Italy hosted Greece on Saturday night in another Euro 2020 qualifier, and had the chance to secure their place in next summer’s competition with three points.
Donning a silky, special edition green kit to symbolise the ‘renaissance’ of the Italy team and the inclusion of a number of young players, Roberto Mancini’s men struggled to create any significant chances in the opening 45 minutes, summing up a pretty dreadful first half.
Italy started the second half with more purpose, but still failed to carve open anything concrete. However, the increased pressure finally paid off in the 61st minute, when they won a penalty following a handball from Andreas Bouchalakis. Jorginho stepped up, and put away the penalty as nonchalantly as always.
Federico Bernardeschi then doubled Italy’s lead soon after with a strike from long range that caught the keeper cold. In all honesty, Alexandros Paschalakis should have done a lot better.
2-0 was the final score, meaning Italy secured their place in Euro 2020 despite an unconvincing performance. Greece however, now need a miracle if they want to finish in the top two.
Key Talking Point
The Azzurri have been in formidable form under the management of Roberto Mancini, with six wins from six in their group, and seven from seven in all competitions. As well as having eyes on next year’s competition, Italy would have had a sneaky look at their record for most consecutive wins, which dates all the way back to 1938 and stands at nine.
Subs: Bernardeschi (7), Belotti (6), Zaniolo (N/A)
In a game with very little quality, Chelsea man Jorginho showed his class with a very good display.
The midfielder ran the game in the middle of the park, and attempted to progress the play on multiple occasions with some impressive through balls and forward thinking.
It wasn’t an incredible display, but he was most certainly the best player in an otherwise underwhelming performance. A goal from the penalty spot also capped off his night nicely.
Jorginho fast becoming a force to reckon for club and country#ITAGRE
— The Media (@pharuqgio) October 12, 2019
Starting XI: Paschalakis (5); Bakakis (6), Chatzidiakos (7), Siovas (7), Stafylidis (6); Zeca (6), Kourbelis (6) Bouchalakis (5), Bakasetas (7); Limnios (6), Koulouris (6)
With Italy now qualified, their aim will be to carry on their incredible momentum and – as mentioned earlier – break their winning record. With two relatively simple fixtures to come, this should be well within their reach.
However, it was a far from impressive performance from the Italians, and Mancini will know that they have a lot of work to do if they are to make a mark at the European Championships.
Greece can still mathematically qualify. Realistically…they have no chance. They will have to win their final three games against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia and Finland, then hope other results go for them. Not happening, folks.