Italy take third place in Nations League after beating Netherlands in play-off

Roberto Mancini's side win 3-2 against hosts to take bronze medal and pile pressure on Dutch manager Ronald Koeman

ENSCHEDE, NETHERLANDS - JUNE 18:  Federico Dimarco of Italy celebrates with team-mates after scoring the goal during the UEFA Nations League 2022/23 third-place match between Netherlands and Italy at FC Twente Stadium on June 18, 2023 in Enschede, Netherlands. (Photo by Claudio Villa / Getty Images)
Powered by automated translation

Italy beat the Netherlands 3-2 in the Nation's League third-place play-off on Sunday to take the bronze medal and pile more pressure on Dutch manager Ronald Koeman.

Early goals from Federico Dimarco and Davide Frattesi put Roberto Mancini's side 2-0 up before Steven Bergwijn gave the Dutch hope at the Twente Stadium.

Bu Federico Chiesa made it 3-1 for the Italians before Georgino Wijnaldum scored late on.

The defeat means that Koeman has lost three of the four games he has overseen since returning to the manager's hot seat.

He came back for his second spell at the helm after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but his side have suffered a 4-0 Euro 2024 qualifying defeat against France and a 4-2 extra-time loss against Croatia in the Nations League semi-final on Wednesday.

After the defeat to Italy, Koeman said: “I blame myself entirely for not being able to communicate how important it was to take responsibility, to defend, and to follow your man. Like we did in the second half. We let each other down. That was my biggest disappointment today.

“We shouldn’t be playing the way we did in the first half. And, in my view, it’s not about the system. It's just about carrying out your duties. And doing what is asked of you. We’ve done it often enough in the past. But I don't recall ever playing 45 minutes in this way before.”

Italy took the lead with just six minutes gone when Dimarco lashed the ball home at the far post after a back-heel from Giacomo Raspadori.

Frattesi doubled the lead in the 20th minute after a Wilfried Gnonto shot deflected into his path.

The Netherlands fought their way back into it in the second half after making three attacking changes at the interval.

The transformed Dutch side tested Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma several times. He made an impressive block to deny Cody Gakpo, who had missed a glaring first-half chance.

But Chiesa restored the two goal advantage with a cool finish across Dutch keeper Justin Bijlow in the 73rd minute. Wijnaldum got a second for the Dutch in the 89th but, even though nine minutes of stoppage time was added on, Italy held out under home pressure for victory.

Italy coach Mancini said: “When you win, it’s always good. It’s not important if you play well, or just so-so. We played very well in the first half, but in the second half our performance dropped as we were so tired.

“Yes, we suffered together when the Netherlands attacked, but then we had the chances to score more after the third. We couldn't score a fourth, but I think we did a good job.

“In the second half, we changed it up a bit and went with two wing forwards and a striker. We were stronger physically in the second half. In midfield, we held it up well, and the defence fought until the end.”

Spain beat Italy with a last-minute goal in their semi-final on Thursday to set up a meeting with Croatia in the final.

Updated: June 18, 2023, 5:36 PM