Italy maintain perfect Euro 2020 start with historic win over Wales

Date: 20th June 2021 at 7:51pm
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Italy continued their winning start to Euro 2020 with a 1-0 victory over 10-man Wales at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

The Azzurri rounded off Group A with maximum points after Matteo Pessina’s first half goal was enough to see off the Dragons, who had Ethan Ampadu dismissed for a tackle on Federico Bernardeschi.

Victory saw Roberto Mancini’s side extend their unbeaten run to 30 matches and equal the record set by Vittorio Pozzo’s side of 1935-1939, whilst securing an 11th consecutive clean sheet.

Italy dominated the first half and came close to breaking the deadlock early on as Emerson Palmieri and Pessina tested Danny Ward, whilst Andrea Belotti dragged a low shot just wide from a clever Bernardeschi through ball.

Wales’ best chance came as Chris Gunter met a Daniel James corner but could only nod into the side netting, whilst Aaron Ramsey found space in the box but couldn’t find a shot.

Federico Chiesa squandered a fine chance on the half hour mark as he chested down a cross in a crowded box but could only fire wide from close range, via a deflection.

The Azzurri finally made their pressure tell as Joe Allen brought Marco Verratti down, and he picked himself up to deliver a teasing freekick into the box. Pessina’s deft flick from the low delivery whistled beyond Ward and nestled in the far corner to put Italy ahead.

Pessina almost netted his second soon after as he met another Verratti delivery from the other flank but his effort was inches past the post.

Italy started the second half brightly and came within a whisker of doubling their advantage, but Bernardeschi could only watch as his low freekick came back off the base of the post.

Wales’ task was made all the more difficult soon after as Ampadu caught Bernardeschi’s ankle with a late challenge, earning himself a straight red card.

Despite the Azzurri’s dominance, the Welsh had a glorious chance to equalise as Gareth Bale met a Joe Rodon flick on from a freekick on the volley, but he could only blaze over.

Mancini’s side continued to press for a second and Chiesa forced a good block from a corner, having earlier raced in behind and cutting back for Belotti, drawing a save out of Ward.

The win sees Italy top Group A with maximum points, whilst Wales secured second spot ahead of Switzerland on goal difference after the Swiss overcame Turkey 3-1 in the other fixture of the group.


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