Italy earned a seventh straight win on their travels as Nicolò Barella’s first-half header gave them a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands, in their League A, Group 1 tie in the UEFA Nations League clash on Monday in Amsterdam.
The visitors’ high press paid dividends as they dominated possession in an impressive first-half showing.
Nicolò Zaniolo, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne all went close before Barella made a clever run to head in a Leonardo Spinazzola cross in the culmination of a beautiful team move on the stroke of half-time.
Italy remained comfortable after the break, although Donny van de Beek’s shot tested Gianluigi Donnarumma before Immobile and Moise Kean shot wide.
The Azzurri looked more dangerous, repeatedly finding space in and around the penalty area and Kean should have doubled their lead in stoppage time but blazed over after rounding Jasper Cillessen.
The win stretched Italy’s unbeaten run to 16 matches and means they have still never lost in Amsterdam (W3 D4).
Also, the Netherlands have won one of their last 15 games against Italy (D5 L9).
In the group’s other game, Poland bounced back from their defeat to the Netherlands as they beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1 away.
Italy move up to the top of the group on four points while the Netherlands drop to second on three points.
In third place is Poland on three points and Bosnia and Herzegovina are bottom with one point.
Other results saw Scotland shock Czech Republic 2-1 away, Norway hammer Norrhen Ireland 5-1 away, Austria lost to visiting Romania 3-2 and Israel drew 1-1 at home to Slovakia.
Also, Belarus edged home side Kazakhstan 2-1 and Lithuania pipped Albania 1-0.
UEFA Nations League results:
(League A, Group 1)
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-2 Poland
Netherlands 0-1 Italy
(League B, Group 1)
Austria 2-3 Romania
Northern Ireland 1-5 Norway
(League B, Group 2)
Czech Republic 1-2 Scotland
Israel 1-1 Slovakia
(League C, Group 4)
Kazakhstan 1-2 Belarus
Albania 0-1 Lithuania
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