Reece James finally got a start, as did Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori, but England failed to score from open play for the third game running as they battled to a 0-0 draw against Italy in Wolverhampton. The match was held at Molineux and should’ve been behind closed doors as punishment for the unrest seen at last summer Euro 2020/1 final at Wembley — but like with England’s game in Hungary last week, UEFA allowed children under 14 to attend for free. Some 3000 were subjected to this scoreless effort tonight.
Mason Mount also started since Gareth Southgate appears intent on running him into the ground, and did hit the woodwork while also surviving a strong tackle from Lorenzo Pellegrini. England also came close when Reece James, one of their standout performers, put it on a plate for Raheem Sterling, but the reported Chelsea transfer target failed to convert. He’ll fit right in, then!
Declan Rice and Aaron Ramsdale also came away with some credit from the scoreless 90 minutes, and we also got an appearance form Marc Guéhi towards the end. Unfortunately, Conor Gallagher did not get on. Neither Jorginho not Emerson played for Italy, having been excused from these pseudo-friendlies last week already.
Meanwhile, over in Hungary, Germany overcame an early goal but could not find a winner as they also battled to a draw, 1-1. Both Timo Werner and Kai Havertz started for the visitors, but it was right wing-back Jonas Hoffman, who was linked with Chelsea last summer, with the goal for them.
Over in Group 4, Wales and Belgium also settled for a draw in a game that featured more goals ruled out by VAR than goals ruled in. One of the chalked-off efforts was this spectacular left-footed effort from Ethan Ampadu.
Michy Batshuayi got the start again for Belgium as he continues to deputize for Romelu Lukaku — could we see this at Chelsea, too, next season? — and he picked up the assist on their goal.
And lastly on a busy Saturday, Billy Gilmour played the second half for Scotland, who are clearly hung over from their World Cup qualifying disappointment as they were easily beaten by Republic of Ireland, 3-0.