Lethargic England lacking sharpness, says Southgate after Italy stalemate

ENGLAND manager Gareth Southgate blamed a run of three games without a win to start their Nations League campaign on a lack of sharpness in front of goal after a 0-0 draw against Italy on Saturday. A rematch of last year’s Euro 2020 final took place in front of just 3,000 school children in Wolverhampton as England served a one-match be­hind closed doors punishment for the chaos that ensued that night at Wembley last July.


Southgate labelled that sit­uation as an “embarrassment” for the country and believed the lack of atmosphere played a part in another Nations League clash lacking verve at the end of an exhausting season.


England’s only goal in the last three games came from Har­ry Kane’s late penalty to salvage a 1-1 draw away to Germany on Tuesday. “We had two or three really good chances we need to score, but just lacked that sharpness in front of goal,” said Southgate. “You can see when you are pushing like we were in the second half, you don’t have any crowd to help you or put the opposition under any pressure.”


Since beating the Three Li­ons on penalties to become cham­pions of Europe, things have gone wrong for Italy as they missed out on a second consecutive World Cup. However, Roberto Mancini’s men have bounced back to top Group A3 with five points from three games. England remain bottom with two points, behind Hungary and Germany, who drew 1-1 in Budapest.—AFP