England vs Italy 0-0: Stalemate Keeps Italy on Top of Group

In a rematch for the Euro 2020 final, England hosted Italy at the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton in the third round of the UEFA Nations League Group Stage. Following a promising first half that featured dangerous chances for the Azzurri, the encounter regressed into a cagey affair in the second period with the two sides sharing the spoils.

Staring Lineups

Gareth Southgate started in 4-2-3-1 formation spearheaded by Tammy Abraham. The Roma striker was supported by Jack Graelish, Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling, while James Ward-Prowse and Declan Rice took the double pivot roles.

Aaron Ramsdale started in goal for the Three Lions, with Fikayo Tomori and Harry Maguire in front of him. Reece James acted as a right-back while Kieran Trippier was deployed in an unusual role on the left.

On the other hand, Roberto Mancini adopted a rather cautious 4-3-2-1 formation, with Lorenzo Pellegrini and Matteo Pessina lining up behind Gianluca Scamacca. In the middle of the park, Manuel Locatelli acted as a Regista in between Davide Frattesi and Sandro Tonali.

As usual, Gianluigi Donnarumma was the man between the posts, while the Azzurri’s backline was made up from Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Federico Gatti, Francesco Acerbi and Federico Dimarco.

Exciting Italy in the First Half

Similar to the Euro 2020 final, the match started in a high tempo. Pessina’s pass put Frattesi through on goal for the first chance of the match, but his low shot went past the far post.

The hosts replied with two chances of their own. Abraham almost pounced on some botched passing between Acerbi and Donnarumma, but couldn’t put his shot on target, while Sterling’s vicious shot rattled the woodwork.

Italy had their finest chance of the first half when Locatelli picked up Di Lorenzo’s run from the right. The Napoli fullback directed the ball towards the box and eventually found Tonali, but his shot was somehow denied by Ramsdale.

The Azzurri consolidated their first half dominance by testing their opponents’ goalkeeper on two occasions before the halftime whistle. Nonetheless, the Arsenal custodian was up to the task, palming away Pessina’s shot and catching Locatelli’s volley.

Cagey Second Period

The second half started with more of the same, with the visitors continuing to push for a goal. However, England almost stunned Italy when James’ cross found Sterling in front of goal, but the winger ended up missing a sitter.

However the rhythm of the second half wasn’t on par with the exciting first tempo, especially following the changes. In the end of the day, neither side was able to create memorable chances.

Moreover, it appeared as if the two nations were happy to settle for a draw, even though England remain without a win in the competition. As for Mancini’s men, the stalemate allowed them to maintain their spot at the top of Group A3 of the Nations League with 5 points from three fixtures, taking advantage of Germany’s draw in Hungary.