Euro 2020 Qualifiers, Finland 1-2 Italy: 3 Talking points from the Azzurri's sixth consecutive victory in the qualifying stages
Starting the game as the favourites, the Azzurri, as expected, dominated the possession as Huuhkajat waited to pounce on any mistakes made by them while moving the ball. Despite their dominance, Finland started the game with a terrific chance from a corner kick, where Joona Toivio arrived late at the far post.
But, as the game progressed, Roberto Mancini's side were able to create openings in the Finnish side. Stefano Sensi forced a terrific save off Lukas Hradecky, denying Italy a crucial lead. However, Markku Kanerva's side stayed in the game as first-half ended at 0-0.
With the start of the second half, Italy were more determined to score and Frederico Chiesa's deflected cross was turned in by Ciro Immobile. However, Teemu Pukki's individual brilliance earned Finland a penalty - eventually converted by the striker himself.
Despite Finland's best efforts, Italy's dominance translated into their winning goal as Jorginho converted a penalty on the other end to hand Azzurri all three points.
Here are the major talking points from La Nazionale's sixth qualification stage victory.
#3 Italy's midfield felt the absence of Marco Verratti
With Marco Verratti serving his suspension, the midfield which Roberto Mancini was supposed to pick for the Finland game became a major point of debate. Given the Paris Saint-Germain player's vision and tenacity, it was widely anticipated that Mancini's engine-room would find it difficult to run in his absence.
As predicted by many, in spite of dominating the ball, Italy found it difficult to move the ball at a brisk pace around the pitch. This led to Finland keeping a compact shape for a major part of the game. Jorginho, who flourished as a regista against Armenia, cut an isolated figure in this game.
The Chelsea man's only impact on this contest was his calm penalty which eventually ended as the winning goal. Also, the budding duo of Stefano Sensi and Nicolo Barella, terrific in the linkups, also displayed glimpses of inexperience in their game as they disjointed the midfield shape.
Still, this Italy side is a work in progress with a plethora of young talents finding their feet at the international stage. Roberto Mancini has done a commendable job to create an environment for them to express themselves and also improve at the same time.