Youthful Italy impress in win over the Netherlands
A much changed Italy were 2-1 winners over the Netherlands in the friendly match at the Amsterdam ArenA, thanks to goals from Eder and Leonardo Bonucci.
Six changes were made by Giampiero Ventura to the team which beat Albania 2-0 on Friday evening in Palermo, with Gianluigi Donnarumma becoming the youngest ever goalkeeper to start for the Azzurri.
Roberto Gagliardini made his Italy debut in the opening half,coming on for the injured Daniele De Rossi, while Leonardo Spinazzola, Andrea Petagna, Danilo D’Ambrosio and Simone Verdi all did the same in the second.
The opening exchanges were strewn with defensive errors, and the Netherlands drew first blood thanks to a Romagnopli error. The AC Milan defender turned Quincy Promes’ already deflected shot past Donnarumma from six-yards out 10 minutes in.
- Gianluigi Donnarumma (18 years, 1 month, 5 days) is the youngest goalkeeper to start for Italy, 954 days before Gianluigi Buffon (20 years, 8 months, 19 days) in Italy-Switzerland on October 10, 1998.
- Italy are unbeaten in seven games under Ventura (5W, 2D), it have not managed eight unbeaten since June 2015: nine in that case under Antonio Conte (5W, 4D).
- Italy are unbeaten in 14 friendly matches against the Netherlands: eight wins and six draws.
- Italy won a friendly match away for the first time since November 2011 (against Poland).
- Four of the five goals from Leonardo Bonucci with the national team have come from a corner kick, the other was a penalty.
However, just 67 seconds later the Azzurri were level as Wesley Hoedt failed to clear a Marco Verratti freekick, which then fell to Eder who rifled into the far bottom corner.
Bruno Martins Indi hit the crossbar with a header, but Italy took the lead 31 minutes in.
Jeroen Zoet saved a Marco Parolo flicked header, but the Dutch goalkeeper could only push the ball into the path of Leonardo Bonucci, and the Juventus defender smashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
After the break, Italy sat back and allowed the Netherlands possession and territory which almost cost them.
A mistake by Leonardo Bonucci saw the Juventus defender pass the ball along the backline straight into the path of Memphis Depay, who got the ball through to Promes but his low effort was too close to Donnarumma.
Andrea Belotti almost scored after a smart turn and shot, but it was blocked by the Dutch defence. Then a smart save from Zoet denied the Torino striker.
Spinazzola almost had a debut goal after being played in by Verratti, but Zoet was in the right place at the right time and denied the Atalanta defender.
A brilliant save by Donnarumma with five minutes left denied Wesley Sneijder who struck a vicious low shot from range, which was creeping into the corner.
Moments later the AC Milan youngster was at it again, denying Sneijder once again after the Dutch midfielder rifled another towards the far corner.
Then in the final minute Tonny Vilhena put a drive inches wide.