Substitute Matteo Politano scored in injury time as Roberto Mancini’s Italy beat a young United States team in a lively affair in Genk on Tuesday.
The USA rarely ventured forward with purpose but Salvatore Sirigu was forced into a fabulous stop by
Italy struck late in injury time when Politano charge into the box and finished low beyond the heroic
Check out our breakdown of the game below.
Key Talking Point
Italy’s national team is going through transition and a number of fringe players were given the opportunity to impress in Belgium.
With Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi all left out of the latest squad, players like Lasagna, Vincenzo Grifo and Federico Chiesa were gifted the chance to establish themselves at international level.
While the Italians created most of the opportunities on the night, only substitute Politano had the composure to strike beyond
Starting XI: Sirigu (7); De Sciglio (6), Bonucci (7), Acerbi (6), Emerson (6); Verratti (8*), Barella (6), Sensi (6); Berardi (6), Lasagna (4), Chiesa (6).
Substitutes: Grifo (6), Kean (5), Gagliardini (5), Politano (N/A).
STAR MAN – Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti had a relatively easy night, with no USA midfielder anywhere near his level, and the 26-year-old dominated the central areas, allowing his team to push forward.
He did miss a decent chance however, heading over when promisingly placed just outside the six yard box.
WORST PLAYER – Lasagna will be working on his finishing over the next week or so, having blasted plenty of decent opportunities high and wide when well placed.
The Udinese striker, who made his international debut against Poland in October, was visibly frustrated after one particular howler, having blazed well wide from inside the penalty area.
Key Talking Point
After failing to qualify for this year’s World Cup, the USA have had a pretty rubbish autumn, winning just one of their five games prior to the Italy match.
However, there is cause for optimism after their young team defended valiantly against the Azzurri, with Horvath in particular impressing.
Starting XI: Horvath (9*); Long (6), Carter-Vickers (6), Zimmerman (6); Acosta (6), Delgado (7), Cannon (7), Moore (6), Adams (6); Pulisic (4), Sargent (6).
Substitutes: Trapp (6), Wood (5), Villafana (5), Lletget (N/A), Gall (N/A).
STAR MAN – Undeniably the best player on the pitch, Club Brugge goalkeeper Ethan Horvath made a number of important stops to keep Italy’s front line at bay.
The outstanding effort was a point blank stop from Kevin Lasagna. It was straight at him, but Horvath closed down the angle and saved instinctively.
WORST PLAYER – He may be the poster boy of American football, but Christian Pulisic was pretty anonymous throughout the affair.
Given the captain’a armband on the night, the Borussia Dortmund playmaker was tasked with making things happen for Dave Sarachan’s side but failed to trouble Juventus centre back Leonardo Bonucci and his partner
Italy finished second in their Nations League group and will not be taking part in the finals in Portugal next summer, while their other fixtures for 2019 are yet to be confirmed.
USA have a friendly in February against Costa Rica in San Jose to look forward to next before another non competitive fixture against Japan in June, the same month their Gold Cup campaign begins.