Marco Verratti impressed on his return to the starting XI as Italy beat Wales 1-0 in their final Group A clash of the UEFA Euro 2020 on Sunday.
Italy maintained their perfect run in the UEFA Euro 2020 as they beat a ten-man Wales side 1-0 in their final Group A encounter at Stadio Olimpico, courtesy of a first-half strike from Matteo Pessina.
Manager Roberto Mancini rang in the changes for the clash, with Italy having already qualified for the knockout stages. But that did not seem to affect their rhythm as the Azzurri dominated the first half, taking the lead close to half-time when Pessina turned home a free-kick from Marco Verratti.
Italy continued to be on top of Wales, whose task was even harder after Ethan Ampadu was sent off early in the second half for a late challenge on Federico Bernardeschi. Following the red card, things seemed to peter out, with neither team looking like scoring. Gareth Bale did have a late chance to level things up spurned the opportunity as Italy made it three wins in three in Group A.
As for Wales, the defeat did not prove costly as they were able to cruise through to the next round, having finished second in the group thanks to a better goal difference over third-placed Switzerland. Here are our player ratings for both Italy and Wales stars on Sunday night.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6/10
Hardly called into action over the course of the evening. As straightforward a game as he will see. Good with the ball at his feet. Made way for Salvatore Sirigu late in the game.
Rafael Toloi: 6.5/10
Given the chance ahead of Alessandro Florenzi and Giovanni Di Lorenzo, the Atalanta defender was solid on the right side, although he failed to offer much in the way of attacking outlet.
Leonardo Bonucci: 7/10
Played just the first 45 minutes on the evening and looked rock-solid, ensuring that Wales did not have the slightest of sniffs at the Italy goal. Assured on the ball as usual. The Azzurri looked vulnerable after he was subbed off.
Alessandro Bastoni: 7/10
An impressive outing from the young Inter Milan defender as he kept Gareth Bale in check for most of the game while also did not shy away from striding out from the back with the ball at his feet. Confident. Unlikely to start in the knockouts ahead of Giorgio Chiellini, however.
Emerson Palmieri: 6.5/10
Given the nod ahead of Leonardo Spinazzola, the Chelsea ace failed to make the most of his chance. Not asked many questions defensively, showed intent to get forward early on but the end product wasn’t always there. Influence reduced with time.
Matteo Pessina: 7.5/10
Impressive. Picked over Nicolo Barella, the Atalanta midfielder provided the energy and the drive in the midfield for Italy. Took his goal very well and came close to scoring another soon after. A positive outing.
Another start, another game wherein he controlled the tempo beautifully, helping Italy dominate the proceedings throughout. Used the ball intelligently, worked hard off the ball to stop any potential threats when necessary.
Marco Verratti: 8/10
Back from injury and back with a bang. Offered the forward thrust and creativity from the middle of the park, constantly causing problems to the Wales defence. Won the free-kick, then delivered a sumptuous pass for Pessina to score. Took over the captain’s armband after Bonucci’s substitution and led the team well. So much quality.
136 touches (most)
100% take-ons completed
94% passing accuracy
5 chances created (most)
4 tackles (most)
3 crosses completed (most)
2 aerials won
2 fouls won
1 assist (most)
He did EVERYTHING. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/fIGRREnu99
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 20, 2021
It will now be interesting to see if Mancini opts to go with him or the impressive Manuel Locatelli for the knockout fixtures.
Federico Chiesa: 7//10
Lively at the top, with his pace and movement constantly exposing the Wales backline. May not have scored a goal but still a bright display. Looked in good touch, meaning Mancini can rely on him in the upcoming rounds if need be.
Andrea Belotti: 7/10
Stepping into the side in place of Ciro Immobile, the Torino captain offered excellent hold-up play at the top and linked up well with those around him. Had a couple of decent chances when he worked the Welsh goalkeeper.
Federico Bernardeschi: 7/10
Like his Juventus teammate on the opposite flank, Bernardeschi was also a lively customer and kept the Welsh defence under pressure. Unlucky not to score in the second half when his low free-kick hit the base of the post.
Francesco Acerbi: 6/10
On for Bonucci at half-time. Not as solid as the man he replaced. Wales had one or two openings with him on the field.
Bryan Cristante: N/A
On for Jorginho in the 75th minute. Caught ball-watching for Bale’s late chance.
Giacomo Raspadori: N/A
Replaced Bernardeschi for the last 15 minutes. Couldn’t make much of an impact.
Gaetano Castrovilli: N/A
Late substitute for Pessina.
Salvatore Sirigu: N/A
Late substitute for Donnarumma.
Danny Ward: 7/10
Not a lot he could have done to stop the goal. But did make a few important saves to keep the scoreline at 1-0. Justifying his selection ahead of Wayne Hennessey.
Joe Rodon: 7/10
Another player who was key in keeping the scoreline down to 1-0, the Tottenham Hotspur defender made quite a few important interventions and blocks to keep Italy at bay. Also helped create a chance at the other end.
— Lilywhite Rose (@Lilywhite_Rose) June 20, 2021
Ethan Ampadu: 5/10
Had made a good start and had looked solid in the face of the pressure from the Italians. A rash, late challenge on Bernardeschi meant he headed for an early shower in the second half.
Chris Gunter: 6/10
Not an easy outing for the defender as the movement of Chiesa caused him problems. But did well, especially after Wales went down to ten men, to keep the scoreline as it was.
Connor Roberts: 6/10
Kept pinned back on his side by Italy, which meant he wasn’t able to get forward much. But held things tight defensively even though there were times Italy doubled up on his side. Not the best game, but showed fight.
Joe Morrell: 4/10
Not good enough. Couldn’t cope with the class and quality of the Italian midfield. Time and again gave the ball away putting his team under pressure and needed to do better to try and put off Pessina for the goal.
Joe Allen: 5/10
Like his partner in the middle of the park, struggled to impose himself against the quality of the Italian midfield for most of the evening.
Neco Williams: 5/10
Had his hands full with the threat of Chiesa, which meant he hardly made any roving runs forward. Not always convincing defensively either. A tough day in the office for the Liverpool youngster.
Gareth Bale: 5/10
Taken out of the equation for most parts as Italy kept a tight watch on him, which also meant Wales were often toothless going forward. Should have equalised late in the game but fired a great chance over.
— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) June 20, 2021
Aaron Ramsey: 5/10
Slotted in as a false-nine, a role he clearly isn’t suited to. Wasn’t always able to hold the ball up at the top, while his touch also was poor at times. Did make a few decent runs though.
Daniel James: 5/10
Had looked bright in the last two games but that was not the case on Sunday as Italy did well to contain his threat. Never got any space to make his bursting runs into. Even when he did get into dangerous positions, Italy doubled up on him.
Kieffer Moore: 6/10
Replaced Morrell in the 59th minute. Wales looked like a much more potent team with him on the field. Offered a focal point in attack, used his strength and physicality to cause problems to the defence.
Harry Wilson: 5/10
On for James in the 73rd minute. Tried hard but couldn’t make an impact.
David Brooks: N/A
Came on for Bale in the 85th minute.
Ben Davies: N/A
Sent on for Williams for the last five minutes.
Dylan Levitt: N/A
Late sub for Allen.