The Antonio Conte era has kicked off on a positive note with Gli Azzurri prevailing over the Netherlands by a score of 2-0. Italy kicked off the match on the front foot pressing Guus Hiddink’s side early and forcing them to make errors.
Salvatore Sirigu (6.0): The Italian custodian did not have much to do all game other than claiming a cross from a corner and saving an effort from range from Wesley Sneijder. The Paris Saint-Germain keeper, for most of the game, remained idle in net as his side were on the front foot right from the get-go.
Andrea Ranocchia (6.0): A good all round performance for the Inter man who was composed once on the ball. However, Ranocchia almost gifted Netherlands a life line with a poor clearance with his head that Van Persie got on the end of and fired just wide. Other than that nervy moment, Ranocchia proved a solid option in defense for Conte.
Leonardo Bonucci (7.0): Bonucci’s experience in the 3-5-2 was on display today. The Juventus defender dictated play from deep and often found teammates with accurate long balls. The defender even tried his luck from range but saw his effort saved. Defensively, Bonucci did not put a foot wrong and kept Netherland’s star striker Robin Van Persie quiet for most of the game.
Davide Astori (6.5): Playing on the left side of a back three for the first time in his career, Astori did not look fazed by the occasion. The Roma defender broke up a few dangerous plays at the back and looked composed in his new position. Throughout the game, Astori proved a tough opponent for the Netherlands strikers who struggled to get by the defender.
Matteo Darmian (6.0): Darmian put in a subdued performance on the right hand side of the midfield. Throughout the game Darmian was solid defensively and conservative going forward. The highlight of his game is when he left Daley Blind for dead on the right side and sent in a dangerous cross into the box. He was later replaced by Antonio Candreva.
Claudio Marchisio (6.5): The Juventus man put in a worthy shift for the Azzurri tonight pressing the opposition relentlessly. Marchisio’s pressing and defensive worked forced Netherlands into turning over plenty of balls in dangerous areas. At times, though, he lacked the final touch in the attacking third. He was replaced in the second half by Marco Verratti.
Daniele De Rossi (7.5): Captaining the side in Buffon’s absence, De Rossi performed admirably. The Roma man was in control of the game from the beginning and spread the ball around nicely. The midfield hard man also put in countless crunching tackles breaking up many dangerous Netherlands attacks. If it wasn’t for the top drawer displays of his strikers, he’d be the man of the match. De Rossi was replaced in the second half by Marco Parolo.
Emanuele Giaccherini (6.0): Full of running and enterprise, the Sunderland midfielder played a key part in setting the tempo of the game alongside his fellow midfielders. Like Marchisio, at times, his final touch let him down in the attacking third and struggled to make an impact offensively. Overall, a very solid performance that Conte will be content with.
Mattia De Sciglio (6.5): The young full back played a very good game and got forward well. Often times, it was De Sciglio who broke up the Netherlands play and set counter attacks in motion. Netherlands right back, Daryl Janmaat struggled to deal with his pace at the back and found himself chasing De Sciglio. The Milan man was replaced half way through the second half by Manuel Pasqual.
Simone Zaza (8.0): Zaza made his Azzurri debut today but looked like a seasoned veteran. The striker was unplayable for the Netherlands defense at times and created many chances. His movements up front in what is a relatively new system for him, demonstrated his predatory instinct. Unlucky not find the back of the net today, Zaza put in an immense perfomance and will look to build on it. Mattia Destro replaced him towards the tail end of the game.
Ciro Immobile (7.5): The Borussia Dortmund striker capped off a very good performance with an early goal in the first half. It appeared that him and Zaza were on the same wave length and terrorized the Netherlands defense. On top of his attacking prowess, Immobile did not give Hiddink’s side a moments rest continually pressing the ball carrier. Was later replaced by Sebastian Giovinco.
Antonio Conte (8.5): The former Juventus tactician coached his side to a convincing victory over Netherlands. What was most impressive was his side’s level of intensity in a friendly game. Conte’s Azzurri pressed the Oranje high up the field for the most part of the game in an impressive fashion. Overall, a good result to build on for the Italy coach.
Antonio Candreva (n/a): The Lazio man came on with 15 minutes to play in the second half and did not have an impact on the game. The few times he got on the ball he tried taking on his man with no success.
Marco Verratti (6.0): Following Daniele De Rossi’s substitution, Verratti was handed the reigns of the side and was told to dictate play. The Paris Saint Germain man did well to see the game out and attempted a few Pirlo-esque balls.
Marco Parolo (5.0): The former Parma man struggled to pick up from where Daniele De Rossi left off. At times the Lazio midfielder looked confused on the pitch much to the discontent of his manager. He must improve if he is to start against Norway later in the week.
Manuel Pasqual (5.5): Pasqual entered the fray midway through the second half and played in a conservative fashion. The Fiorentina man almost got an assist from a cross that found Mattia Destro. The left full back was on the receiving end of some harsh words from his manager during the game as he was playing too deep and wasn’t having an influence on the game.
Mattia Destro (6.0): The Roma striker came on with 15 minutes to play and showed some encouraging movement. He almost got his name on the score sheet after latching on to a Pasqual cross. Overall, a decent end of the game display for Destro.
Sebastian Giovinco (5.5): La Formica Atomica struggled to have an impact on the game after coming on for Ciro Immobile. At times, he found himself in dangerous areas but was ultimately let down by his final touch.