What a beautiful new Italy: 2-1 to Hungary and first place in the group

In Cesena the first blue success in this edition of the Nations League after the equalizer on the debut with Germany: goals from Barella and Pellegrini in the first half, then an own goal by Mancini adds some thrills in the last half hour

by our correspondent Fabio Licari

Something is moving. Argentina seems further away, the shock absorbed, luckily Messi there is only one, and Italy returns to the (well-deserved) success with Hungary that it had put under England but here it suffers the Azzurri for a long time. Too bad though: because on 2-0, goals from Barella and Pellegrini, both very beautiful, with Italy in full domination and one step away from the third goal, Gianluca Mancini slips Donnarumma and reopens the match, with the Hungarians who there they believe but in the end they are never really dangerous (2-1). Well the blues, who hadn’t won an official match for 8 months, in Nations with Belgium: always vertical, fast and very eager. Raspadori fake center-forward finishes well, Gnonto and Politano attack the flanks and Pellegrini takes over the team from the middle position: he is the best. Marco Rossi works miracles with a technically not excellent but solid Hungary, under the eyes of the sovereign premier Orban who arrived in Cesena for the match. Mancini seems to have found intuition and courage. In the final one more deb, Zerbin. With the tie between Germany and England we are even first in the group of Nations.


And there is no doubt that Germany gave the Azzurri a bit of courage. Net of the difference in values ​​with rivals, Italy is there. Head held high, defensive line no longer curled up on Donnarumma and control of the situation. You can see Mancini’s new Italy, less dribbling, much more vertical, but which does not renounce to the narrow triangulation and, above all, uses the high cross in the area only on set pieces: it would not make sense with three “mini” attackers like Gnonto, Raspadori and Politano, very fast but certainly not giants. It is understood that the three Hungarian central defenders will suffer low and fast exchanges.


Hungary does not have barricades like in the European Championships, but plays a careful game, with a very physical midfield of four in which Schafer tries to stop the feared Barella, and two attacking midfielders behind Adam Szalai. The position of the two attacking midfielders, in particular the former Palermo Sallai, creates some problems: Bastoni does not take the measures and it is the former of Palermo who commits Donnarumma. But Hungary is never dangerous. The Azzurri, on the other hand, gradually increase the pace and feel that the goal is coming.


Spinazzola-Barella and 1-0: it looks like the European Championship, instead it’s the Nations. At half an hour the turning point. On Cristante’s nice kick, more “Jorginho” than usual, Spinazzola does what the other left side aspirants can’t: he sinks, swerves, gets rid of the marker and puts him in the center. Velo di Raspadori, excellent center-forward-finisher, and Barella takes aim from the edge as in the good times. Bastoni (who does not reach the sideline) and Pellegrini, who, alone in front of the goalkeeper, leans on Gnonto anticipated by Nego, touched the goal. However, when the time runs out, Politano finally does the right thing by flying to the right, “joking” the rocky Attila Szalai and hitting in the area: the score ball for Pellegrini who does not miss the 2-0. Second personal center.


It seems that Italy can take off. In the second half Politano finds another winning descent and, from the edge, starts a fireball that puts a strain on the crossbar. And then Cristante, Raspadori, Gnonto’s dribbles. He expects a 3-0 but it’s the other way around: Rossi guesses the Schafer-Fiola substitution, with the latter placing himself on the right, giving depth and at the first cross he finds Mancini who slips into his goal. The 2-1 changes the game psychologically, Hungary believes in it, Sallai tries again, Mancini brings in Dimarco and Belotti for Spinazzola and Politano. It suffers a little, but it happened. Now England. With a rediscovered Italy.

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