Gianluca Scamacca has revealed Roberto Mancini was influential in his decision to leave Sassuolo for West Ham, with the Italy head coach believing a Premier League move was best for his development.

Scamacca, who had been linked with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the transfer window, signed a five-year contract with the option of an extra 12 months at the London Stadium on Tuesday.

West Ham have reportedly agreed to pay an initial £30.5million (€36m) for the towering centre-forward, who scored 16 Serie A goals for Sassuolo last term.

Among players to have scored 15 or more goals in a top-five European league in 2021-22, only three were younger than 23-year-old Scamacca, namely Erling Haaland (22 goals), Vinicius Junior (17) and Dusan Vlahovic (24).

Scamacca's form with the Neroverdi led to him breaking into Mancini's Italy squad, making seven appearances for the Azzurri since his debut last year.

The striker made UEFA Nations League starts against Germany and England in June as Mancini looked to remould Italy's attack in the wake of their failure to reach the Qatar World Cup.

After making his move to east London, Scamacca revealed he had discussed his future with Manchester City's 2011-12 title-winning boss.

"We spoke before I came here, and he said it was the best place for me," Scamacca told West Ham's website. 

"[He wanted me] playing in a tournament that would help me to get better and improve, because the Premier League is the best league."

Scamacca could make his Premier League debut when West Ham face Mancini's former side at the London Stadium on August 7.

Gareth Southgate has the full support of the Football Association after chair Debbie Hewitt provided an impassioned defence of the "high IQ" and emotionally intelligent England manager.

England have made it to the World Cup semi-finals and Euro 2020 showpiece under Southgate, the latter of which the Three Lions' first final appearance at a major tournament in 55 years.

But pressure has mounted after a dismal start to their Nations League campaign in June, losing to Hungary twice either side of draws with Germany and Italy to leave England in danger of relegation.

The most recent 4-0 thrashing to Hungary was the first time England have lost a home match by four or more goals since March 1928, when they lost 5-1 to Scotland.

Hungary also became the first team to score four goals in an away match against England since the Hungarians themselves won 6-3 at Wembley in November 1953.

Frustrated supporters could be heard chanting "you don't know what you're doing" at Molineux towards Southgate, who later vowed to not out-stay his welcome in charge.

With the World Cup in Qatar just five months away, Hewitt was quick to outline her support for the 51-year-old despite ongoing questions over his tactics.

"My personal opinion on Gareth is that he is, by the facts on the pitch, the most successful England manager we've had for 55 years," Hewitt told reporters at a news conference.

"The bit people don't see as much is the Gareth at camp and the culture he's created.

"Certainly prior to Gareth being the manager of England, there was not the pride of wearing the England shirt. There were the club rivalries we'd read about. The players not getting on.

"He's changed that beyond recognition and I've seen that first hand.

"I'd also say that I don't just work in football, I work in business and I've worked with a lot of chief executives and Gareth's skills — his high IQ and high EQ — would make him a chief exec in any sphere.

"That resilience and accountability [are] the two qualities I admire most. There are no slopy shoulders, he doesn't huff, he's resilient and that's what you want in an England manager."

While offering her support publicly, Hewitt says the reaction of Southgate to private conversations expressing the FA's backing also highlighted his credible demeanour.

"Gareth's reaction, as in everything with that sort of conversation, was that it is his accountability, there's always something to learn," she continued.

"That's why it's refreshing working with somebody like that because that openness to learn is quite remarkable and quite unusual in any sphere."

Southgate took charge, initially as caretaker manager, in 2016 and impressed after Sam Allardyce's one-game tenure, with the former Middlesbrough manager earning the permanent job.

After England qualified for the World Cup in Qatar with victory over San Marino in November 2021, Southgate was handed a three-year extension, keeping him as Three Lions' manager until December 2024.

The World Cup will start just one year after he signed the long-term extension and debate has been sparked over whether conducting negotiations was sensible before the results and performances in that tournament are known, but Hewitt assures the correct decision was made.

"I don't think we would be discussing [the contract] had we not had the recent series of games. Clearly, we did that [agreed the new deal] with proper discussion and thought," she added.

"The fact that there's been a stumble does not make us automatically say 'should we have given him a contract?' It is a red herring.

