England to play Nations League clash against Italy behind closed doors

England’s reunion with Italy in the Nations League will be played behind closed doors as punishment for the disorder that marred the Euro 2020 final.

Gareth Southgate’s men suffered an agonising penalty shootout defeat to the Azzurri in July, when Wembley witnessed chaotic and ugly scenes before, during and after the showpiece.

A number of ticketless supporters forced their way in and UEFA announced in October that the Three Lions would play their next home competition match behind closed doors as punishment.

European football’s governing body has now confirmed that the ban will be served when Italy return to England on June 11 after the Euro 2020 finalists were drawn in the same Nations League group.

Germany and Hungary complete Group A3, which Southgate’s side will also kick-off in an empty stadium as the latter start a two-match stadium ban for homophobic and racist behaviour at Euro 2020.


But that sanction did not apply for England’s World Cup qualifier in Budapest in September as it was a FIFA competition, with Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham subjected to racist abuse.

The Hungarian federation was ordered to play two home FIFA competition matches behind closed doors, one suspended for two years, and fined 200,000 Swiss francs (just under £160,000) over that racist abuse.

England’s trip to Hungary on June 4 is followed by a group game in Germany on June 7, before hosting the Azzurri on June 11 in front of empty stands.

The relevant authorities will be on alert three days later when fans return as Hungary visit in the final match of June’s four-game Nations League schedule.

Hungarian fans clashed with police at Wembley in October after officers entered the stand to arrest an individual for a racially-aggravated public order offence in relation to comments directed at a steward.


Their supporters were banned by FIFA from one away match as a result of their conduct, with the Hungarian federation also fined 75,000 Swiss francs (just over £60,000).

England complete their Nations League campaign in September, when Southgate leads the side to Italy before Germany head to Wembley for a mouth-watering conclusion to Group A3.

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