Italy 2-0 Poland: Azzurri brush aside ten-man Poles

A goal in either half helped Italy return to the summit of Group A1.

Highlights: Italy 2-0 Poland
Highlights: Italy 2-0 Poland

Italy reclaimed top spot in Group A1 with a comfortable win over ten-man Poland.

Italy vs Poland: as it happened, reaction


Match in brief

The home side completely dominated the first period and were probably disappointed to have only one goal to show for their efforts.

That came when Andrea Belotti was pulled down by Grzegorz Krychowiak as he tried to get on the end of Federico Bernardeschi's cross, and Jorginho made no mistake from the spot.

Bernardeschi had earlier been denied by Wojciech Szczęsny, and Lorenzo Insigne's effort had been ruled out due to Belotti being offside.

Poland improved after the break but failed to really test Gianluigi Donnarumma, and when half-time replacement Jacek Góralski was shown a second yellow card, there was no way back.

Domenico Berardi, on as a substitute at his club stadium in Reggio Emilia, fired in late on to seal the win.

Domenico Berardi was on the scoresheet for Italy
Domenico Berardi was on the scoresheet for ItalyGetty Images

Paolo Menicucci, Italy reporter

Another convincing performance and a key victory for Italy despite missing several players. The Azzurri have a well-oiled – and entertaining – system which does not change much even when players are changing. Roberto Mancini's men are now top of the group and have not lost for 21 games. They still have a last hurdle to overcome in order to reach the final four but can travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina with plenty of confidence for their last match.

Piotr Kozminski, Poland reporter

A disappointing showing by Poland. Robert Lewandowski came back into the team after being rested for the Ukraine friendly, but it did not help. The midfield did not work out so there was no service to their star striker. Poland failed to create chances and can have no complaints after losing with their worst display in some time.

Reaction

Alberico Evani, Italy assistant coach:"We remained faithful to our attacking principles of football. Roberto [Mancini] has been working on them for two years and when you continue playing like this, in the long run, you are rewarded. We need to be a little more efficient up front, but the overall performance was good."

Jerzy Brzęczek, Poland coach: "The first half was very bad; we didn't do our job and didn't press well enough. Some of our young players didn't play at the level we'd hoped, but they've played lot of games recently. The second half was slightly better, but this just wasn't our day."

It was a difficult evening for Robert Lewandowski
It was a difficult evening for Robert LewandowskiGetty Images

Key stats

  • Italy extended their unbeaten run to 21 matches (W16 D5).
  • Poland have failed to beat Italy in four UEFA Nations League fixtures.
  • Italy won a UEFA Nations League home fixture for the first time, having drawn the previous four.
  • Poland have only scored one goal in their last ten competitive games against Italy.
  • Italy have conceded just three goals in their last 11 fixtures and have played 24 matches since they last conceded more than one in a game.
  • None of Italy's nine UEFA Nations League games have contained more than two goals.
  • Poland suffered only their third defeat in their last 18 matches.

Line-ups

Italy: Donnarumma; Florenzi (Di Lorenzo 89), Acerbi, Bastoni, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli; Bernardeschi (Berardi 64), Belotti (Okaka 79), Insigne (El Shaarawy 89)

Poland: Szczęsny; Bereszyński, Glik, Bednarek, Reca; Krychowiak, Moder (Góralski 46); Szymański (Zieliński 46), Linetty (Milik 74), Jóźwiak (Grosicki 46); Lewandowski

What's next?

18/11: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Italy
18/11: Poland vs Netherlands