England’s attempt to avenge their Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy fell flat as the Three Lions were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw at Molineux on Saturday by an experimental Azzurri side.
Gareth Southgate’s side failed to kick-start their Nations League campaign against a side that has not qualified for Qatar 2022 and was thrashed by Argentina in the Finalissima, exactly 11 months after Italy beat England on penalties at Wembley.
As a result of the crowd trouble at last July’s final, England had chances but were arguably second-best in the first half, as they were cheered on by a massively reduced crowd made up mostly of children.
The hosts had the better of the second half, but it was only the second time in Southgate’s tenure that they went three games without a win.
Within the first 10 minutes, Davide Frattesi and Tammy Abraham both missed good close-range chances, while Gianluigi Donnarumma tipped a Mason Mount effort onto the crossbar.
The flurry was followed by a lull, but Italy threatened again just before the half-hour mark when Aaron Ramsdale made a fine save from point-blank range to deny Sandro Tonali.
Italy, too, finished the half on a high note. Matteo Pessina’s drive was turned over after Gianluca Scamacca smashed over from eight yards.
Early in the second half, England should have made it 1-0, but Raheem Sterling failed to convert Reece James’ cross.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo then mishandled Lorenzo Pellegrini’s lofted pass into the box, failing to square to the unmarked Scamacca or get a shot off, and the game ended in a goalless draw.