England are bottom of their winless UEFA Nations League group after drawing 0-0 with Italy in a repeat of the Euro 2020 final on Saturday, while Germany s settled for a point in a 1-1 stalemate in Hungary.
The Wolverhampton encounter between Gareth Southgate’s side and the European champions was played in front of just 3,000 people, many of them schoolchildren, as punishment for the incidents that marred the Euro 2020 final between the same nations at Wembley last year.
UEFA rules state that a match behind closed doors can still be watched by children accompanied by an adult, as happened last weekend when Hungary beat England in Budapest.
England followed that setback by drawing 1-1 in Germany and another draw at Molineux leaves them bottom of League A, Group 3 with just two points from three matches before hosting Hungary in the same venue Tuesday in their last game of a long campaign. .
Mason Mount hit the bar early on for England, while Aaron Ramsdale made a fine save to deny Sandro Tonali for an Italian side with just two starters who also lined up in the European Championship final.
“We had two or three really good chances that we needed to score but we just lacked that sharpness in front of goal,” Southgate said.
Roberto Mancini’s Italy are rebuilding after failing to qualify for the World Cup and are top of the group after Hungary and Germany drew off in Budapest.
Zsolt Nagy quickly put Hungary ahead after Manuel Neuer had a header from Rolland Salai.
However, Germany needed just three minutes to equalize when Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Jonas Hofmann latched on to a long ball forward and rounded the goalkeeper before slotting in.
“I said in advance that it was the toughest game you can have after England,” German coach Hansi Flick told RTL after his side’s third consecutive 1-1 draw .
“But we are in a development process. We have to make sure we learn from this game.”
– Depay misses a late penalty –
The Netherlands are top of League A, Group 4 after two goals down to draw 2-2 with Poland in Rotterdam, but they could have secured a third win in as many games had it not been for Memphis Depay. not wasted a late penalty.
England-born full-back Matty Cash gave Poland an 18th-minute lead with a fine low strike, and the visitors doubled their advantage five minutes after half-time as Przemyslaw Frankowski squared for Piotr Zielinski to finish.
Yet the home side pulled one back almost immediately when Daley Blind’s cross from the left was swept away by Davy Klaassen, and they were level in the 54th minute as Denzel Dumfries made it 2-2.
They could have won in stoppage time when Cash was penalized in the box, but Barcelona striker Depay saw his spot kick return from the post.
Meanwhile, Brennan Johnson – a Nottingham Forest star who won promotion to the Premier League this season – came off the bench to score a late leveler as Wales drew 1-1 with Belgium in Cardiff .
– Ireland Hammer Scotland –
Youri Tielemans put Belgium ahead early in the second half in Cardiff but Wales secured their first point of the Nations League campaign.
Their attention had previously been on their decisive World Cup qualifying play-off against Ukraine, which they won 1-0 last weekend to qualify for the world showpiece for the first time since 1958 .
Wales now travel to face the Netherlands in Rotterdam on Tuesday.
In League B, the Republic of Ireland secured their first Group 1 victory in emphatic fashion by beating hapless Scotland 3-0 in Dublin.
Alan Browne and Troy Parrott scored in the first half for Ireland before Michael Obafemi netted a third early in the second half.
In the same group, Ukraine picked up their second victory in as many matches since losing to Wales, beating Armenia 3-0 in a match played in the Polish city of Lodz.