MX23RW : Friday, February 22 17:33:12
Jun 4, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Allianz Stadium (Torino)
Zaza (67')
Criscito (69')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Ake (88')

Live Commentary: Italy 1-1 Netherlands - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Italy's 1-1 draw with the Netherlands, as Nathan Ake's late header earned the visitors a credible result.
Live Commentary: Italy 1-1 Netherlands - as it happened
© Reuters

Nathan Ake scored two minutes from time as the Netherlands snatched a 1-1 draw against 10-man Italy in Turin on Monday night.

After taking a deserved lead through Simone Zaza's close-range finish, the Azzurri lost Domenico Criscito to a red card moments later.

The visitors upped the pressure and found a response late on when Ake lost his man and glanced Steven Berghuis's cross past Mattia Perin.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

7.15pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the international friendly between Italy and the Netherlands at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. Neither of these heavyweight nations will be competing at this summer's World Cup in Russia after falling short in the qualifying process, leaving a huge void to be filled at the quadrennial tournament.

7.17pmThe bottom line is that neither side was truly good enough to book a place at Russia 2018, and now preparations are in full swing for what Italy and the Netherlands hope will be a brighter future. The latter are now under the guidance of Ronald Koeman, who is still shaping his side ahead of the UEFA Nations League later this year, while Roberto Mancini is tasked with guiding the Azzurri to Euro 2020.


STARTING XI: Perin; Zappacosta, Rugani, Romagnoli, Criscito; Cristante, Jorginho, Bonaventura; Verdi, Belotti, Insigne

SUBS: Balotelli, Baselli, Berardi, Bonucci, Caldara, Chiesa, De Sciglio, Donnarumma, Mandragora, Pellegrini, Politano, Zaza

7.21pmStarting with a look at the home team, Mancini has opted to make mass changes from the 3-1 loss to France a few days ago. Simone Verdi, Bryan Cristante, Andrea Belotti and Mattia Perin all come into the starting lineup in Turin, with Nice striker Mario Balotelli - a starter in Mancini's first two matches at the helm - among those to drop down to the bench this evening.

7.23pmVerdi, who is expected to join Napoli in the coming days, starts alongside Belotti and future teammate Lorenzo Insigne. There is a chance for Cristante to impress in a midfield three, where he is joined by Manchester City-bound Jorginho and AC Milan ace Giacomo Bonaventura. Further back, meanwhile, there is news of a third different goalkeeper in three games, as Mattia Perin takes over from Salvatore Sirigu.


STARTING XI: Cillessen; De Ligt, Van Dijk, Blind; Hateboer, Wijnaldum, De Roon, Vormer, Vilhena; Babel, Depay

SUBS: Ake, Berghuis, De Vrij, Elia, Janmaat, Kongolo, Padt, Promes, Propper, Strootman, Wehorst, Zoet

7.27pmThe Netherlands, who have never previously won on Italian soil - just two draws from eight visits for them - also tinker with things slightly for this prestige friendly. Koeman has gone with three centre-backs, utilising the strengths of the versatile Daley Blind, Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Light. That means there is only room on the bench for Nathan Ake and new Inter Milan signing Stefan de Vrij.

7.29pmThrow goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen into the mix and it is fair to say that Oranje are well stocked in terms of their options at the back. Further forward Koeman has stuck to his word by using Marten de Roon in midfield, alongside Ruud Vormer and Georginio Wijnaldum, who like Van Dijk is returning to action following his Champions League exploits. Up top, Memphis Depay and Ryan Babel will work in tandem.

7.31pmItaly failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after finishing second in their group and then losing to Sweden in the playoff. The Azzurri failed to find the net across 180 minutes of that two-legged shootout against Sweden, meaning that Jakob Johansson's solitary goal proved enough to eliminate the four-time winners of the competition before they even reached the finals.

7.33pmFailure to reach Russia 2018 inevitably spelled the end for manager Giampiero Ventura, who has finally been replaced by Roberto Mancini. The Italian FA took their time to find a successor and, whether or not he was first choice, the former Manchester City boss is a decent enough option to take the Azzurri forward. This is certainly not a bad group of players, having knocked out Spain en route to reaching the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.

7.35pmSpain were actually the side that topped Italy's qualifying group, before the Azzurri's infamous 1-0 aggregate loss to Sweden in that playoff tie. The European giants' campaign went south when losing 3-0 away to La Roja, which was quickly followed up by a 1-1 draw against Albania. Their overall record in qualifying was actually pretty decent overall, it must be said, but losing to Sweden was always going to cost Ventura his job.

