England condemned to Nations League relegation after dismal defeat to Italy

It was a night when Gareth Southgate desperately needed a mood-changer, something to restore England’s belief, to shrug off the suffocating narratives that have begun to undermine the team – at exactly the wrong time, with the World Cup on the horizon.

Everybody remembers the 4-0 loss to Hungary at Molineux in June, the ugliest blot on the uninspiring four-game start to this Nations League campaign. And the away defeat to them – together with the draws against Germany and Italy. And yet there would only be more frustration here at San Siro, more dead-ends, the absence of creative inspiration.

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