International friendlies - Conte gets Italy tenure off to winning start against Holland

International friendly, San Nicola Stadium - Italy 2 (Immobile 3, De Rossi pen. 10) Netherlands 0

International friendlies - Conte gets Italy tenure off to winning start against Holland

View photo

taly's midfielder Daniele De Rossi (L) celebrates after scoring a penalty kick the friendly football match Italy vs Holland (AFP)

Daniele De Rossi captained Italy to a 2-0 victory over 10-man Holland in an international friendly at the San Nicola Stadium in Bari.

The Roma midfielder bossed the game from start to finish as Antonio Conte got his Azzurri tenure off to a confident and winning start.

Guus Hiddink’s second reign as Oranje boss started badly as his side went 1-0 down early before Bruno Martins Indi got himself sent off and Italy scored their second from the spot within the first 10 minutes.

Conte’s quicker and stronger side, missing some key names like Mario Balotelli, Giorgio Chiellini and Gianluigi Buffon, looked assured throughout the 90 minutes and will be confident of getting their European Championship qualification campaign off to a good start.

The Dutch, less so, having been demoralised by a well drilled Italy – however against weaker opposition in the qualifiers, and with 11-men on the pitch, they will be confident of turning this result around in the qualification opener on Tuesday against the Czech Republic.

View photo


Italy's coach Antonio Conte (C) congratulates his players after the friendly football match Italy vs Netherlands …


3’ – GOAL! – De Rossi lofts a ball over the top of the Dutch defence to Immobile who latches on to it, rounds the keeper and slots home with his left foot.

10’ – PENALTY/RED CARD/ GOAL! – De Rossi with another delightful through ball to Zaza who gets in behind Martins Indi who trips him as he enters the penalty area. De Rossi steps up while the Dutch defender sees red, and slots it into the bottom corner.

20’ – CHANCE! – Immobile breaks down the left wing and slides in Zaza who is one-on-one but Cillessen sticks out a big right paw and pushes the goal-bound shot over the bar.

31’ – CHANCE! – Almost a third for Italy as Zaza chests a cross into the path of Immobile but his first-time volley is caught almost too well and flies over from close range.

49 ' - CHANCE! - Van Persie almost gets Holland back into it with a volley but he drags the surprise chance wide of the post after Blind set him into the penalty area from a header.

80' - CHANCE! - Destro almost puts the game to bed with a header but he gets underneath it as Cillessen is caught in no mans land from a Pasqual cross but the ball goes over the cross bar.


Can Holland turn around tonight’s torrid performance for the Euro qualifiers? Holland started sluggishly and never looked like turning it around. Even with 11-men they looked devoid of pace in both defence and attack and will struggle against more athletic sides to cope. The Dutch have always been good technicians and it looks like they’ll be relying heavily on that to get them to Paris in 2016 – either that or bring in the less experienced but seriously fast Memphis Depay and Luciano Narsingh on the wings.


Wesley Sneijder became the fourth most capped Dutch player tonight alongside Giovanni van Bronckhorst on 106 caps. He is just six behind top capped player Frank De Boer on 112.

Italy have won for the first time against Holland since 2008 having lost once and drawn twice in the two nations’ last three fixtures.

Only one of the last 11 coaches of the Netherlands have won their opening match.


Daniele De Rossi – Superb from start to finish. He dictated all of Italy’s attacks with his range of passing and defended stoutly. Never stopped talking or working hard for his teammates. A true captain’s performance to catch Antonio Conte’s eye.


Italy – Sirigu 7, Ranocchia 7, Bonucci 7, Astori 7, Darmian 7, Marchisio 8, De Rossi 9, Giaccherini 7, De Sciglio 8, Immobile 8, Zaza 8

Subs - Verratti 7, Parolo 6, Pasqual 7, Giovinco 6, Candreva 6, Destro 6.

Netherlands - Cillessen 7, Janmaat 7, De Vrij 6, Martins Indi 3, Blind 7, Wijnaldum 7, De Jong 7, Sneijder 5, Kuyt 5, Van Persie 5, Lens 5.

Subs - Pieters 6, Veltman 7, Van Der Wiel 6, Narsingh 6, Fer 6.

View comments (10)