7.37pmThe Azzurri have since played four friendlies, losing to Argentina, France and drawing against England, while also overcoming World Cup-bound Saudi Arabia. The 2-1 win over the latter came in Mancini's first game in charge, with Balotelli netting twice on his return to the side, before going down 3-1 to France in Nice a few days ago. Next up after this is the UEFA Nations League double-headers against Poland and Portugal in the autumn.

7.39pmThe Netherlands are three-time runners-up at the World Cup and reached the semi-finals in Brazil four years ago, but they will be staying home this summer. Unlike Italy, they missed out on the playoffs altogether after finishing third in their group to France and Sweden. It is actually the second tournament in a row that they have missed out on, as they were the most notable absentee at Euro 2016.

7.41pmThe Oranje lost home and away to France and were also held by Sweden. Defeat to Bulgaria was the killer blow, though, rendering their three game winning streak to round off qualifying as a mere consolation. They have since played five friendlies, most recently drawing 1-1 with Slovakia in Trnava, with Quincy Promes - among the substitutes tonight - netting an equaliser on the hour mark.

7.43pmWith kickoff in Turin now just a couple of minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

Roberto Mancini: "The game against France was very important for us and this too will help us learn for the future. All the goals we've conceded have come from our mistakes and that includes the France ones. They were never from their counter-attacks, but us giving the ball away. We'll change practically everyone from the France game and are facing a side with a little more experience than us, but who are also rebuilding at the moment."

Ronald Koeman: "Italy have a squad worthy of a place in the World Cup. We've got a clear idea of how we want to play and how we want to attack the Azzurri. I was surprised by the way Italy played against France, as they had many young players. We have the ingredients for an entertaining match tomorrow and I expect it to be difficult. We can win this and we will try to win."

Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman before the match against England on March 23, 2018© Reuters

1 minKICKOFF! We are up and running at the Allianz Stadium in this clash between two of the 2018 World Cup's most notable absentees. Netherlands, sporting their traditional orange strip, are up against an Italy side in their blue and white kit.

3 minThere is a bit of rain in Turin and Mancini has just reached for his jacket. Babel has space to run into but he is unable to slot the ball through for strike partner Depay, with the ball being cut out just in the nick of time.


5 minGOAL RULED OUT FOR OFFSIDE! We have VAR in operation this evening and it has already been used! Bryan Cristante flicked on Simone Verdi's free kick for Andrea Belotti to sweep home from close range. The celebrations went on for a fair bit before the referee ruled it out.

7 minIn fact, it appears that VAR was not actually used to rule out that Belotti goal for offside - it was just down to the linesman taking an incredibly long time over the decision! Either way, a positive start for the home team.

9 minInsigne hammers a free kick into the box, but it is cleared away to safety. I talked up the quality of the Netherlands' centre-backs before the match, but they were caught napping for that offside goal early on. That said, Belotti was rightly flagged for offside.

11 minThere is a brief stoppage in play after Perin was taken out by teammate Criscito, who landed rather awkwardly. Italy the side looking the better in the opening 11 minutes here, but the Netherlands are also finding themselves in good positions.

13 minItaly are doing well in possession but they have created just the one chance so far, which culminated in that Belotti goal being ruled out for an offside infringement. The visitors, meanwhile, look at their best when breaking forward.

15 minBelotti latches on to a ball played over the top, making the most of some poor defending from Van Dijk, but once rounding Cillessen he is again flagged for offside. It was a tight call, but one that the officials looked to get wrong this time.

17 minGood defending from Blind to concede a corner, which is not properly dealt with by the visitors. Insigne was in some space to get a shot away, but the ball did not make it as far as Cillessen as a player in orange blocked it for another corner.

19 minInsigne so nearly gets on the end of Jorginho's searching pass over the top. The forward might have got a toe to the ball, but it was not enough to bring it down and Cillessen - the busier of the two goalkeepers - swept up the danger.

21 minItaly focusing largely on attacking down the flanks. The Azzurri have undoubtedly been the side in control, and have come closest to making he breakthrough, but we are still awaiting our first legal shot on target of the evening.

23 minHateboer is the latest visiting player to intercept a cross into the box for a corner kick. Verdi takes it and De Roon clears, as Oranje continue to stand firm at the back. Could be a long evening for Koeman's men at this rate.

25 minCHANCE! A couple of good openings come and go for Italy in quick succession. Verdi's cross was just out of Belotti's reach, before Cristante's attempted delivery was parried by the foot of Cillessen. The hosts stepping things up now!