"We have confidence in Gareth for all the reasons I described and I think that's the important thing. And it's particularly important going into the biggest tournament."

Eddie Jones finds it laughable to hear Gareth Southgate coming in for heavy criticism after the England football team's poor Nations League results.

England rugby union head coach Jones says those rushing to judge Southgate's aptitude as boss of the Three Lions are showing they have short memories.

Southgate led England to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and to the Euro 2020 final, but two defeats to Hungary either side of draws with Germany and Italy have led to a backlash.

There has been a clamour among some impatient supporters for Southgate to be replaced before the World Cup gets under way in November.

Jones said he "100 per cent" understood the position in which Southgate finds himself, having faced flak himself over England's rugby results.

He also pointed to the upturn in English cricketing fortunes this month as another sign of how fickle England fans can be, with the team emerging from a desperate rut in the Test game and suddenly being hailed as world-beaters.

"I find English sport amusing in that way," Jones said.

"English cricket two weeks ago didn't know what they were doing, complete debacle. They win two Tests, and now where can they go? They can go to Australia and they can beat Australia in the Ashes with 10 men, they're that good now.

"And English football, they were the darlings, and they lose a couple of games and you can see their players are probably struggling after a hard season, and now they're the worst thing since sliced bread.

"So everyone takes a turn in the chair. We've had our turn in the chair, and hopefully we'll move to a chair on the more comfortable side now."

Jones and Southgate have previously met to exchange coaching ideas, and both will hope those pay off in the big tournaments that lie ahead.

England's rugby side suffered a dismal Six Nations at the start of the year and travel to face Australia in three Tests next month.

Speaking on BBC 5 Live Sport, Jones said his team were in a rebuilding process, with the focus on shaping a unit to be competitive at the Rugby World Cup next year in France.

"There's always criticism when you don't win – particularly when you're with England there's a lot of criticism – but we know we've got to go through the process of rebuilding the team and sometimes that's a bit uncomfortable," Jones said.

He said the Australia series was an "opportunity to create new history", but there will be a poignant reunion Down Under for Australian Jones, too.

"I haven't been back to Australia since 2019, so I get to see my mother, who's now 97, and she rang me this morning and said, 'Make sure you win'," Jones said. "So you can see where I get my competitive spirit from."

Nicolo Zaniolo has apologised for Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar as he pledged to become a key part of Roberto Mancini's next Azzurri side.

Italy will miss a second successive World Cup this year after falling to a stunning play-off reverse to North Macedonia in March, and their misery was compounded this month when they were beaten 3-0 by Argentina at Wembley in the Finalissima.

They also won just one of their first four Nations League games, losing 5-2 to Germany last time out.

Zaniolo was absent as Mancini's men beat England on penalties to win the rearranged Euro 2020 tournament last July, and made just one appearance throughout Italy's unsuccessful World Cup qualification campaign.

The creative midfielder is desperate to become a key part of Mancini's next side, and hailed the job the former Manchester City boss has done with the national team.

"I'm sorry, because we have to wait another four years," he told Sportweek. "But let's go on. I'm used to chasing. There will be other goals in between.

"The first time Mancini called me I was very young... He came there to talk to me, to make me feel immediately at ease. Great person, professional. I will do everything to convince Mancini."

Moving forward, Italy will be without defensive stalwart Giorgio Chiellini, who won his 117th and final international cap in the Argentina defeat – matching Daniele De Rossi as his nations' fourth-most capped player.

And Zaniolo thinks the former Juventus man will be difficult to replace.

"[Chiellini] has always been the most difficult to overcome," he said. "He is physically strong and off the pitch, he is an exceptional person."

At club level, Zaniolo enjoyed a successful campaign under Jose Mourinho at Roma, making 30 appearances in all competitions as the Giallorossi won the Europa Conference League, and scored the only goal of last month's final win over Feyenoord.

The 22-year-old says he has learnt a lot from playing under Mourinho.

"He's a winner," he said. "He taught me how to get into position in the defensive phase, where we had to improve and I still have to do it. 

"He helped me to manage certain situations, in the past I would have reacted badly or worse due to exclusion from games that were very significant for me. 

"He taught me to bite my tongue, [to be] mute and work more in the field."

