Italian footballers finished third in the 2020/2021 Nations League. In Sunday’s fight for the bronze medal, they defeated Belgium 2:1 at home in Turin.
The defending champion occupied the majority of the match in front, and at the beginning of the second season opened the scoring with a shot from Nicolo Barilla’s air ball, and in the 65th minute Domenico Berardi added the penalty kick. The Belgians, who hit the pole three times in the match, only corrected in the 86th minute thanks to substitute Charles de Kitlere.
In the LN Year Two Final, at 20.45 CEST in Milan, the Spaniards will face the French world champion.
League of Nations – Third Place:
Italy – Belgium 2:1 (0:0)
Objectives: 47. Barilla, 65. Berardi (z 11 m) – 86. de Ketelaere. ŽK: Di Lorenzo, Emerson-Vertongen, Witsel, Alderworld
Judges: Jovanovic-Stojkovic, Mihajlovic (all Serbs)
Italy: Donnarumma – Di Lorenzo, Acerbi, Bastoni, Emerson – Barella (70. Cristante), Locatelli (70. Jorginho), Pellegrini – Berardi (90. + 1 Insigne), Raspadori (65. Kean), Chiesa (90. + 2 Bernardeschi )
Belgium: Courtois – Alderweireld, Denayer, Vertonghen – Castagne, Witsel, Tielemans (59. De Bruyne), Saelemaekers (59. de Ketelaere) – Vanaken, Batshuayi, Carrasco (87th Trossard)
The Italians rode without Bonucci’s kickoff, with Captain Donnarumma’s belt in place of the captain’s armband, only Jorginho, Verratti or Insigne started on the bench. The Belgians lacked a star attacking triple lobe, Lukaku and E Hazard recovered from their muscle injuries, and coach Martinez allowed De Bruyne to rest. “Squadra azzurra” began more actively, the movement was played mainly by Chiesa, who tried to shoot it twice at first. In the 20th minute, apparently due to inexperience, Raspadori fouled an opponent just outside the penalty area, but the free kick that followed did not work. Gradually, the Belgians also settled. After 25 minutes, Alnarweirelda’s Alnarweirelda broke through the home team’s defense on the right, 70 minutes into the match. However, the home team had plenty of a match, which the agile Chiesa could send to the top spot at the end of the first chapter after Brady Passport. He pushed alone to Courtois, but the Belgian goalkeeper managed to push his attempt to break out of the goal with the tip of his foot.
What the Italians did not do in the first half, they were able to realize immediately after changing sides. 47 minutes into the match, the visitors’ defense had to take a look at the visitors’ central defense as Barella broke through to score 1 – 0 for Barella. The Azores were happier after the goal and the Belgians were under great pressure. Coach Martinez was struggling to make the ball dance with his usual skill, and the opposing players had little trouble stopping him in the muddy conditions. At times, he seemed to succeed in bringing the game to life. After an hour of playing, Batshuayi relaxed perfectly and, after his shot from a corner, shook the top corner of the Italian net for the second time in the match. However, Chiesa saved superbly, with Castagne putting the ball away for a foul. Penalty kick confirmed by VAR Courtois got the ball but Berardi converted the penalty with luck – 2:0. The opponent responded with two dangerous shots from Alderweireld but Donnarumma saved his team with excellent tackles. In the end, the Belgians increased their playing efforts, after De Bruyne’s pass, only Carrasco targeted the pole again. Only in the 86th minute did they manage to land, after a quick pass from Courtois and a pass from De Bruyne, he “knocked out” the ball between the legs of Donnarum de Kitilari. However, they did not have time to settle down and so in the second year of the LN they took fourth place.
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