Wales were beaten by Italy (0-1), who achieved a clear round in Group A of the Euro, but still qualified for the knockout stages.
Roberto Mancini has not finished having headaches. The Italian coach did not hesitate to leave eight of his holders on the bench and to renew his attacking trident for the last group match of Squadra Azzurra, against Wales. It took him well, since Italy ended up winning (1-0), the 11th time in a row without conceding a goal, against the Dragons, despite this very large turnover. This 30th consecutive match without defeat gives the group first place to the Azzurri, already qualified for the knockout stages of the Euro after their two great victories against Turkey and Switzerland (twice 3-0).
Italy no longer knows how to lose or take a goal
Roberto Mancini and his resurgent Italy haven’t won anything (yet), but the manager made calcio history by tying an unbeaten record over 80 years old. With Parisian Marco Verratti, back on the pitch as a starter six weeks after his right knee injury, the Italian substitutes have shown that they want to exist in the competition. Without its usual holders, Italy has evolved differently on the field, with the qualities of percussion of Chiesa on the right side, also benefiting from the influence of Marco Verratti, decisive passer on the opening of the scoring (39th).
Absent from the scoresheet during the first two meetings, Verratti distinguished himself in his register, delivering very good passes, taking initiatives. We even saw him try his luck from afar in the first period. The great hope of Italian football Matteo Pessina perfectly cut one of his crosses with a header at the near post to deceive the Welsh goalkeeper. Just when it seemed to have control of the game, Italy lost Leonardo Bonucci, replaced at the break by Acerbi. She then found herself in numerical superiority, ten against eleven, after the expulsion of defender Ethan Ampadu (55th), for a sole pressed too much on Bernardeschi’s ankle.
Gareth Bale’s Huge Failure
In total management, Italy played to scare themselves, sometimes, but they especially kept the pressure in the camp of the Welsh, completely asphyxiated in their own half of the field. Sharper, like the duels won by the explosive Chiesa in the one against one, more inspired, Italy has provided many opportunities to worsen the score on the scoreboard. But Mancini’s men fell on the post or a vigilant Ward. They also took advantage of the clumsiness of Gareth Bale, who almost punished the Italian passivity to adjust Gianluigi Donnarumma. Absolutely alone against the goal, the Madrilenian, quite erased otherwise, sent his recovery over the Italian goal.
Without consequences for his team which, thanks to the result of the other match (Switzerland’s 3-1 victory against Turkey), finished second in the group and qualified for the round of 16. Wales will play the runner-up in Group B (Russia, Finland or Denmark) in Amsterdam on June 26. As for Italy, they will challenge the second in Group C (Ukraine or Austria who will face each other) at Wembley on June 26. Without Gianluigi Donnarumma? The Italian goalkeeper came out late in the match, replaced for the last minutes by Salvatore Sirigu. With a smile, which is rather reassuring for the future Parisian.