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England playing Italy in a near-empty stadium is ‘an EMBARRASSMENT’, says Gareth Southgate

England to play against Italy in a nearly empty stadium is ‘a DAMAGE’, says Gareth Southgate with the Three Lions penalized for two games over disgraceful problems with the crowd during Euro 2020 final last summer

  • England play Italy in the Nations League in front of an audience of about 3,000
  • The Three Lions are penalized for crowd problems ahead of Euro 2020 final
  • Fans forced their way through security gates to watch last year’s clash with Italy
  • Gareth Southgate said the punishment was shameful for the country

England manager Gareth Southgate admits it is a ‘humiliation’ for the country that the Three Lions will face Italy in the Nations League game in Molineux on Saturday in a nearly empty stadium.

The Football Association was hit with a two-match suspension, including one suspended, following fans’ behavior ahead of Wembley’s defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final last summer.

About 3,000 people will attend, mostly schoolchildren under the age of 14 who have free entry under UEFA rules to matches played behind closed doors.

“If it’s a shame, it’s for England as a country,” he said.

“A lot of the people who caused the trouble, which I’m not sure about, were football fans. We’ve talked about it enough, we talked about it after the final and when the penalty was first given.

England boss Gareth Southgate admits his side playing Italy in a nearly empty stadium is 'embarrassing'

England boss Gareth Southgate admits his side playing Italy in a nearly empty stadium is ’embarrassing’

The Three Lions were hit with a two-game suspension due to crowd problems during the Euro 2020 final

The Three Lions were hit with a two-game suspension due to crowd problems during the Euro 2020 final

“What I’m saying is that the vast majority of our fans who have traveled to Germany have behaved brilliantly. A big thank you to them, because maybe people thought otherwise, but there was a large majority that was credited.’

Despite these four games in the Nations League Group A3 coming to the end of a long season, Southgate insists all of his fit players will be able to play against Italy – although he did hint at making changes after the 1 1 draw in Munich.

“There’s no one we can’t use,” he added. “We have to think about some things that we need to see, including the freshness of the team.

Supporters made their way through the barrier and many of them entered the stadium to watch Italy's match without a ticket

Supporters made their way through the barrier and many of them entered the stadium to watch Italy’s match without a ticket

England will face Italy in Molineux in a repeat of their Euro 2020 final, which they lost on penalties

England will face Italy in Molineux in a repeat of their Euro 2020 final, which they lost on penalties

“I think this is a good game for some other players. It is a top level game and it is a good sign to show confidence towards the players who participate in these games.

“I think if we give players only certain types of matches, you learn too little about them and they don’t know enough about the tactical challenge.”

Phil Foden remains doubtful as he recovers from the coronavirus, while Kalvin Phillips trained away from the group after suffering a dead leg in Germany.

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