Harry Maguire has defended under-fire England boss Gareth Southgate after a 4-0 defeat to Hungary, claiming he remains one of the best managers in international football.

Maguire, who came on as a late substitute with England 3-0 down at Molineux on Tuesday, says the loss was "unacceptable" but insisted the Three Lions can make a big impact at the World Cup this year.

England are facing the threat of Nations League relegation after taking just two points from four Group A3 games, following up draws against Germany and Italy with their heaviest home defeat since a 5-1 hammering by Scotland in 1928.

A failure to win any of their four games this month also leaves England on their worst run since June 2014, when they went without a victory in five games during a month which saw them finish bottom of their group at the 2014 World Cup under Roy Hodgson.

Hungary also became the first team to score four goals in an away match against England since their historic 6-3 triumph at Wembley in 1953, leading Southgate to come under fire from supporters.

Chants of "you don't know what you're doing" were aimed at Southgate by home fans during the hammering, but Maguire says he remains the right man to lead the team in Qatar later this year.

"Gareth is the most successful England manager since Sir Alf Ramsey in 1966," the defender told the Sun. "We all can't wait to work with him and the backroom team again at the World Cup.

"His managerial record is as good as anyone currently out there in international football.

"There's no reason why we can't do really well and our goal is to improve on our previous tournaments and make the country proud.

"We deserved more from the first three [Nations League] games, but against Hungary on Tuesday it wasn't acceptable.

"We all know that. Everyone needs a break now and a recharge. The spirit in the camp has been great, despite the results."

England face just two more Nations League contests – versus Germany and Italy in September – before they open their World Cup campaign against Iran on November 21.

Paul Pogba would be an "excellent" acquisition for Juventus should the Bianconeri manage to re-sign the former Manchester United midfielder, according to Italy legend Marco Tardelli.

Pogba, who spent four trophy-laden years in Turin between 2012 and 2016, has been strongly linked with a return to Juventus after his United departure was confirmed.

No United player registered as many Premier League assists (38) or chances created (231) as Pogba during his six-year spell at Old Trafford, although his second spell at the club ended in disappointing fashion, with the 2018 World Cup winner playing just 1,354 minutes of domestic league football last season.

Tardelli, who won five Serie A titles with Juventus during his playing career, insisted that while returning to a former club is always difficult, Pogba would be an ideal signing for coach Massimiliano Allegri.

"I believe that returns are always difficult, because there are higher expectations," Tardelli said, quoted by ANSA. "But it is an excellent acquisition."

Tardelli said Juventus needed to sign players who could make "an important contribution in every department". The squad is set for an overhaul, after finishing fourth in Serie A for a second successive season, having won the title in each of the nine previous campaigns.

 

The fact there are unusually few prominent Italian players at Juventus may not be helping the national team, who missed out on qualification for the World Cup and sit third in Nations League group A3 after winning just one of their first four games.

None of the five players to have played the most Serie A minutes for Juventus in the 2021-22 season (Wojciech Szczesny, Matthijs de Ligt, Juan Cuadrado, Alvaro Morata and Adrien Rabiot) are Italian, with Manuel Locatelli sixth on that list.

Roberto Mancini's Italy endured a disappointing international break in June, being thrashed 5-2 by Germany on Tuesday having begun the month with a 3-0 reverse to a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina at Wembley, and Tardelli also believes the Azzurri are missing an elite forward.

"There is a block of foreigners [at Juventus] more than anything else," Tardelli said. "[Italy forwards Gianluca] Scamacca and [Giacomo] Raspadori play for Sassuolo, a team with little international experience.

"We lack a champion, especially in the advanced department, a player who manages to invent a pass, not strictly the number nine.

"If you don't score a goal there is always a problem, but I have faith in Scamacca, I also had it in [Ciro] Immobile but, if you don't show signs, you are criticised.

"Mancini is doing an excellent job; he is trying to find young people, and he has done it well in some cases. We need to have patience and hope to find a champion like [Francesco] Totti, like [Roberto] Baggio or like [Alessandro] Del Piero, because now I don't see him yet."

Raheem Sterling insisted "there is no panic" as he called on England players to respond after a humiliating defeat to Hungary, while he backed Gareth Southgate.

