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Italy can with Belgium and achieves third place in the League of Nations

Italy can with Belgium and achieves third place in the League of Nations

Italy recovered a bit of the magic of the European Championship to beat Belgium 2-1 and achieve third place in the League of Nations, at the Juventus Stadium in Turin, an aperitif of the final that France and Spain will play in Milan.

The European champion won with a goal from Nicolo Barella, who fired a volley (minute 46), and a penalty converted by Domenico Berardi (64) that Federico Chiesa had caused.

In the last minutes Italy lost their way on defense and Belgium had several occasions. In one of them, the young 20-year-old Charles de Ketelaere managed to pass the ball under the legs of goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma (86).

The Italian coach Roberto Mancini made a positive assessment of the tournament: «They have been two excellent games. Today (Sunday) we have changed some players and, despite this, the team has played just as well ».

As in the quarter-finals of the last European Championship, when the ‘Nazionale’ prevailed by the same score on the way to their continental title at Wembley, the Belgian defense suffered from the speed of the Italian attackers.

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In his stadium, the Juventus winger Chiesa wanted to show that he is one of the footballers of the moment, but he was not able to score on one of his many occasions.

It was Barella who achieved it with a volley after a corner cleared to the center by the Belgian defense.

Donnarumma, who had just been whistled by San Siro in the semi-final lost on Wednesday against Spain (2-1), had a calmer afternoon.

Wearing the captain’s armband, the 22-year-old PSG goalkeeper showed reflexes in two shots from central Toby Alderweireld (69 and 77).

– Donnarumma, comforted –
Gigio! ‘Gigio!’ Was heard from the stands to lift the morale of the best player of the last European Championship, who had lived a nightmare night in his old stadium.

After suffering their first defeat in more than three years against Spain, Italy achieved what they were looking for, a victory against the first nation in the FIFA rankings that allows them to consolidate their fifth place, with the aim of being among the first seven in April for be part of the seeds in the draw for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

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The Azzurra must first qualify: they play a decisive match against Switzerland on 12 November in Rome. The objective is to be first in the group and achieve the pass directly, avoiding the play-off, which in her case was fatal in 2017, since she was eliminated by Sweden and was left out of Russia-2018.

For the duel against Belgium, coach Roberto Mancini opted to rotate – Chiellini, Verratti, Jorginho and Insigne started on the bench.

For the Red Devils, their coach Roberto Martínez completely renewed his line of attack with respect to the team that lost 3-2 to France in the semifinals after winning 2-0 at minute 60.

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With Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard resting due to physical discomfort, the Spanish coach brought Kevin De Bruyne in in the last half hour.

The fine Manchester City midfielder assisted De Ketelaere in the Belgian goal, in a very fast counterattack that showed that Italy did not have the solidity that led them to the European title.

“Despite the defeat, we have been effective in both areas and we have had a globally positive performance and we have had more chances than Italy,” said Martinez, who also complained about the penalty that was the second Italian goal.

“It was not a penalty. The VAR should help the referees much more, “he said.

France, current world champions, and Spain will close the second edition of the League of Nations. The first was won by Portugal in 2019. AFP (HN)

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