England suffered the disgrace of being relegated from the top division of the Nations League after a tepid defeat to Italy, adding to the worry in the run-up to the World Cup in the winter.
Among the favorites to triumph in Qatar, who reached the semi-finals and Euro 2020 final four years ago, things went awry for Gareth Southgate’s side.
England failed to win any of their four games in June, producing a meek response to their 4-0 Molineux mauling against Hungary, with Giacomo Raspadori giving Roberto Mancini’s Italy a 1-0 win on Friday night.
Sami Mokbel of Sportsmail assessed the players.
England’s Harry Maguire did little Friday night to silence critics with a nervous display
Gianluigi Donnarumma – A calming influence for his team, especially as England grew in the game. Two big saves from Kane. 7
Rafael Toloic – The Atalanta defender handled what England threw at him – save for a few disturbing moments. Relatively imperturbable. 6.5
Leonardo Bonucci But for a few moments, calling on his experience to face England’s largely meek attack, the Italian hero crossed through this. Booked. 7
Francesco Acerbic – At six feet tall, the giant central defender was at ease in the air. He looked less confident when confronted by Sterling and Foden with the ball at their feet. 6.5
Giovanni Di Lorenzo – Benefited from some positional deficits from Saka, especially in the first 30 minutes, but couldn’t make England pay. Booked. 6.5.
Giacomo Raspadori closed an impressive display with the winner for Italy
Bryan Cristante – An early challenge at Foden, for which the Italian was lucky enough to escape a booking, set the tone for Italy’s aggressive start. 6.5
Jorginho – Unusually sloppy at times in possession, but the Chelsea man kept the ball moving for the most part in midfield. 6
Nicolo Barella – Uneconomical. Provided Italy’s rearguard protection and energy, but offered little else. Too many passes misplaced. 5.5
Federico Dimarco – Presents a decent threat to the Italian’s right, but was much less zealous in following the wandering Foden. 6
Giacomo Raspadori – The 22-year-old attacker is an obvious talent, but England’s back-three coped well with the threat from the Napoli man. Seems to have a bright future 7.5
Gianluca Scamacca – West Ham’s summer signing had Italy’s best chances in the first half, but showed little composure in front of goal. 6.5
England’s Player of the Year Bukayo Saka wasted in an unknown role on the left wing
Subscribers: Gnonto 6 (Scamacca 63); Pobega 6 (Barella 63); Gabbiadini (Raspadori 81); Felipe (Frettesi 89); Emerson (Jorginho 89)
Not used: Meret, Vicario, Zerbin, Grifo, Gabbiadini, Esposito, Bastoni.
Roberto Mancini: His Italian side is in transition and they looked exactly like this – but even in this state they were good enough to doom England to further misery. 7
Nick Pope – Looked good in possession which will please Southgate and made some decent stops. No chance at the goal of Italy. 6.5
Kyle Walker – Offers more when used as a right back. Was largely at ease as a central defender again, but couldn’t control Raspadori for Italy’s goal. 5.5
Eric Dier – Back in the international fold and didn’t hurt his hopes of staying in the squad despite the loss. One interception denies Cristante particularly well. 6.5
Harry Maguire His performance here will have done little to silence growing calls for the Manchester United star. 5.5
Reece James – Heir Walker’s throne on England’s right has yet to show its teeth at this level – but will go to the top. 6
Jude Bellingham pushed his claims for a Qatar starting role with a composed rendition
Declan Rice – Like many of his teammates, he got off to a slow start. He improved – but not enough to shake England out of their current malaise. 6
Jude Bellingham – One of the pros of a rough night for England. Must start in Qatar. Nothing scares the child – has absolutely everything in his locker. 7
Bukayo Saka – Has worked for England as a left back but his talents are wasted in the unknown role. 5.5
Raheem Sterling – The Italians were clearly terrified of the Chelsea forward’s pace and skill, but this was a bad night. Remains one of England’s most important players. 5.5
Harry Kane – Probably had England’s best two chances but not getting a decent service as England struggle for creativity. 5.5
Phil Foden – His movement caused problems in Italy, especially at the end of the first half. The English player seemed most likely to open the door. 6.5
Pressure on boss Gareth Southgate mounts after his team failed to score again
Subscribers: Grealish (Saka 72); Shaw (walker 72)
Subscribers not used: Ramsdale, Henderson, Trippier, Coady, Ward-Prowse, Tomori, Mount, Bowen, Alexander-Arnold, Abraham.
Gareth Southgate: His team has now played over 400 minutes without scoring an open play goal – and lost…again. It doesn’t look good. 5
Referee: Jesus Manzano (SPA) – Sometimes a little too eager with the whistle. But had full outlines of the game. 6.5