Italy kindle Nations League hopes, send England down - RTHK
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Italy kindle Nations League hopes, send England down

2022-09-24 HKT 05:37
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  • Italy's Giacomo Raspadori celebrates his goal at the San Siro. Photo: AFP
    Italy's Giacomo Raspadori celebrates his goal at the San Siro. Photo: AFP
Giacomo Raspadori fired Italy to a 1-0 win over England on Friday, keeping Italian hopes of making the Nations League final four alive.

Napoli striker Raspadori decided an otherwise uninspiring encounter with a superb second half strike at the San Siro to keep the European champions two points behind League A, Group 3 leaders Hungary.

Roberto Mancini's side face Hungary in Budapest on Monday and will make the final four with a win, which would be a small boost for the Azzurri after missing out on their second straight World Cup.

England will be in Qatar in November but defeat in Milan sent Gareth Southgate's side down to League B after another flat display in which they barely created anything.

They haven't won a game in this season's Nations League and are four points behind Germany, who sit third after losing to Hungary and will play a dead rubber with England at Wembley as Italy try to make the final stages.

"We put in a good performance against a strong team, we were attack-minded, created chances and controlled the match while bringing home the win. We needed this kind of victory against a top opponent," said Raspadori to Italian broadcaster Rai.

"We want to return to being the team we were before and put Italy back where we belong."

Italy were on the front foot for the opening quarter of an hour but England slowly began to gain a football after being surprised the hosts' fast start.

England knew that a defeat would send them down but despite dominating the ball their difficulties creating chances continued, with Harry Kane blasting over from distance their highlight from an uneventful first half.

There was little to recommend about the spectacle served up by both sides after the break apart from 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 easily skipped round Kyle Walker before whipping home a beautiful shot from the edge of the area. (AFP)