• Portugal goalkeeper José Sá stands firm to deny Italy
• Luigi Di Biagio's five changes lead to much-improved Italy display
• Portugal create three late chances in most promising spell
• No teams through after two Group B games, but Portugal top section
• Next matches: England v Italy, Portugal v Sweden (Wednesday)
Italy and Portugal played out an entertaining goalless draw in Uherske Hradiste which keeps both in contention ahead of the final round of Group B games on Wednesday.
Five Italy changes followed the capitulation against Sweden – Luigi Di Biagio dropping captain Matteo Bianchetti and deploying a new three-man midfield – and the Azzurrini, unsurprisingly, looked a different team. Whereas it took over 20 minutes to muster a meaningful effort in their opener, Portugal goalkeeper José Sá had to palm over Marco Benassi's fizzing shot inside 15 seconds here. Intent signalled.
As against Sweden, Domenico Berardi was Italy's inspiration and the opposition's tormentor-in-chief, outshining much-feted opposite number Bernardo Silva during a first half in which he twice created openings for Andrea Belotti with delicious outside-of-the-boot passes. The first, after six minutes, brought a fine low save from the feet of José Sá. A second intervention by the Portugal No1, close to the midway point in the half, left Belotti kicking the post in frustration.
Having looked more than a little nervous as a back-header from Raphael Guerreiro went over his head and just wide, José Sá was assured again as he then turned a drilled low shot from Benassi wide. Portugal's first chance was 36 minutes in the making, Sérgio Oliveira cutting the ball back for João Mário, who lost his head and then held it in his hands after shooting wide.
Belotti had another brush with the woodwork just after the restart, this time diving in bravely ahead of José Sá to flick Cristiano Biraghi's left-wing cross against the bar.
From then on the tale was much the same, with both teams probing patiently without creating a decisive opening before a late flurry in the final few minutes: first Bernardi shot high and wide after being slipped in, then Carlos Mané, Gonçalo Paciência and Iuri Medeiros all failed to take advantage of Portugal's most promising spell as Italy tired. Nevertheless, the best chance fell to Italy left-back Biraghi in added time, only for his control to let him down when clean through. It was one of those nights.