Netherlands vs.  Italy - Match Report - September 7, 2020

EFE – Italy reappeared this Monday and won thanks to a goal from the head in the first half of midfielder Nicolo Barella to a Netherlands team that had wet gunpowder (0-1).

Roberto Mancini’s men masterfully circulated the ball, exerted suffocating pressure and created danger every time they were close to Cillessen’s goal.

They especially exploited the left wing, as both the goal and the best chances came that way, on a bad night from the Dutch side Hans Hateboer. Lodeweges even removed it with 20 minutes left in the game.

The Netherlands missed their three injured defenders: Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Daley Blind. Upstairs, Memphis Depay was more willful than effective, Donny van de Beek’s aim was off, and Luuk de Jong entered the field too late.

The “Azurri” saw their streak of eleven victories truncated last Friday, when they did not go beyond the draw (1-1) at home against Bosnia, while the “Orange” counted on repeating the triumph of three days ago against Poland (1- 0).

Interim Netherlands coach Dwight Lodeweges returned to 4-3-3 and lined up Van de Beek, who had started the game against Poland from the bench. Likewise, he advanced a few meters to Georginio Wijnaldum, who was on the far right in an experiment that came out regular.

Roberto Mancini made his debut for Manuel Locatelli and presented a 4-3-3 in which only goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and three outfield players repeated: Leonardo Bonucci, Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne. Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini, who suffered a terrible injury a year ago, returned to the starting eleven.

The game started with the two teams fighting for the ball from minute one. The “Orange”, used to dominating, found itself in trouble due to the advanced lines of Mancini’s men.

The Dutch had the first chances, especially a long shot from Memphis Depay, but it was a mirage because the “azzurri” ate the ground.

In the 17th minute, an acrobatic shot from Nicolo Zaniolo went over the bar. The shot was preceded by a great run into the area and center by Leonardo Spinazzola, who scared the local defense every time he caught it.

The progression of the Italians forced Frenkie de Jong to show his defensive skills, with a couple of good cuts and interceptions. The Dutch seemed to react with a chance from Wijnaldum in the 32nd minute, a nice run and shot that Donnarumma caught in two halves. It was one of the few occasions in which the midfielder wanted by Barcelona appeared.

Two shots by Italian Lorenzo Insigne in less than three minutes, one off and the other stopped by Cillessen, were the warning that things were not going well for the Dutch. At the edge of the break, a throw-in that seemed harmless led to the goal.

The visitors triangulated, the Dutch stood watching and the center of Ciro Immobile found the head of the shortest of the class, Nicolo Barella, who with his 1.72 meters tall surpassed the side that marked him, Nathan Aké. The header, with perfectly marked times, entered the goal from above and put the 1-0 on the scoreboard.

The second part began with opportunities for both teams. A right hand from Insigne in the 53rd minute forced Cillessen to pop a popcorn, and a shot from Van de Beek two minutes later passed inches from the crossbar.

The coming and going of chances continued and it seemed like anyone would score. Depay had it in 61, but his distant whip went too high, and Kean later, with a low shot, did not find any fortune either.

Lodeweges tried to give his team offensive power by taking out Bergwijn to replace Van de Beek and, with ten minutes remaining, taking away side Aké for Sevilla striker Luuk de Jong.

The Italians put chloroform in the game, they gave way and the shadow of the catenaccio reappeared. It worked, as the roar of the Dutch lions did not translate into bites, not even with the dangerous head-butting of Luuk de Jong. Depay wasted the last play with a volley on the edge of the small area that stung too much and went up.

With this victory, Italy adds four points and places first in their group, beating the Netherlands, which for now is second with three points.