New Delhi: England’s winless run continued as Gareth Southgate’s side suffered a first relegation to the Nations League’s second tier after their defeat by Italy in Milan.
England are in their worst form for eight years and have only their final match against Germany to come at Wembley on Monday before their World Cup opener against Iran on 21 November.
In the Three Lions’ two major tournaments since Southgate was appointed manager in November 2016, England reached a first World Cup semi-final in 28 years in 2018 and a first-ever men’s European Championship final last summer.
But also England’s worst home defeat since 1928, in the form of a 4-0 loss to Hungary, was greeted with boos at Molineux in June on a dismal night which Southgate described as “chastening”.
Four losses in the Nations League matches in the space of 11 days left Southgate with more questions than answers heading into this final international break before the World Cup.
England failed to make comeback
Despite a strong line-up, and with limited opportunities for the players to impress for a place in the World Cup squad, England were unable to rediscover their spark as the threat of relegation loomed.
Once again the boos rang out from the England fans as Southgate applauded the traveling support after the full-time whistle and the manager will now be desperate for a response on home soil to end the camp on a positive note.
The upcoming meeting with Germany now represents Southgate’s final chance to trial players and tactics before the World Cup, where they will bid to improve on their run to the semi-finals four years ago.
However, the numbers do not make encouraging reading for England with just one game to play until the World Cup. In all, England have won 64% of Southgate’s 75 matches in charge.