Italy seal Nations League bronze against hosts Netherlands
Italy sealed a third-place finish in the Nations League finals on Sunday, with a 3-2 win over disappointed hosts the Netherlands.
Ronald Koeman’s Dutch side started the week determined to win their first trophy since 1988’s European Championship but they fell short on home territory in both matches, losing the semi-final against Croatia on Wednesday.
Federico Dimarco and Davide Frattesi struck first half goals for Euro 2020 winners Italy in Enschede as the Netherlands started slowly.
Steven Bergwijn pulled one back with 20 minutes remaining but Juventus forward Federico Chiesa quickly restored Italy’s advantage to ensure they would take bronze, despite Georginio Wijnaldum pulling another goal back.
Koeman has now lost three of his four games since being reappointed Netherlands coach in January.
Inter Milan defender Dimarco sent a searing strike into the top corner after Giacomo Raspadori teed him up neatly in the sixth minute.
Neither player started in the semi-final defeat by Spain on Thursday, as Italy coach Roberto Mancini made several changes and returned to his favoured 4-3-3 formation.
It paid off, with Italy netting the second through Frattesi, one of only four who also faced La Roja from the outset.
The Sassuolo midfielder, 23, has been Italy’s best player in the final four, another example of the promising crop of players coming through for the Azzurri.
Bergwijn injected some excitement into the game with a well-taken goal to give the Netherlands a chance, but soon Chiesa stroked a low finish past Justin Bijlow at the other end.
Wout Weghorst netted for the Oranje after a deflected free-kick fell into his path but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Netherlands showed plenty of spirit in the final stages and Wijnaldum fired home from Joey Veerman’s threaded pass, but it was too little, too late.
Spain face Croatia in the final later Sunday in Rotterdam.
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