England relegated from UEFA Nations League First Division

England UEFA Nations League

England’s 1-0 loss to Italy cemented their place in the bottom of Group 3 of the UEFA Nations League A. In the following campaign, England fell back into the second group of the competition.

It was a brutal performance from much of the Three Lions. Despite facing an Italian side that many consider to be one of the weakest in the team’s relative history, England came up short. Apart from a few headers from Harry Kane or Jude Bellingham, England have never really tested Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Of course, Italy didn’t really exploit chances. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Italy’s only goal, and of the game, came in a stroke of genius. Napoli striker Giacomo Raspadori took a 50-yard pass from Leonardo Bonucci like a pillow. Then he created a hint of space with Eric Dier before wrapping the ball into the far post from Nick Pope. It was a goal out of nothing, but it was enough to topple England.

England relegated to UEFA Nations League

Perhaps the most telling story of the game and England’s overall Nations League campaign is the lack of goals. England have scored just one goal in five games played in the 2022/23 UEFA Nations League. That lone goal came from a penalty to salvage a point on matchday two against Germany. That, against seven goals conceded, although four against Hungary in a shocking spectacle, doomed the three lions.

Hungary’s four-goal outburst against England on Matchday 4 could prove decisive on its own. The Hungarians, by far the underdogs in a group made up of England, Germany and Italy, sit at the top of the group entering the final match day on Monday. Hungary surprised the Germans on Friday with a 1-0 victory in Leipzig. Now Hungary are 10 points down with more than a clear path to the UEFA Nations League finals.

Hungary get there with a win or a draw, while Italy are two points behind the Hungarians. It remains to be seen what will come out as a bigger story at the end of this group stage: Hungary finishing far better than England, Germany and potentially Italy, or England beyond bad game throughout the competition.

With a World Cup approaching, it’s more than surprising that the two most struggling teams are among the World Cup favourites.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Marco Canoniero

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