England are in serious danger of relegation from the Nations League top tier after going winless in June's internationals, losing twice to Hungary either side of draws with Germany and Italy.

The Three Lions have scored just once, through a Harry Kane penalty in Germany, but the most recent 4-0 thrashing at home to Hungary caused the greatest concern.

Hungary became the first team to score four goals in an away match against England since the Hungarians themselves won 6-3 at Wembley in November 1953.

It was also the first time England have lost a home match by four or more goals since March 1928, when they lost 5-1 to Scotland.

That led to questions over Southgate, with boos audibly ringing around Molineux on Tuesday, but Sterling placed his backing in the England manager.

When suggested Southgate has been a good manager for England after leading them to the World Cup semi-finals and Euro 2020 final, Sterling added to BBC Radio 5 Live: "And the country.

"I keep saying after these last couple of games - you can't be judged on that. If you look at the steps that he's made over the last couple of tournaments, semi-final and a final, I think a Nations League couple of bad results is not something that we can judge him on.

"He's led us incredibly well. And he's showed us the way, he's helped us mature from young men to senior pros, a lot of us in the dressing room.

"He's doing that now with a lot of the young lads and he's trying to make sure that everyone's got enough experience for when we do hit the big time that we're all ready."

The Manchester City star was sent on at half-time with England 1-0 down, before three further Hungary goals followed in the second half.

Sterling believes there is no reason to be concerned as England look to bounce back in September, before heading to the World Cup in Qatar two months later.

"I think it's one that there is no panic for me," he added. "Of course, yes, it's really difficult to take that result.

"It's a game that we should win, but it's been a long old season and, again, we'll go away, readjust ourselves and come back even better.

"No one was expecting it. I think it's been a disappointing camp overall in the sense that there have been games that we should have won.

"Of course it's disappointing, there's going to be question marks, there's going to be doubts. But I'm more than confident in the group that we have. It's solely down to us as players.

"We put good enough sides on for each and every match that we've played and we just haven't got the results.

"We haven't been competitive enough, we haven't been ruthless enough – myself also.

"So, it's one that we just look at ourselves as a collective and I know once we have that well-deserved break that we need and we come back, we'll be ready again."

Hungary boss Marco Rossi has leapt to the defence of England counterpart Gareth Southgate after a 4-0 drubbing at Molineux left the Three Lions at risk of relegation in the Nations League.

A woeful international break has seen England fail to win any of their four matches, with two defeats to Hungary either side of draws against Germany and Italy – with only a single goal to show from it, coming via a Harry Kane penalty.

That has seen pressure mount upon Southgate with the World Cup lying in wait later this year, with England having just two more Nations League fixtures in September before the squad gathers for the trip to Qatar.

Southgate was booed by the home fans following the latest defeat, with many calling for a change to be made, but Rossi insists that he is still the right man to lead England into the World Cup.

"I know that losing 4-0 at home to Hungary [is hard to take] not against Brazil or Argentina," he told a news conference.

"Even in that case, it would be for the English people it would be the same because losing at home 4-0 is difficult to be accepted by the crowd, by the press, by everybody.

"But I think that Southgate already proved to be a quite good coach. He put together quite a strong team.

"Tonight everything went in the wrong way for them but, still, they are absolutely on the top level.

"They must only follow the track that they were doing until now, were following until now, because I'm convinced they will give to you a lot of joy in the next world championship. I am sure about that."

England sit bottom of group A3 and defeat to Italy in September would confirm relegation as they sit three points adrift of the European champions and four behind Germany, who they also face later this year.

Thomas Muller lauded his side's acceptance of risk, following Germany's 5-2 win at home to Italy in the Nations League on Tuesday.

Muller was among the scorers for Die Mannschaft, who led 5-0 at one stage in Monchenglabach after Timo Werner's second of the night. Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan were the other scorers for Germany, handing the home side a 2-0 lead at the interval.

Germany sit second in Group A3 after four games, following draws in the opening three matches characterised by high volumes of passive possession.

Especially after early exits at the past three major tournaments, however, the 32-year-old is buoyed by Germany's play under Hansi Flick despite ever-present room for improvement.

