ITALY – Nicoló Barella, with a great volley, and Domenico Berardi, from a penalty, scored the decisive goals this Sunday to hand Italy third place in the UEFA Nations League after winning the consolation final against Belgium 2-1 in the Juventus Stadium in Turin.
After interrupting last Wednesday against Spain their streak of 37 games without losses, Italy was reunited with the victory against a Belgium without Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard, injured, still visibly affected by the defeat suffered in the semifinals against France, in which they wasted a 2-0 in favor.
Mancini’s bet was better, who made five changes compared to the eleven that fell to Spain, against a Belgium in which Martinez gave Kevin De Bruyne rest, in addition to the losses of Lukaku and Hazard, who returned to their country to start rehabilitation therapies for muscle injuries.
It was a monumental performance by Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in supporting Belgium in the first half. The Madrid goalkeeper was the protagonist with a great stop with one foot before a shot from Federico Chiesa, but he could only delay the “azzurrro” goal.
Again Barella, who had also broken to equality in the last confrontation with Belgium, in the quarterfinals of the European Championship, beat Courtois, this time with a great volley with his right leg in a set piece action when the match had barely started. resumption.
The Inter midfielder opened the way for the triumph of the “azzurra” team, which extended distances in 64 thanks to a maximum penalty achieved by Chiesa and transformed by Berardi. Courtois sensed the angle of the shot, as happened on Thursday before Kylian Mbappé’s penalty, but had to give up despite touching the ball with one hand.
It was minute 64 and Martínez had just given way to De Bruyne to give more verticality and weight to his team, which, without a doubt, was not helped by good luck in this final four.
The Belgian “Red Devils” encountered wood on up to three occasions. Alexis Saelemaekers hit the crossbar in the first half, one of his team’s few chances, while Michy Bathsuayi and Yannick Carrasco smashed their spikes off the crossbar and a post respectively at the restart.
The curse was broken by young Brugge talent Charles De Ketelaere, who beat goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to make it 1-2 on the scoreboard in 86, when however it was too late to force extra time.
Italy did not suffer to contain Belgium and finished in third place in the League of Nations to open a new cycle of triumphs, after the loss to Spain that interrupted their streak of 37 games without knowing the defeat.
The winner of the second edition of the League of Nations will be known tonight, when Spain and France will meet in San Siro.