27 minNearly a third of the match played and the Netherlands have offered very little so far. Mancini will be the happier of the two managers, with the Azzurri in control of possession and steadily creating chances at the Allianz Stadium.

29 minSAVE! Belotti this time manages to beat the offside flag, but he is unable to beat Cillessen. The Torino striker was clean through, only to pick out the legs of Cillessen down the middle from close range.

31 minCHANCE! The chances coming thick and fast for the home side now, none of which they have been able to take. Verdi is the latest to squander a glorious opening, hammering the ball over the crossbar from all of 12 yards out.

33 minThat Verdi chance came from an Insigne pull-back, with Italy's front three seeing more and more of the ball. Koeman must surely be tempted to change things around, because at the moment the Netherlands are desperately holding on.

35 minThe Oranje have seen less than 40% of the ball and are still awaiting their first attempt on target of the evening. Mancini's biggest concern will be his side's inability to put the ball in the back of the net once carving the opposition apart.

37 minBetter from the Netherlands, as they finally manage to keep their foot on the ball for more than a few passes. The attack ultimately came to little, however, with Mattia Perin effectively a spectator for the vast majority of this first half.

39 minA little over five minutes of the first half left to play in Turin and we are still awaiting the breakthrough moment. All the chances so far have fallen Italy's way, the best of which saw Belotti denied by Cillessen when through on goal.

41 minSAVE! Brilliant stop from Cillessen to keep out Verdi's prodded effort. Jorginho with yet another sublime ball over the top, which Verdi never truly got under control. The shot was goalbound, though, and needed a fingertip save.

43 minOFF THE LINE! How on earth are we still goalless here? Mimmo Criscito glanced the corner towards the corner of the net, where Ruud Vormer was waiting to head clear. The Netherlands are desperate to hear that half-time whistle.


8.32pmThe Netherlands reach half time with the scores intact, despite being second best pretty much throughout. Italy have been on top and created numerous chances towards the end of the opening 45 minutes, but they have been unable to find a way through.

8.35pmItaly thought that they were a goal up inside the opening three minutes, only for a delayed offside flag to cut short Andrea Belotti's celebrations once flicking home Christophe Bryan Cristante's free kick. The next clear-cut chance in a first half dominated by the hosts once again fell to Belotti, who this time beat the offside trap but failed to prod the ball through the legs of Jasper Cillessen with just the keeper to beat.

8.38pmSimone Verdi was unable to pick out Belotti and Cristante's follow-up was parried by Cillessen as the four-time World Cup winners continued to probe away. Cillessen was required again later in the half, this time getting a fingertip to Verdi's shot following Jorginho's latest sublime pass over the top of the visitors' five-man defence.

8.41pmVerdi also hammered the ball over the bar from 12 yards when picked out by Lorenzo Insigne in a good position, and Ruud Vormer was perfectly positioned on the line to nod clear Domenico Criscito's glanced header from a corner as the sides went into the interval all square. Visiting boss Ronald Koeman must surely be tempted to change things around at the break, while opposite number Roberto Mancini also has options of his own...

ITALY SUBS: Balotelli, Baselli, Berardi, Bonucci, Caldara, Chiesa, De Sciglio, Donnarumma, Mandragora, Pellegrini, Politano, Zaza

NETHERLANDS SUBS: Ake, Berghuis, De Vrij, Elia, Janmaat, Kongolo, Padt, Promes, Propper, Strootman, Wehorst, Zoet

AC Milan defender Leonardo Bonucci in action during his side's Serie A clash with Inter Milan on April 4, 2018© Reuters

46 minRESTART! We are back under way at the Allianz Stadium, where there is news of a half-time change to bring you. It is an enforced substitution, as Hans Hateboer dislocated a finger right at the end of the first half and is replaced by Daryl Janmaat in a like-for-like swap.

48 minMust be said, this has been a decent overall performance from Italy that has just lacked a goal. The Netherlands, on the other hand, have offered very little up top and are pretty much holding out for a goalless draw in Turin.

50 minItaly have pressed very high up the pitch, with near enough each of their players in the opposition half when closing down the Netherlands' backline. Insigne gets the ball played into his feet in behind again; he is flagged for offside again.

52 minIncidentally, each of Italy's last three matches in Turin have finished all square, albeit in 1-1 draws. The visitors now enjoying a spell on the ball in the opposition's final third, as they look for their first opportunity of the match.

