Nations League: Giacomo Raspadori’s strike helped Italy beat England
Giacomo Raspadori gave Italy a 1-0 win over England on Friday to keep their hopes of a place in the Nations League last four alive. Napoli striker Raspadori decided on an otherwise uninspired encounter with a brilliant second-half strike at the San Siro, leaving European champions League A, two points behind Group 3 leaders Hungary.
Roberto Mancini’s team will take on Hungary in Budapest on Monday and a place in the last four with a win will be a small boost to Azuri after a second consecutive World Cup exit.
England will be in Qatar in November but a defeat in Milan sent Gareth Southgate’s team into League B after another flat performance in which they made up for barely anything.
They have not won a game in this season’s Nations League and are four points behind Germany, who are third after losing to Hungary and will play a dead rubber with England at Wembley while Italy try to make the final leg. .
Raspadori told Italian broadcaster Rai, “We did well against a strong team, we were aggressive minded, created chances and controlled the match while winning. We needed a win like this against a top opponent. “
“We want to return to the team we were before and put Italy back where we are.”
Triumph at Euro 2020 seems like almost a lifetime ago for Italy, who have been through a crisis of results and confidence since bringing home the trophy to joyous crowds in July last year.
Mancini is trying to rethink his team after the humiliation of not qualifying for this winter’s World Cup, but his team selection was hampered by injuries to key players in the lead up to the match, forcing him to withdraw Had to be three.
Ciro Immobile was the fifth player to be injured before Friday’s match and was replaced by Gianluca Scamacca unfortunate enough not to give Italy a fifth-minute lead when his close-range header was removed from the bar by Nick Pope.
Italy were on the front foot for the opening quarter of an hour but, surprised by the hosts’ quick start, England slowly began to regain the football.
England knew a defeat would send them down, but despite dominating the ball, their difficulties continued to create opportunities, with Harry Kane from afar adding to their charm with an uneven first half.
There was little to recommend about the spectacle served by both sides other than Raspadori’s 68th-minute winner, the game’s only true touch of class.
The 22-year-old brilliantly brought down Leonardo Bonucci’s long pass and dropped Kyle Walker with ease before hitting a handsome shot from the edge of the field.
Jack Grealish’s start for Bukayo Saka did little to improve England’s creativity, but Gianluigi Donnarumma pulled off a pair of smart saves in quick succession to deny Harry Kane with 13 minutes remaining.
And it was Italy that should have doubled their lead in the closing stages when Manolo Gabbiadini jumped head-on with Pope before Federico DiMarco clipped his shot out of the post.
England kept pressing for a level but solid Italy defending ensured the hosts stayed out and gave themselves something to play for against Hungary.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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