Napoli winger Matteo Politano feels Italy ‘pinned England back’ in the second half and it was just as much their own errors that cost the two goals as giving credit to Gareth Southgate’s men.



The Azzurri were dismal in the first 45 minutes and went into the break trailing 2-0, as Declan Rice bundled over the line after a corner and Harry Kane converted a penalty for Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s handling offence.

Mateo Retegui scored on his debut, but it was not enough to claw the game back, even with Luke Shaw sent off for two yellow cards in 54 seconds.

“We saw a good Italy in the second half, we pinned England back into their own half and they couldn’t get out,” Politano told RAI Sport.

“It’s a pity we were unable to equalise, but Italy must build on that second half. We were unable to impose our style of play in the first half because they were pressing us man for man. We had more quality after the break, dominated and pinned them back into their own half.”

Politano was asked if the first half performance was more down to Italy’s errors or because England played very well?

“I think it was 50-50. We misplaced a lot of passes that really were not like us. When you make that many errors, England are good on the counter-attack.

“We conceded two goals both from corner situations. We could’ve done better, but we must learn from these games and build a great Italy.”

Malta are next up on Sunday evening and they gave North Macedonia a tough time this evening, only capitulating 2-1.

“We have no other result but to win with Malta.”

The EURO 2024 qualifying group is completed by Ukraine, who did not play this evening.

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