leonardo Bonucci’s long pump forward and giving time to turn before curling into the far corner beyond Pope’s reach.

England’s introduction of Jack Grealish and Luke Shaw after the conceding, which finally gave the Three Lions a natural left-back when they started Bukayo Saka out of position, did not change the pattern of the game.

Harry Kane saw two shots saved by Donnarumma, though neither were particularly threatening, with Italy looking more likely to add to their lead when Federico Dimarco hit the crossbar.

Jude Bellingham headed a late chance over the bar deep into stoppage time as England’s fate was sealed at the final whistle.

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