Half an hour earlier than kick-off, when the group sheets had been learn aloud for the primary time, the loudest Roman roar was reserved for the Italy supervisor, Roberto Mancini. On the entrance of Gazzetta dello Sport’s pullout this week, Mancini was mocked-up within the dugout alongside Albert Einstein however a 3rd successive victory at this European Championship, which prolonged their unbeaten run to a record-equalling 30 matches, required little genius. Actually, they barely broke sweat on a muggy night on which Matteo Pessina scored the one purpose.
Wales, who had Ethan Ampadu despatched off 10 minutes into the second half, turned their newest victims however Italy’s failure to press house their one-man benefit ensured Robert Web page’s aspect will qualify from Group A in second place, teeing up a last-16 date in Amsterdam on Saturday. Italy’s supporters loved themselves and by the tip there was a carnival ambiance as a Mexican wave made its method round this cavernous stadium. It was an consequence that suited each groups, even when Ampadu’s crimson card will rankle.
It’s one factor figuring out what to anticipate from Italy and one other factor stopping them. They suffocated Wales in direction of the tip of a one-sided first half, swarming upfield at will via the Juventus pair Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernadeschi – clubmates of Aaron Ramsey, whose title was closely jeered when learn aloud earlier than kick-off – and had been left uncovered when Ampadu was handed a straight – and reasonably harsh – crimson card 10 minutes into the second for a late sort out on the ankle of Bernadeschi. From that second on, it was an exhibition in keep-ball for Italy.
In midfield the returning Marco Verratti was peerless, fast to say his management, swivelling away from challenges and kick-starting assaults. He proved the catalyst for the purpose, profitable a foul after which offering a scrumptious cross for Pessina to steer in. Joe Allen shunted Verratti to the bottom 20 yards from the Wales purpose however he dusted himself off to whip the ensuing free-kick in from the proper. Arriving on the entrance publish was Pessina, whose deft contact, with the instep of his proper foot, nestled within the far pocket of Danny Ward’s purpose.
After which off he went, haring 50 yards alongside the touchline to spring into his team-mates, high-fiving Mancini amid the ecstasy of all of it. The Atalanta midfielder was on standby for the 26-man squad till accidents to Stefano Sensi and Lorenzo Pellegrini. Verratti crafted one other likelihood moments later as Italy sought to double their benefit however an prolonged Pessina toe-poked huge.
Mancini promised modifications and made eight of them, with Gianluigi Donnarumma, who’s poised to hitch Paris Saint-Germain, Leonardo Bonucci and Jorginho the one survivors from their 3-0 stroll towards Switzerland. Bonucci captained Italy within the absence of the injured Giorgio Chiellini however Mancini had the posh of having the ability to withdraw his main gatekeeper on the interval. Wales, too, tweaked issues with one eye on the final 16, with Ben Davies, Chris Mepham and Kieffer Moore, all of whom are one other reserving away from suspension, faraway from the firing line. 5 years in the past Davies, along with Aaron Ramsey, missed the Euro 2016 semi-final defeat to Portugal after totting-up cautions earlier within the competitors.
Ward twice made fantastic saves to disclaim the full of life Andrea Belotti and Bernadeschi rattled a publish from a free-kick after Verratti offered Wales a dummy. Ampadu’s dismissal noticed all hope of a stirring comeback evaporate and the defender was consoled by his Chelsea teammate Jorginho and Wales captain Gareth Bale as he left the pitch near tears. Web page positioned each palms on his head however finally there was no want for such glumness for Wales are via the knockout phases. Once more.