54 minAn awkward one for Perin, who was back-peddling to reach a cross that deflected off Criscito. In the end it dropped on to the roof of the net in what has to be considered the Netherlands' best attacking moment of the match so far.

56 minThe visitors are looking more comfortable on the ball than they did throughout the first half. Janmaat gets a cross into the box that goes right the way through, and all of a sudden it is the Azzurri who are having to do a bit of defending.

58 minMancini appears to be readying a few changes as we approach the hour mark. No great surprise there, as he needs to use this match to experiment and his side have looked a little stale since the start of the second period.

60 minVerdi steals the ball off the Netherlands but cannot slip it through for Insigne. The Napoli man sent a curled effort over the bar from the previous attacking move, with no real options either side of him. Those Italy changes are now being readied...

62 minITALY SUB! Mancini makes a couple of changes in quick succession. First on is Mattia De Sciglio for Davide Zappacosta, while Federico Chiesa replaces Simone Verdi. This second half has not really got going yet, it is fair to say.

64 minSHOT! Tonny Vilhena directed an awkward volley over the crossbar for the Netherlands a few moments ago, and it is the Oranje who have just about edged this second half. Italy are rather desperately chasing the ball in an attempt to wrest back control.

66 minITALY SUB! Mancini probably could have made these three changes at once, rather than staggering them over five minutes or so. Simone Zaza is now on for Andrea Belotti, who thought that he had opened the scoring very early on.

67 minCHANCE! A good chance for the Netherlands to make the most of Italy's slumber. Daryl Janmaat sent the ball towards the penalty spot, where Memphis Depay was waiting to meet the ball with his head, only to send it right at Perin down the middle.


69 minThis is a brilliantly-worked opener for the home side, rounded off by Simone Zaza. A passing move culminated in Federico Chiesa being played in down the right, and the winger's cross into the middle was converted by Zaza, possibly with a touch of Van Dijk.

71 minRED CARD! Well this game has well and truly burst into life! Moments after taking the lead, Babel latched on to Wijnaldum's through-ball and was brought down by last man Domenico Criscito. The referee felt that he had little choice but to reach into his back pocket.

73 minSAVE! Leonardo Bonucci is jeered loudly as he is brought on for Lorenzo Insigne. Berghuis and Ake are replaced by Vormer and De Ligt in the Netherlands' latest alterations. Depay's free kick is brilliantly saved by Perin down to his right.

75 minBerghuis kicks out at Perin but gets away with it. This second half has been pretty fiery and the referee has now dished out a yellow to Chiesa. The substitute winger took a shot after the whistle was blown for offside and was therefore penalised.

77 minITALY SUB! A word on that Netherlands goal... Zaza did not actually guide Chiesa's cross into the back of the net; it was Van Dijk who got the first touch to the ball, sending it straight against the striker. Baselli is now on for Jorginho.

79 minNETHERLANDS SUBS! A couple more changes for the Netherlands, too, as Weghorst and Promes come on for Blind and De Roon. Tonny Vilhena has just sent a shot spinning past Perin's goal - he maybe should have done a little better.

81 minSAVE! Great attempt from Steven Berghuis and an even better save from Perin, who has showed tonight why he is on the brink of a move to Juventus. The curler was heading for the back of the net if not for the intervention.

83 minNETHERLANDS SUB! Elia is now on for Babel for the closing stages of the match. The substitutions keep on coming, yet the flow of the game has remained constant. It has been one of the better friendlies you will see.

85 minSAVE! Good stop from Cillessen down low to keep out Chiesa, who dummied one way and then the other before getting his shot away. The substitute wideman has been the best player on the pitch, having also set up Zaza's opener.


88 minNetherlands snatch a late goal through Nathan Ake! The defender came up from the back to nod Berghuis's teasing cross past Perin - his first goal at senior international level. On the basis of the second half, a draw is about right; on the 90, Italy have been hard done by.

90 minWe are now into added time and there is still time for one of these teams to find a winner. Italy are down to 10 men, remember, following Criscito's red card 60 seconds or so after Zaza opened the scoring at the Allianz Stadium.


9.43pmThe Russian referee, who was certainly kept on his toes in that frantic second half, blows for full time at the Allianz Stadium. An entertaining match ended 1-1 in Turin, with Nathan Ake popping up late on for the Netherlands to cancel out Simone Zaza's opener, as the 10-man hosts failed to see things through.

9.45pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events from Turin. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, and be sure to join us tomorrow for more updates from a couple of pre-World Cup friendlies across the continent. See you then!

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Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in action for his side during the international friendly with Germany in Milan on November 15, 2016
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