Jorginho and Nicolo Barella were impressive as Italy beat Poland 2-0 to take control of Group A1 in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday.
Italy thoroughly controlled the proceedings from start to finish, with Poland unable to muster up a shot on target. The Azzurri, on the other hand, put their visitors to the sword time and again, grabbing the lead midway through the first half courtesy a penalty by Jorginho, after Grzegorz Krychowiak had brought Andrea Belotti down in the box.
The hosts continued to assert their dominance thereafter before finally rounding off a well-deserved win late on through a fine finish by Domenico Berardi. The result enabled Italy to leapfrog Poland in the Group A1 standings and a win on the final matchday will help them seal their place in the UEFA Nations League Finals. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Roberto Mancini’s men.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6/10
A pretty straightforward outing for Donnarumma, who was not tested at all by Poland. In fact, the Italy no. 1 only had to focus on playing accurate passes and had no glove-work to do whatsoever. Will gladly accept the clean sheet.
Alessandro Florenzi: 6/10
A solid effort by Florenzi, who was donning the armband for Italy against Poland. Did well to keep a check on Kamil Jozwiak, never really letting the Polish winger past him. Made little impact going forward, but expertly defended his flank.
Francesco Acerbi: 7/10
With Leonardo Bonucci rested, Acerbi had to be the leader at the back, a role he essayed superbly. The 32-year-old organised the defensive line smartly, never really letting Robert Lewandowski impose himself. Won 9 duels apart from the 2 clearances, 2 interceptions and 2 tackles that he made. Could have been a little better when building up play from the back.
Alessandro Bastoni: 6/10
Making only his second appearance for Italy, Bastoni enjoyed one of the easiest outings of his young career so far. Hardly called into action defensively, Bastoni was extremely precise with the ball at his feet. Lost possession just 4 times, helping Italy assert their dominance on the game.
Emerson Palmieri: 7/10
With his Chelsea future continuing to be uncertain, this was Emerson’s opportunity to make a point and attract suitors. The 26-year-old did just that and in what was an all-action display, he had some impressive defensive numbers – 10 duels won, 3 tackles, 2 clearances and 1 interception. A constant outlet down the left flank, Emerson even created a fine chance. Point well made.
Nicolo Barella: 8/10
The Jorginho-Barella tandem was reunited and it was no wonder that Italy dominated the game so well. The youngster carried the ball efficiently, playing 4 key passes and completing each of his three attempted long balls. Took just one shot, which he dragged wide.
The orchestrator for Italy was in his elements, pulling the strings effortlessly while keeping things tight in the middle of the park. Misplaced just 4 passes while playing in a key pass as well and winning 7 duels. Most importantly, he scored the goal that made all the difference in the end, making no mistake in converting from the spot.
Jorginho's game by numbers vs. Poland:
101 touches (most)
95% pass accuracy
4 tackles (joint-most)
2 take-ons completed
1 chance created
1 shot on target
Controlling the midfield. pic.twitter.com/OJEyMJr1S8
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 15, 2020
Manuel Locatelli: 7/10
On his fifth appearance for Italy, Locatelli produced an impressive performance in the middle of the park. The 22-year-old saw a lot of the ball and made good use of it to create a couple of openings. Solid off the ball as well. A big step in the right direction in international football.
Federico Bernardeschi: 7/10
Another start, another game where Bernardeschi impressed in national colours. The Juventus man was purposeful in his display against Poland, constantly looking to make the difference, but had 3 of his shots blocked. Stitched together a couple of key passes as well. Makes you wonder what goes wrong at club level for him.
Andrea Belotti: 7/10
A bit of a frustrating outing for Belotti, who had a couple of shots blocked and sent two shots wide. Also played in a key pass in what was a solid showing. More crucially, Belotti won the penalty that was converted by Jorginho to effectively win Italy the game.
Lorenzo Insigne: 7/10
Back into the starting lineup, Insigne was at his nippy best on the left flank, where he combined well with Emerson. Set up 3 chances in the game and grabbed the assist for Domenico Berardi’s late goal. Won 3 duels as well, in what was a top-class effort.
Domenico Berardi: 7/10
— Team Azzurri ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@TeamAzzurri) November 15, 2020
On for Bernardeschi, Berardi helped continue Italy’s imposing stance on the right flank. Sent a couple of shots off target before finding the back of the net late on to round off the win for Italy with a fine finish.
Stefano Okaka: N/A
Sent on with 12 minutes left in regulation time, Okaka was hardly involved, as Italy completed the win over Poland.
Stephan El Shaarawy: N/A
Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo: N/A
A late introduction, Di Lorenzo helped see the game out.