Italy 1-0 Wales: Roberto Mancini’s second-string side manages to pick up a win

Matteo Pessina and Marco Verratti of Italy
Matteo Pessina and Marco Verratti of Italy

Italy picked up a narrow 1-0 win over Wales in the European Championships earlier tonight.

Matteo Pessina scored the only goal of the game on the 39th minute to secure all three points for the Italians, and here at Anytime football, we look at the three major talking points from tonight’s contest.

Strength in depth

Roberto Mancini decided to make several changes to his starting lineup tonight, and he rested his starters after they managed to secure the passage into the knockout rounds of the competition.

The likes of Toloi, Bastoni, Pessina, Verratti, Bernardeschi, Belotti and Chiesa were all given an opportunity to impress tonight and Italy were reasonably comfortable throughout the game.

The second-string side were quite dominant, and they managed to get the job done when called upon.

The Italians enjoyed 69%  ball possession, and they had 23 shots compared to just three from Wales. The home side had seven corners compared to just one from the visitors as well.

Roberto Mancini’s side have not lost a single match since September 2018. They had 27 wins and 3 draws since then.

Ethan Ampadu – sent off

Ethan Ampadu was sent off ten minutes into the second half, and Wales pretty much struggled to get back into the game after that.

They were already the underdogs heading into the game, and the one-man deficit killed their chances of getting something out of the game. 

The defender was handed a straight red card for a rough challenge on Federico Bernardeschi, but on second viewing, it looked like the decision to send off the player was harsh, and perhaps a yellow card would have sufficed.

Ethan Ampadu has become the youngest player in European Championships history to be shown a straight red card, aged 20 years and 279 days.

The return of Marco Verratti

The Italian midfielder was given his first start in the European Championships tonight, and he produced a spectacular performance for his side.

Verratti was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch. He managed to create the winning goal of the game as well.

Italy have had a settled midfield three since the start of the tournament, and it will be interesting to see if the PSG midfielder can force his way into the starting lineup after tonight’s performance.

Wales qualified for Knock-out

Despite today’s loss to Italy, Wales qualified into next round after finishing second in the Group A. They finished second with better goal average than Switzerland, who have to wait for the results of other group stage games.