16 min Italy 0 England 0
Felling on Barella gives Italy a free kick, 22 meters out to the right. Dimarco pumps his cross into Kane who deflects it out for a corner.
A push by Scamacca on Rice in the corner gives England a free kick.
14 min Italy 0 England 0
Sterling wins the ball back in midfield, rushes forward down the inside right, but his pass to Kane, as he enters the box, sends him wider than he would have liked and his cross is blocked, goes up and takes the sting out of it. Acerbi overmuscles Foden to remove.
12 min Italy 0 England 0
First opportunity for England after a felling on Sterling. Nothing comes from the free-kick, but Sterling gets to the scraps on the left and angles in a cross that Maguire pounces on. Bonucci goes in front of him with nos and strength to put him off.
10 min Italy 0 England 0
Rice, who is not in the best nick, struggles to get hold of the midfield and is constantly passed by Barella who laces passes to Raspadori and Scamacca. The two strikers have dropped from the center backs and are flourishing in the space between Rice and the defence.
8 min Italy 0 England 0
England defend that corner much better, but nothing sticks. Toloi wins the ball back and links up Raspadori and Scamacca to charge up the middle. Rice works in pursuit of his Hammers team-mate who lets England off the hook by firing a shot wide from 25 yards instead of continuing into the box.
6 min Italy 0 England 0
England is all over the place. Really bad. Misplaced pass from Walker lets in an unnecessary corner from which Scamacca attacks a cross at the back post. Pope has to screw it onto the post and Maguire hacks it behind for another corner.
4 min Italy 0 England 0
Maguire takes Scamacca offside with a well-timed step up, but the flag doesn’t go up until Pope saves, low to his right, from Scamacca’s rasping shot.
3 min Italy 0 England 0
Dier is in the center of England’s back three, Maguire on the left. Barella tries to free Dimarco down the left with a broken diagonal after winning the ball back easily in midfield. Italy has gone man to man.
1 min Italy 0 England 0
England kicks off, attacking from left to right. The pitch looks beautiful and it’s comfortable to pass around, as England do in midfield, until Foden, playing on the right, is clipped high by Cristante. England free kick on halfway.
Pennants are replaced
Luca Vialli and Gareth Southgate embrace and there will now be a minute’s tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II and the victims of floods in northern Italy.
Time for the national anthems
The camera is fixed on the soprano, so we can’t see if anyone stumbles over the lyrical change in God Save the King.
Italy’s is brilliant.
England in the home kit
White shirts, navy shorts, white socks, with Euro 96 sky blue flashes.
The host is in the tunnel
Italy in azure shirts, shorts and socks. England will be wearing their new World Cup, you’d think. Presumably the away kit.
Confirms that he plays at wing-back. Uefa’s team sheet shows him playing on the left side of the trident in a 4-2-3-1, perhaps tricked by his shirt number – 7. Right wing-back Reece James wears 3, which offends me. Pardon. I am very old.
Matt Law reports from the San Siro
We may not have a full house at San Siro tonight. Italy have not qualified for the World Cup and there doesn’t seem to be much local appetite for this game. The empty seats will start to fill up before kick-off, but it will be a surprise if England play in front of anything close to a full house in Milan.
I haven’t seen C4’s football coverage with the sound on before. Tonight they have Eni Aluko, Joe Cole and the wonderful Alessandro Del Piero as experts on the pitch.
They discuss Harry Maguire after Gareth Southgate said in a pre-match interview, and I’m paraphrasing, that it was a vendetta against the centre-back. Don’t know if he meant in the media or from fans in general. If it’s the latter, it must also include Man Utd fans. I’m not sure he’s right. Aluko says there is more pressure on him now than ever because he doesn’t deserve his place…at least not on form.
