Goals from Federico Dimarco, Davide Frattesi and Federico Chiesa secured victory for Italy in the UEFA Nations League third-place match.
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Italy claimed UEFA Nations League bronze for the second tournament in succession after seeing off the Netherlands 3-2 in a thriller in Enschede.
6' Dimarco puts Italy in front
20' Frattesi doubles advantage
40' Gakpo curls wide
68' Bergwijn strikes
72' Chiesa gets Italy's third
89' Wijnaldum scores late consolation
Match in brief: Italy edge entertaining encounter
Italy took the lead after just six minutes as Federico Dimarco strode onto Giacomo Raspadori's clever back-heel and fired a superb left-footed strike with the outside of his boot into the far corner to leave goalkeeper Justin Bijlow with no chance.
The Azzurri doubled their advantage on the 20-minute mark, with Davide Frattesi alive to a rebound from Wilfried Gnonto's shot and showing great composure to poke the ball past Bijlow from close range.
Cody Gakpo had a golden opportunity to get the Netherlands back into the game five minutes before half-time, but the Liverpool forward could only curl his effort just wide of the far post after being put through by Xavi Simons.
The Oranje improved as the second period went on and substitute Steven Bergwijn struck to give them hope after cutting inside Dimarco and finishing from close range. However, another substitute got on the scoresheet just minutes later as Italy's Federico Chiesa fired low into the bottom corner following a swift counterattack.
Georginio Wijnaldum set up a grandstand finish by scooping an effort over Gianluigi Donnarumma, but Italy survived nine minutes of added time to claim a deserved win.
Derek Brookman, Netherlands reporter
This was clearly not what the Oranje had envisaged as hosts of the 2023 UEFA Nations League finals. Seven goals conceded, two defeats, and a lot of question marks about where the team is at the moment. The second-half showing was unequivocally encouraging, and with a bit of luck they could have scored a couple more, but all in all they will be bitterly disappointed not to have given the home supporters more to cheer about.
Paolo Menicucci, Italy reporter
I think Roberto Mancini will be even more disappointed by the defeat against Spain in the semi-finals after this performance against the Netherlands. The Azzurri today were sharp, focused and determined. It was a drastic improvement compared to the game on Thursday. The Italy coach, meanwhile, will be happy about the several positive signs he received today from his team ahead of the restart of their UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying campaign. There were many.
Ronald Koeman, Netherlands coach: "I blame myself entirely for not being able to communicate how important it was to take responsibility, to defend, and to follow your man, like we did in the second half. We let each other down. That was my biggest disappointment today. We shouldn't be playing the way we did in the first half. And, in my view, it's not about the system. It's just about carrying out your duties and doing what is asked of you. We've done it often enough in the past. But I don't recall ever playing 45 minutes in this way before."
Georginio Wijnaldum, Netherlands midfielder: "I was really disappointed in the way we played in the first half – compared to the game against Croatia, where we played a good first half. So we spoke about today as a big opportunity for us to learn and get better, but in the first half we didn't show that. I think this shows that we have to learn a lot more. There were good bits in the game against Croatia and also today, but if you want to win things, then you cannot play like we did in the first half."
Roberto Mancini, Italy coach: "When you win, it’s always good. It’s not important if you play well, or just so-so. We played very well in the first half, but in the second half our performance dropped as we were so tired. We suffered together when the Netherlands attacked, but then we had the chances to score more after the third. We couldn't score a fourth, but I think we did a good job."
Federico Dimarco, Italy defender: "It certainly wasn't an easy match but it was a good game, with many goals. This victory was important to end the season well. We went downhill a bit during the second half, but I think it's OK, considering the long season all of us have had. It's okay to feel tired in the last match. Aside from that, the result was important, and we got it."
- Italy's impressive recent record against the Netherlands goes on, and they are now unbeaten in their last eight matches against the Oranje, with their last defeat a 3-0 loss in Group C at EURO 2008.
- The Azzurri have now scored in all but one of their last 13 games in the competition, with their only blank coming in a 0-0 draw against England in June 2022.
- Italy goalkeeper Donnarumma has become the first player to make it to 20 appearances in the Nations League.
- This defeat, along with the 4-2 semi-final loss to Croatia, mean that this is the first time the Netherlands have lost two successive games in the Nations League.
- The Oranje have still only beaten Italy once on home soil: a 3-1 European Championship qualifier win in Rotterdam in November 1974.
- Their two goals today mean the Netherlands have now failed to score in just three of their 20 Nations League encounters.
Netherlands: Bijlow; Dumfries, Geertruida (Wijnaldum 46), Van Dijk, Aké; De Jong, Wieffer (Veerman 76), Simons (Koopmeiners 63); Malen (Bergwijn 46), Lang (Weghorst 46), Gakpo
Italy: Donnarumma; Tolói, Acerbi, Buongiorno, Dimarco (Spinazzola 74); Cristante, Frattesi, Verratti (Barella 85); Gnonto (Chiesa 63), Raspadori (Zaniolo 63), Retegui (Pellegrini 85)
What happens next?
The teams switch attentions back to qualifying for UEFA EURO 2024 in September, when the Netherlands face Greece and the Republic of Ireland, while Italy take on North Macedonia and Ukraine.
The next edition of the UEFA Nations League, featuring quarter-finals and promotion/relegation play-offs, begins in September 2024, with the finals the following June.