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Netherlands 0-1 Italy: 5 Hits and Flops as Azzuri trump Dutch | UEFA Nations League 2020-21

Italy picked up their first win in the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League
Italy picked up their first win in the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 08 Sep 2020, 04:02 IST
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Italy beat Netherlands 1-0 in Amsterdam in the UEFA Nations League, with a spirited performance filled with quality, as the Dutch were by far second best on the night.

Nicolo Barella's header at the end of the first half proved to be what separated the two sides, but the scoreline might have been a bit kinder to the Dutch than it could've been on another day.

The goal came off a well-worked move on Italy's left flank, Leonardo Spinazzola and Lorenzo Insigne. Ciro Immobile was presented with the ball on the edge of the box, from where he picked out Barella with a superb cross and the midfielder made no mistake with his header.

Here are the hits and flops from yet another Italian success in Amsterdam.


#5 Hit - Leonardo Spinazzola

Spinazzola had an outstanding game at left-back for Italy
Spinazzola had an outstanding game at left-back for Italy

Spinazzola was in terrific form for Italy down their left flank. Starting as the left-back, he combined superbly with Insigne ahead of him, and made life incredibly difficult for Hans Hateboer, who started as the right-back for the Netherlands.

Despite Spinazzola being right-footed, he managed to keep the width on the flank, and didn't really cut inside at every opportunity. That was important because with Insigne being right-footed, the diminutive winger's game is built on cutting inside and occupying central spaces.

Spinazzola hugging the touchline ensured that Italy could stretch the Dutch defence, and make the ball do the talking, as Dwight Lodeweges's side really didn't have the answers to the quick movement and passing from the Italians.

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Spinazzola was also heavily involved in the move that led to the Italian goal, as he started it off, before letting Insigne and Immobile combine to set up Barella.


#4 Flop - Hans Hateboer

Hateboer had a rough outing for the Netherlands
Hateboer had a rough outing for the Netherlands

After an impressive performance against Poland on Friday, Hateboer was well below par in this game. He struggled with the balance between venturing forward and leaving his space at the back unguarded.

Spinazzola and Insigne really did push Hateboer back, and exploited the spaces in behind him superbly. The Atalanta man is not the quickest defender going, so the Italians always targeted his channel. In what might also have been a conscious effort to stay away from Virgil van Dijk's side, Italy always attacked from their left.

Hateboer's indecisiveness while defending also affected his game going forward. Against Poland, his movement and passing in the final third was crisp and confident. In this game, the same moves were shrouded with self-doubt and looked a little timid.

His crossing on the night was real let-down for the Netherlands as well.

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Published 08 Sep 2020, 04:02 IST
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