Italy-England: The Euro 2020 finalists meet to regain lost momentum

England lost to Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley
Date: Friday 23 September time: 19:45 GMT place: San Siro, Milan coverage: Live broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live, the BBC Sport website and app

England meets Italy here in Milan in 439 days Euro 2020 final It was at Wembley that brought desperation on the pitch accompanied by bitterness and counter-accusations, with them now striving to regain lost momentum.

The naked facts suggest that England suffered the familiar fate of penalty shootout defeat after a 1-1 draw, the disappointment heightened by the loss at home and after a 55-year wait to reach a major final.

It was once a festive occasion marred by the chaotic scenes caused by widespread riots, the lack of crowd control as England fans without tickets stormed the barricades, and then the racist abuse suffered by Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka . After they missed the penalty kicks in the penalty shootout.

England and Italy meet again in one of the world’s most famous football arenas, the San Siro, as the European Championship final appears to be a tooth away, and both countries hope to shed memories of poor results in their last matches.

England under Gareth Southgate can at least use those two Nations League matches against Italy and Germany to avoid the embarrassment of relegation from their group but also as spectators for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar in November.

In contrast, Italy’s fall from grace after their glory night at Wembley was so swift and painful that they would watch the biggest game of the match from afar after losing a World Cup playoff to tiny North Macedonia in Palermo.

Italy with Euro Cup 2020
Italy has had some disappointing results since winning Euro 2020

Italy coach Roberto Mancini had enough money in the bank with his Euro win to withstand this humiliation, but all eyes will be on his side after they lost 5-2 in Germany in their last game, the first time anyone has scored so many goals in the past. Azure since 1957.

England also need to stop slipping into four games without a win, their worst streak since 2014, when they went through five games without a win under manager Roy Hodgson.

They have played 13 matches, won seven, drawn four and lost two since losing to Italy at Wembley.

There is no doubt that the optimism and patriotic enthusiasm that accompanied Southgate and England on their journey to the Euro 2020 final has fizzled out over time, and the growing sense that failure to win a major tournament on home soil must now be seen as a colossal missed opportunity. .

Have England really moved forward since losing to Italy? They didn’t exactly make a convincing case for their existence.

Southgate, for the first time, felt the full fury of the fans after their last game, the 4-0 loss to Hungary at Molino in June, the atmosphere full of vitriol as what was once off-stage exploded from his conservative approach. Noisy in the public domain.

Chants of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ reverberated in Molyneux, short memories known once again after Southgate led England to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia in 2018 before the Euro 2020 final, proving that he does. know what he does. England captain Harry Kane has expressed his disappointment after being asked about the manager position.

Southgate is as safe as the England boss gets. The FA admire his personality, record and everything else he gives to the organization. If he leaves, it will be at the time of his choosing except for something unusual, after he signed a contract that will take him until December 2024.

He cut a more exhausted figure than usual after defeating Hungary when everyone involved in those Nations League matches seemed to be suffering from football fatigue, with Southgate even causing a stir when he said at one point: “I won’t override your welcome.”

There is no doubt that the summer’s results have been mediocre, including a goalless draw with the Italians behind closed doors at Molino, and Southgate exited from a period of reflection with the admission that he may have got things wrong.

Speaking at the England team’s hotel in Milan, Southgate said: “I felt like I’ve been offended by certain decisions internally and you won’t win if I compromise. It was good for me to sharpen that focus again. To be completely tough and have to create an environment for players that allows them to excel.” .

He refused to reveal areas of the settlement that bothered him but it was clear that Southgate had learned lessons from an unfulfilled summer experience.

Southgate undoubtedly needs performances and results in these next two Nations League matches to dispel the notion that England may have missed their big chance at Wembley on that humid and chaotic night in July last year, and conditions are unlikely to fall favorably for them again. soon.

The World Cup will do much to shape how his time as England manager will be viewed alongside his legacy. Expectations waned after dismal efforts at the Grand Slams under Fabio Capello and Hodgson have been raised by what Southgate has achieved himself.

And it shouldn’t be forgotten, Southgate also inherited an England in disarray after Sam Allardyce’s ill-fated reign in one game. This reservoir of goodwill can drain quickly, even for managers with a long list of honors, so these two Nations League matches will hold significance in setting the mood ahead of the World Cup.

Of interest to Southgate immediately was to finalize his squad for going to Qatar, with only those two matches before he compiled a roster of those he hopes will prove that England are nowhere near men and can finally claim the jackpot that has eluded the men’s team since 1966.

Brentford striker Evan Toni was his standout pick, joining Tammy Abraham in the fight to be captain Kane’s replacement, while Judd Bellingham’s impressive Champions League performance for Borussia Dortmund against Manchester City last week increased the clamor for a place in the starting line-up. .

The absence of first-choice goalkeeper Jordan Pickford through injury means Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale, in the 4-0 loss to Hungary, and Newcastle United’s summer signings Nick Pope and Dean Henderson, loaned to Nottingham Forest from Manchester United, will want to pay. Their claims to be next in line.

The involvement of Manchester United captain Harry Maguire will come under intense scrutiny after coach Eric Ten Hag brought him down after a poor start to the season, and Southgate’s loyalty to the player has served him well to ensure his presence in the squad.

Italy is a formidable barrier, especially on home soil, and it would be a real confidence-lifting if England could exit the San Siro with a satisfactory result, preferably a win, to blow the cobwebs at Molino.