Pope booed in Rome…
This comment (‘Pope booed in Rome’) during the Italy 1 England 0 match was one of the few highlights of a really poor game and shocking night for England.
Nick Pope did ok overall and was one of very few England players to come out of the game with any credit, BBC Sport website visitors ranking only Jude Bellingham ahead of the Newcastle keeper when asked to give their England match ratings.
Pope playing the full 90 minutes as he picked up his ninth international cap, no chance with the 68th minute winner which was only the second goal the Newcastle keeper has conceded during his nine appearances for England. It was also a first international loss for Nick Pope, having appeared in eight England wins previously.
I don’t think Gareth Southgate is the worst manager in the world BUT I do think he has had incredible luck as England boss, particularly with easy groups to qualify for tournaments and then equally blessed when it has come to the group stage at finals and early knockout rounds.
You have to feel his luck has now ran its course and whilst some people overstate the quality of the players he has available to him, Southgate has got a good competitive group of players.
Since March, England have now played five matches and lost three to Italy and Hungary (twice), as well as draws against Germany and Italy. The only goal in that time a penalty from Kane against Germany, whilst England have conceded seven goals in these five matches.
Only one England match to go now before Gareth Southgate picks his Qatar World Cup finals squad, Germany at Wembley on Monday night. Kieran Trippier sat on the bench for last night’s 90 minutes, so will hope to play, whilst Nick Pope waits to see if he gets another start that would then appear to confirm as number two to Pickford and automatic starter in Qatar if T-Rex found his injury problems continued. Alternatively, Ramsdale may well get a game on Monday, leaving the debate open on who is England number two.
England offered pretty much nothing going forward, Giacomo Raspadori winning the game with an excellent 68th minute strike that gave the Newcastle keeper no chance. Nick Pope though saving well from Gianluca Scammaca to prevent the scoreline ending up even worse.
It is now 495 minutes since England scored a goal in open play and questions asked about both Southgate’s team selection and tactics. Saka playing as a left wing-back and Ivan Toney not even sitting on the bench, never mind getting on the pitch, leaving people questioning what is the point of calling him up.
It increasingly looks like Gareth Southgate has the one idea, play Harry Kane up front and hope that he will find a goal from somewhere. England eventually did get a chance late on but Kane saw Donnarumma make a double save. Though Italy had chances to add goals late on as well and would have done so, if not for Nick Pope and some decent defending.
England are now relegated from their Nations League group but of more immediate and more important concern is that exactly eight weeks after Monday’s match against Germany, England kick-off their World Cup finals. With Iran, USA and Wales, Gareth Southgate has yet again hit the jackpot when it comes to the draw, if he and England don’t even get out of the group stage then surely that will be his time up.
Interesting to see just what team Southgate does put out against Germany and then even more intriguing who he then selects for his Qatar squad and then the side he puts out on the pitch. Sticking with unadventurous tactics and selecting the likes of Harry Maguire means Southgate is running the risk of becoming a laughing stock.
With a different manager it would be more than interesting to see which players they would choose and the tactics to go with them.
Full schedule for Newcastle United internationals this month:
Wednesday 21 September
Ryan Fraser coming on with 14 minutes to go and Scotland leading 1-0, within 11 minutes it was 3-0 as fellow sub Lyndon Dykes scored twice, both assists from the Newcastle winger.
Thursday 22 September
Australia 1 New Zealand 0
Chris Wood and New Zealand missed out at the final stage, defeated in a June play-off against Costa Rica for a place in the Qatar World Cup finals.
Now in a double header friendly against Australia (who are going to Qatar), Chris Wood played the first 71 minutes in this 1-0 defeat. Teenage striker Garang Kuol who was recently claimed to be set to sign for Newcastle, remained an unused substitute in his first call up to the national senior squad.
Northern Ireland Under 21s 1 v Scotland Under 21s 3
A comfortable win for the Scotland Under 21s but doing it without Elliot Anderson, the Newcastle teenager pulling out of the squad due to an unspecified injury.
Friday 23 September
Italy 1 England 0
A shocker of a game where very little happened, Nick Pope playing the full 90 minutes as he picked up his ninth international cap, no chance with the winner which was only the second goal the Newcastle keeper has conceded during these nine appearances for England. Pope did ok overall and was one of very few England players to come out of the game with any credit, BBC Sport website visitors ranking only Jude Bellingham ahead of Nick Pope when asked to give their England match ratings.
Brazil v Ghana (Bruno Guimaraes) Friendly (Neutral venue – Le Havre, France)
Paraguay v UAE (Miguel Almiron) Friendly (Neutral venue – Vienna, Austria)
Saturday 24 September
Scotland v Republic of Ireland (Ryan Fraser) Nations League
Serbia v Sweden (Alexander Isak) Nations League
Northern Ireland v Kosovo (Jamal Lewis) Nations League
Spain v Switzerland (Fabian Schar) Nations League
Sunday 25 September
New Zealand v Australia (Chris Wood) Friendly
Scotland Under 21s v Northern Ireland Under 21s (Elliot Anderson) Friendly
Monday 26 September
England v Germany (Nick Pope and Kieran Trippier) Nations League
Tuesday 27 September
Brazil v Tunisia (Bruno Guimaraes) Friendly (Neutral venue – Paris, France)
Paraguay v Morocco (Miguel Almiron) Friendly (Neutral venue – Seville, Spain)
Sweden v Slovenia (Alexander Isak) Nations League
Greece v Northern Ireland (Jamal Lewis) Nations League
Switzerland v Czech Republic (Fabian Schar) Nations League
Wednesday 28 September
Ukraine v Scotland (Ryan Fraser) Nations League (Neutral venue – Krakow, Poland)
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