"One good aspect that we brought into play today is that we actually played a little more risky and had more courage," Muller told ZDF. "To accept the risk of losing the ball with the knowledge of snatching away the second ball. So, objective courage and not emotional courage.

"If we understand that a little better on the offensive, that a cross that doesn't lead directly to the goal becomes dangerous with the second ball if we are positioned like that, then we'll make life easier for us.

"We have good players, we have a good attitude and a good project going on. But we still have all sorts of deficits, you have to be honest."

Germany again dominated in possession but were able to translate that into good chances in front of goal on Tuesday, with Joshua Kimmich's opening goal in the 10th minute setting the tone.

The home side were levels above the reigning European champions, who fielded an inexperienced starting lineup and conceded five goals for the first time in a single match since 1957.

For Muller, who insisted he does not see himself playing much longer at international level, it was an affirmation of Germany's quality.

"We have everything to be able to beat anyone on a good day," he said. "We still have to improve on the football-savvy things, like wanting to do the right thing. We won a lot of second balls and that made the game easier for us.

"I know I won't play 50 more international matches. Let's see what happens in the next two or three years, but I'm enjoying it a lot at the moment."

A defiant Gianluigi Donnarumma claimed he will have his "head held high" following Italy's 5-2 defeat away to Germany in the Nations League on Tuesday.

Germany led 5-0 at one stage in Monchengladbach and wearing the captain's armband, the Azzurri goalkeeper had a disappointing night personally, with Timo Werner pinching the ball off him before making it 4-0.

Goals from Wilfried Gnonto and Alessandro Bastoni provided small consolation late for Italy but for an inexperienced squad, Tuesday's loss was a harsh reminder of international football's margin for error.

Asked whether distribution with his feet was an aspect he needed to improve upon post-game, after similarly getting his pocket picked in Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League exit, the 23-year-old responded angrily.

"When did it happen before? When I was fouled against Real Madrid? If we want to cause controversy over these things, then fine," Donnarumma told RAI Sport. "I am here to talk for the team. If you want to blame me, fine, I’ll take the blame, I am the captain and I keep going with head held high.

“I think you’re all trying to create something about these errors, fine.

"We are angry. There are no excuses, we have to get back out there and prove this is not us. There are simply no excuses."

The Azzurri sit third in Group A3 after two draws and a win in their opening three games but following their loss in the UEFA/CONMEBOL Finalissima, Tuesday's defeat represents a return to square one.

Donnarumma suggested end-of-season fatigue had been a contributing factor, but it had not been primary in Italy's performance in Germany.

"We were lacking everything tonight," he said. "There was also some fatigue after four games in 15 days at the end of the season, but we don’t want to seek alibis. Now we will look each other in the eye and analyse everything.

"We’re really disappointed for the fans, for what they saw tonight. We had a few chances, but it’s not good enough. We’ll analyse everything and start again.

"All of us made mistakes. I could’ve dealt with the situation better at 4-0 and kicked it away, but you learn from mistakes and grow. Now we just have to rest and come back much stronger than this."

England captain Harry Kane believes it is not time to panic for his side after Tuesday's 4-0 loss at home to Hungary in the Nations League.

The Three Lions were ripped apart as boos wrung out at the Molineux Stadium, with Roland Sallai's brace added to late by Zsolt Nagy and Daniel Gazdag, along with a red card for John Stones.

The loss keeps England bottom of Group A3, the only side in the group without a win after four games, with Kane's penalty against Germany the only goal they have scored in that time frame.

After the loss, the 28-year-old took exception to questions over Gareth Southgate's ability to move the team forward, coming into this year's World Cup.

"It's a really disappointing question to be asked. Let's not forget where we have come from," he told BBC Radio.

"Gareth has been a key part of transforming this England team to one of the most successful sides we have had in the past 50 years.

"I know it's disappointing for the fans. It has been a disappointing camp, every now and then football throws up a surprise, we have to look at the big picture. We've had two fantastic tournaments in a row. It's not the time to panic. It's a loss we're disappointed with but we need to stay calm and we know we have stuff to work on."

Southgate went with a third formation in four games as he tries to work an optimal composition for Qatar, with Jude Bellingham and Conor Gallagher joining Kalvin Phillips in midfield.