By Matt Law at San Siro
As predicted by Telegraph Sport on Thursday night, Gareth Southgate has stuck with Harry Maguire in a back three – which is likely to be an unpopular decision before kick-off. Southgate’s most interesting choice is Bukayo Saka at left wing-back, despite having Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw in his squad. That has allowed him to choose a front three of Phil Foden, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. Nick Pope gets the nod in goal ahead of Aaron Ramsdale, with Jordan Pickford out from suspension.
Some interesting decisions by Southgate
Who will play on the left of the three centre-backs? Dier plays in the middle for Tottenham with Davies on the left. Maguire is right-footed but played most of his career at Old Trafford on the left of two centre-backs. Both Sterling and Foden are doing their best on the left, but I suspect they will be quite fluid.
And the substitutes
Italy Meret, Vicario, Luiz Felipe, Pobega, Frattesi, Gnonto, Emerson, Zerbin, Grifo, Gabbiadini, Esposito, Bastoni.
England Ramsdale, Henderson, Alexander-Arnold, Trippier, Shaw, Grealish, Coady, Ward-Prowse, Tomori, Mount, Bowen, Abraham.
England starting XI
Pope; Walker, Maguire, Dier; James, Rice, Bellingham, Saka; Sterling, Kane, Foden.
So Bukayo Saka plays as a wing back.
England made snapper
Gareth Southgate has reverted to a back-three for England’s Nations League clash with Italy at the San Siro, making six changes from the defeat to Hungary in June.
Eric Dier returned for his first cap since November 2020, lining up in defense alongside Manchester United captain Harry Maguire, who has not started the last four Premier League games.
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Nick Pope started in goal and there were starts for Declan Rice, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden.
Italy’s starting XI
Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Toloi, Di Marco; Cristante, Jorginho; Raspadori, Barella; Scamacca.
England fans are out in force in the city of gold
We could look at tonight’s game at the San Siro, England’s first visit to Milan since 1939, in two ways. The most significant and obvious is that it is their penultimate game before they open their World Cup campaign in Al Rayyan on November 21 and they need to find some form after the chastening two defeats and two draws in June, games in which they only scored one. goal (and a penalty at that) while conceding six.
The other way is that today’s and Monday’s games against Germany give them an opportunity to pull themselves off the bottom of Group 3. That may not seem that important to the increasingly vocal critics of the Nations League, but it will save them from a potentially more difficult Draw out of Euro 24 qualifying and drop into League B for the third renewal of the Nations League and opponents who may struggle to draw the kind of big Wembley crowd the FA needs to bridge the Covid grassroots funding gap.
Last time out, England were humiliated by Hungary at Molineux, the players seemingly tired, disheveled and typically vulnerable when sent out with a back four. All reports suggest that Gareth Southgate will return to tournament mode and play an additional central defender henceforth with Harry Maguire, despite his long decline at Manchester United, lining up alongside Eric Dier in the absence of the suspended John Stones, with Kyle Walker as right-sided centre-half.
There should be a start for Jude Bellingham alongside Declan Rice in midfield and another opportunity for Aaron Ramsdale in goal, but that should be the extent of the experiment unless Bukayo Saka is preferred to Kieran Trippier at left wing-back. Up front, Southgate has tried a few things over the past 12 months, but with time short and Ivan Toney not in the matchday squad, the expectation is that he will revert to the default of Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Phil Foden.
Italy, on the other hand, are in full experimentation mode following their failure to qualify for Qatar. They trial Brazilian-born Luiz Felipe, who is eligible by virtue of his Vicenza-born great-grandfather, at centre-back, Sassuolo’s hard-running Davide Frattesi in midfield, SPAL’s Salvatore Esposito, Serie B Pirlo and Leeds United’s livewire diddyman striker Wilfried Gnonto all in the squad. Some or all of them may not start, but there is a sense that Mancini, temperamentally inclined, like most Italian managers, to trust/favor his veterans, is wholeheartedly committed to rebuilding the European champions.
The match starts at 19.45, and the team news should come around 75 minutes before then.