AMSTERDAM – Italy beat the Netherlands 2-1 Tuesday, bouncing back from behind with first-half goals from Eder and Leonardo Bonucci in a friendly at the Amsterdam Arena.
The hosts went ahead after an Alessio Romagnoli own goal, but saw the Azzurri level with a taut diagonal drive from Italian-Brazilian Eder and a tap-in from defender Leonardo Bonucci.
Martins Indi came close for the Oranje nodding against the bar before Bonucci’s winner as the Dutch squad displayed few signs of improvement after compromising their qualification to the 2018 World Cup finals with a 2-0 crash at Bulgaria.
Italy brought on newcomers Leonardo Spinazzola and Danilo D’Ambrosio in defence while forwards Andrea Petagna and Simone Verdi also debuted as coach Gian Piero Ventura looks to rejuvenate the Azzurri, who are second on goal difference to Spain in their qualification group.
A cross from Jeremain Lens on 10 minutes met the crucial deflection of Romagnoli past Gianluigi Donnarumma for a lead that Eder levelled one minute later with a clinical drive in the low left corner.
Defender Bonucci slammed home a short clearance by goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet after a Marco Parolo header to seal the Azzurri win in the 31st minute.
The Oranje produced a fast start into the second half, but had their best chances when veteran Wesley Sneijder came on late in the game to be denied by the 18-year-old Gianluigi Donnaruma, who filled in for living legend Gianluigi Buffon.
Spinazzola almost scored on his debut when he stormed on the right to see Zoet parry his shot nine minutes from time.
“This win matters for the ranking (of world body FIFA), but what really matters is the image that we are trying create and the mentality we are trying to build,” Ventura said.
“It was important to show our team spirit and the ability to suffer when it was needed. If we go to Russia we will do it without using words but by our hard work.” -dpa