First-half goals from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Pellegrini earned Italy a 2-1 win over Hungary in the Nations League on Tuesday (June 7). Coach Roberto Mancini again named an experimental Italy side, but that mattered little as the hosts dominated from the off in Cesena, deservedly taking the lead on the half-hour mark through Inter Milan midfielder Barella.
AS Roma skipper Pellegrini followed up his goal in Saturday’s Nations League opener against Germany with another strike just before halftime to put Italy into a commanding position. An own goal from Gianluca Mancini gave Hungary hope of building on their surprise win over England at the weekend with a credible point in Cesena, but Italy held on to move onto four points from their two opening League A, Group Three games.
Watch Nicolo Barella score against Hungary here…
— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2024) June 7, 2022
With Germany drawing 1-1 with England in Munich on Tuesday, Italy sit top of the group, having won just their fourth match from 12 since securing European Championship glory last July. “It was a good match in the first half, but their goal put us in a bit of a tough place,” Mancini told Rai Sport. “We should have won by a much a higher margin. We were also a bit tired, it`s normal. To concede a goal in a match that should have already been finished off is difficult. We are young side, who will have to work hard. Our start has been good.”
Stefan de Vrij to lead Netherlands as Virgil van Dijk goes on holiday
Centre back Stefan de Vrij will take over from Virgil van Dijk as Netherlands captain for Wednesday’s Nations League game against Wales with coach Louis van Gaal suggesting he would ring the changes for the clash in Cardiff. Van Dijk has been allowed to go off on holiday early and miss the rest of this month’s Nations League games for the Dutch after leading them to a 4-1 away win over neighbours Belgium in Brussels last week.
“What Van Dijk can do, De Vrij can do too,” said Van Gaal of the 30-year-old Inter Milan defender, who has not played an international since last November. “He has evolved his game well and I have a lot of faith in him.”
Van Gaal told a news conference on Tuesday there would be changes in the lineup for their second game in League A, Group Four.
(with Reuters inputs)