Italy, Retegui not enough: 1-2 with England in Naples

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A result and a half to forget, but also good signs in the recovery.

Italy defeated in Naples in the first Euro 2024 qualifying match, with England avenging the Wembley final and winning 2-1. Guests in double advantage thanks to Rice and Kane’s penalty in the first half, then came the goal of the expected Retegui and a siege that did not prove to be enough, however.

As expected, coach Roberto Mancini launched Retegui from the first minute at the center of the attack, with Berardi and Pellegrini on either side of him. However, the brand-new trident does not help the Azzurri at the start of the match, so much so that it is England that makes the stands at the Maradona Stadium gasp. Saka immediately committed Donnarumma with a diagonal shot, then it was Bellingham who forced the Italy goalkeeper into a miracle. The goal is in the air, and it comes in the 13th minute: Rice scores it in a scrum, after a corner on which Kane had ventured but failed to hit the net. Despite the disadvantage, however, Italy struggled to react. The biggest chance happened to Phillips, on the other side the only ringing was an unexploited counterattack by Spinazzola and Retegui. Then, late in the half, the Var sees the arm touch in the box by Di Lorenzo, ahead of Saka. It is a penalty, which Kane converted in the 44th minute.

Down by two goals at halftime, the game seemed over. Instead, in the second half a completely different Italy takes the field, strong-willed and dangerous. The first blast came from Pellegrini, whose shot was just wide of the mark. It was precisely the Roma captain, however, who found the right corridor that allowed Retegui to present himself alone in front of Pickford in the 56th minute, scoring in his debut match in the Azzurri shirt. The goal rekindled the team’s and the stadium’s hopes, so much so that Verratti, Spinazzola, Retegui himself and subs Tonali, Gnonto and Politano also persistently sought an equalizer, which, however, would never come. In fact, despite the red card given to Shaw in the 80th minute, the result never changes.

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