“It’s a game we play for nothing. Being third in the League of Nations is no use. I don’t know why we are playing this game. These words of Thibaut Courtois when discussing the meeting against Italy announced the color on the motivation of the Belgian – and certainly his teammates – to play this match. And in this small final of the League of Nations, where the two teams were largely reshuffled, it was finally Italy who took the best of Belgium (2-1).
After a clear domination in the first half, thanks in particular to a very mobile Federico Chiesa on the attack front, Italy ended up surprising the Belgian defense after returning from the locker room. On a badly returned corner, Nicolo Barella placed a good recovery at the entrance to the area (46th). The break was made a few minutes later after the penalty of Domenico Berardi (65th). Thibaut Courtois, as against Kylian Mbappé this Thursday, started on the right side but could not get the ball out.
Belgium could have come back several times in the game but Gianluigi Donnarumma, captain of the day, was saved by his amounts (25th, 81st) when he did not win (69th, 77th). He ended up losing at the very end of the match after a clever shot from Charles De Ketelaere between his legs (1-2, 87th). With this victory, Italy takes third place in this League of Nations.
Following on from his very good Euro with Italy, Federico Chiesa was the handyman of Roberto Mancini’s system. Always fair with the ball, the 23-year-old striker excelled in his travels.
His ability to always rush into space makes him a formidable attacker. He could have opened the scoring in the first period if he had shown more lucidity in front of Courtois (40th). But once again, the Juventus player is in all the right places with Italy. And he had to because he was one of the certainties in this largely overhauled team.