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 in the dugout alongside Albert Einstein but 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, grew to become their newest victims but Italy’s failure to press house their one-man benefit ensured Robert Web page’s facet 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 top there was a carnival ambiance as a Mexican wave made its manner round this cavernous stadium. It was an end result that suited each groups, even when Ampadu’s pink card will rankle.
It’s one factor understanding what to anticipate from Italy and one other factor stopping them. They suffocated Wales in direction of the top of a one-sided first half, swarming upfield at will through the Juventus pair Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernadeschi – clubmates of Aaron Ramsey, whose identify was closely jeered when learn aloud earlier than kick-off – and had been left uncovered when Ampadu was handed a straight – and fairly harsh – pink card 10 minutes into the second for a late deal with 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, successful 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 but he dusted himself off to whip the ensuing free-kick in from the proper. Arriving on the entrance submit was Pessina, whose deft contact, with the instep of his proper foot, nestled in 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 but an prolonged Pessina toe-poked huge.
Mancini promised modifications and made eight of them, with Gianluigi Donnarumma, who’s poised to affix Paris Saint-Germain, Leonardo Bonucci and Jorginho the one survivors from their 3-0 stroll in opposition to Switzerland. Bonucci captained Italy in the absence of the injured Giorgio Chiellini but Mancini had the luxurious of with the ability to withdraw his major 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 in the competitors.
Ward twice made nice saves to disclaim the full of life Andrea Belotti and Bernadeschi rattled a submit from a free-kick after Verratti bought 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 but finally there was no want for such glumness for Wales are through the knockout phases. Once more.