England's two best chances in open play came from headers despite 68.6 per cent of possession - Kane hitting the bar with his flicked effort - but Sallai's goal in transition was the effective sealer.

Stones' dismissal and another two goals for Hungary in transition punctuated a disappointing international window for England, who have struggled to translate possession into substance in front of goal.

Kane insisted England did create chances post-game but realisation in front of goal has been the main issue of this camp, and the cause of these results.

"First half I thought we created enough chances to score but that's kind of been the story of our Nations League so far in this camp," he told Channel 4.

"We haven't quite had the cutting edge and then second half, it's unacceptable, once we went 2-0 down to concede in the way we did. Look, we've not had a camp like it for a long, long time. It's no time to panic.

"It's time to keep our heads up, look forward to the break now and come back stronger in September.

"Our defence has been the structure of our success over the last four, five years and it was a night to forget, of course. We've got to take it on the chin and move forward. End of the day we're going to prepare for what's going to be a big World Cup and that's the most important thing."

Louis van Gaal was adamant the Netherlands "were entitled to the win" after a late Memphis Depay goal secured a 3-2 victory over Wales.

The hosts looked to be cruising after first-half goals from Noa Lang and Cody Gakpo put them 2-0 up after just 23 minutes.

However, the Dragons appeared to have snatched a point after a Brennan Johnson strike was added to by Gareth Bale's stoppage-time penalty.

Wales were to be left heartbroken, though, as Depay went straight up the other end and scored the winner with a few seconds remaining.

That condemned Wales to their 10th straight defeat against the Dutch, conceding 29 in the process.

It also extended the Oranje's unbeaten streak to 13 games in all competitions as they prepare for the World Cup in Qatar.

Van Gaal, who was left frustrated by some refereeing decisions, felt his team got what they deserved.

"Great that it all turned out like this, I think it's nice to see the way we mentally resisted at 2-2. Although I thought we were entitled to the win. It wasn't a penalty at all for Wales either. I can't believe the referee gave it," Van Gaal told NOS.

 

Turning his attention to the winning goal, which came after a long ball forward straight from kick-off after Bale's penalty, Van Gaal refused to take the credit.

"They had agreed that they were going to do this, I hadn't said anything. It's fantastic that it works out like this," he added.

Depay then applauded the team's mental fortitude as they secured another result against the odds, having come from 2-0 down to draw with Poland and beaten Wales with a stoppage-time winner in their previous two matches.

"It says a lot about the team. We want to win. Once again we showed a great mentality," the Barcelona forward said.

Roberto Martinez said his future as Belgium head coach will only be discussed after the World Cup later this year, having watching his side beat Poland 1-0 in the Nations League.

Michy Batshuayi's first-half header helped Belgium to their second win of this Nations League campaign, although they still trail the Netherlands by three points in Group A4 after being thrashed 4-1 by Louis van Gaal's men in their opening game earlier this month.

Results such as that one, as well as Belgium's failure to lift a major trophy despite producing a supposed 'golden generation' of talent, have led to suggestions Martinez's job could be under threat.

But the former Everton manager will only entertain questions over his future after leading the Red Devils to the World Cup in Qatar.

"That will be the right decision [to discuss the future after the tournament]," he said. "Not for me as a coach, but for Belgian football. 

"Everyone can be sure, my only will and wish is that we will see Belgium as strong as possible at the World Cup.

"I want to make the fans as proud as possible. All my work will go into this in the coming months.

"We'll see after the World Cup. In international football, it is logical that you look at it from major tournament to major tournament. There is nothing strange about that."

Belgium will face Canada, Morocco and Croatia in Group F in Qatar, having finished third in Russia in 2018.

Martinez's team were comfortable for long periods against Poland, limiting their hosts to just two shots on target and only allowing Robert Lewandowski one attempt throughout the game.

But Belgium almost conceded a dramatic equaliser when Karol Swiderski twice went close in the dying stages, and Martinez was delighted with the character his team displayed when clinging on for the win.

The Red Devils have claimed seven points from their first four Nations League games this month, and the coach believes the matches have proven valuable as they build towards their trip to Qatar.

"We defended well and showed a lot of personality," Martinez said. "It is even more satisfying to win like this than [if] it was a simple victory. 

