In Turin where the FIGC was founded 120 years, Roberto Mancini’s Italy drew 1-1 with the Netherlands. It was the final one of three friendlies after the side beat Saudi Arabia (2-1) before losing to France in Nice (3-1) after facing the lethal front three of Mbappé-Griezmann-Dembelé. Tonight, after a number of chances were missed in the first half, Zaza opened the scoring from Chiesa’s assist. The Azzurri then went down to ten when Criscito was shown a straight red card before Aké levelled two minutes from the end. Hopes of a second win from three were denied late on but the National Team remain unbeaten against the Netherlands and in the four matches played at the Juventus Stadium.
There was a big change in personnel for the match but Mancini stuck with the 4-3-3 formation. Only Jorginho remained for a third straight start. Perin was in goal. Rugani and Romagnoli at centre-back with Zappacosta and Criscito at full-back. Cristante and Bonaventura were alongside Jorginho in the middle. Up front, Belotti was the centre-forward with support out wide from Verdi and Insigne.
It took just three minutes for the ‘Gallo’ to find the net as he finished from a Bonaventura free kick, but, a few seconds later the Russian referee Bezborodov ruled it out because Cristante was offside. Italy got up the pitch with short passing with Bonaventura and Jorginho doing the work in the heart of midfield while Insigne looked to find space further up to come up with decisive pieces of play. It was a special day for him as he celebrated his 27th birthday while also being the first Napoli player to wear the captain’s armband. In the 32nd minute, one of his passes set up Belotti who was in an excellent position but he fired straight at Cillessen.
Two minutes later, the Jorginho-Insigne combination linked up again to evade the Dutch offside trap but Verdi’s shot went just over. The few attacks from the Oranje went through Depay but he was kept under warps by Rugani and Romagnoli. At the end of the half, there were two great chances for the Azzurri. First, Verdi forced Cillessen to tip his shot out for a corner where Criscito’s header was then cleared off the line. Italy started to entertain but struggled to take their chances and went off to applause from the 20,000-strong crowd at the Juventus Stadium.
At the start of the second half, both sides made changes at right-back. Janmaat came on for Hateboer while De Sciglio replaced Zappacosta. Mancini then brought on Federico Chiesa who continued to impress after being one of the best players against France. Zaza also got 30 minutes of playing time while Verdi and Belotti made way.
In the 66th minute, the two substitutes combined to break the deadlock. Chiesa attacked space on the right and delivered a powerful cross. Van Dijk looked to clear but he hit the ball into Zaza who was sliding in and the ball found the net for his second Italy goal. One minute later, the Azzurri went down to ten when Criscito was sent off for denying a clear chance for Babel. From the subsequent free kick, Perin did well to tip away the shot from Depay. Mancini brought Bonucci on for Insigne and then Baselli for Jorginho who became the fifth debutant under the new Head Coach. The Dutch went close with a Vilhena shot and Perin then did well to tip out a Berghuis strike. However, in the 88th minute Berghuis crossed it into the box with Aké getting his head on it and there was nothing Perin could do. It finished 1-1 and the Azzurri will next be in action in September for the opening match in Nations League.