"These matches were used to gather information for the World Cup, and we got it. 

"The results weren't always good, but perfection doesn't exist. Not in football and not in life. The reaction after Wales [a 1-1 draw last week] was there. I remember that."

Gareth Bale hailed his team-mates but was left frustrated after a Memphis Depay goal with seconds remaining condemned Wales to a 3-2 defeat.

Bale's side appeared to have earned an unlikely point as a first-half Brennan Johnson goal and an injury-time penalty from their captain made it 2-2 after the Netherlands had gone two goals up.

However, Depay smashed home a last-gasp finish to earn the hosts all three points and keep Wales bottom of Group A4 and winless.

While Wales will be hoping to take plenty of lessons from this Nations League campaign ahead of the World Cup, Bale did not hide his frustration at being unable to secure a morale-boosting draw.

"It's hard to take but I'd rather this happen now and we address it than it happen at the World Cup," Bale told BBC Sport after the game.

"Of course we are disappointed we conceded late, but we're competing with these big teams in every game now."

Wales have now lost three of their last five matches in all competitions, while they have lost all 10 internationals against the Netherlands, conceding 29 goals in the process.

But Bale was optimistic, stating: "It's just the finer details we need to iron out. If we can do that it will put us in a good place for the World Cup."

Wales are not in action now until September, when attention will turn to trying to rescue their Nations League campaign in preparation for their first appearance at a World Cup since 1958.

Bale, meanwhile, will now have his focus on finding a club ahead of the new season.

The former Real Madrid forward laughed off the suggestion he could join Getafe, with Cardiff City having been linked with the 32-year-old.

Gareth Southgate took full responsibility for England's 4-0 humiliation by Hungary in the Nations League on Tuesday.

The Three Lions were embarrassed by their visitors at Molineux, paying the price for an abysmal performance that was in keeping with – but altogether worse than – their other disappointing displays this month, which have left England bottom of Group A3 with just two points.

It was England's worst home defeat in 94 years and stretched their winless streak to four, their longest such run since June 2014.

Roland Sallai put Hungary in front early on, but it was not until the latter stages that England's humiliation truly took shape.

Sallai got another in the 70th minute, and that was followed up by Zsolt Nagy's fierce effort and a delicate Daniel Gazdag chip either side of a controversial second yellow card for John Stones.

Defeat in their next game against Italy in September will ensure England are relegated from the top tier of the Nations League, and Southgate fronted up to his mistakes.

"We picked a young team with energy, and when the game started to go against them it started to look that way [that it was a young team], and that's my responsibility in the end," Southgate told Channel 4.

"I felt at half-time we needed to go for the game, we made changes that gave us a bit more attacking impetus but then we were more open as well, and in the end you're pushing with so many attacking players, that left us wide open.

"I just said to the players there, across the four matches that's my responsibility. I tried to balance looking at new players, tried to rest players, we couldn't keep flogging our more experienced and better players, and in the end the teams I've selected haven't been strong enough to get the results in the two Hungary games really.

"I think the other two performances [against Italy and Germany] have been more positive than perhaps the reaction to them, but I understand tonight is a chastening experience."

Southgate has been a largely popular figure during his reign, but England fans turned on him towards the end of the contest as they chanted "you don't know what you're doing".

Asked if he understood the flak directed towards him, Southgate said: "Of course, in the end this is about winning matches with England, tonight was a night like many of my predecessors have had and experienced, and it's difficult to stand here… I'm not going to say it doesn't hurt, but it's very clear to me what we're trying to do across these four matches.

"The irony is, the two Nations League campaigns are arguably the ones that have heaped negativity and pressure on to us, and you wouldn't normally have that [the Nations League] as an England manager.

"I've got to go with that. I've got to protect the players. They've been exceptional in their attitude, they've never stopped. The results are my responsibility."

But while he claimed to understand the perspective of unhappy fans, he also reminded supporters of his team's past achievements.

"Hungary are a good side, we knew that, and as I said, I think I've given too much for them [England's young players] to do tonight in the end, and I understand the reaction to that in the stadium," he added.

"What I would say is, this group of players has been unbelievable for the country and it's important people stay with them because they're still going to be very strong moving forward."

 

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