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Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-2 Italy: Azzurri seal finals spot

Two fine volleys from Andrea Belotti and Domenico Berardi in Sarajevo secured Italy's UEFA Nations League finals place.

Match in brief

Torino forward Belotti spurned two early opportunities but made no mistake after 22 minutes, at full stretch to power Lorenzo Insigne's pinpoint cross into the far corner.

The hosts' best chance fell to Smail Prevljak 15 minutes later, but he could only fire an effort against the legs of Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The lively Insigne almost doubled the lead just before the break, but his curling effort brushed the outside of the post.

Berardi's excellent finish midway through the second half, after good work from Sassuolo club-mate Manuel Locatelli, capped a fine evening for the Azzurri, who clinched their place at October's finals.

There was nearly time for a third but it was not to be, as Federico Bernardeschi's late effort cannoned off the crossbar.

Fedja Krvavac, Bosnia and Herzegovina reporter

Bosnia and Herzegovina played two completely different halves, the first when Miralem Pjanić and Gojko Cimirot created a lot of problems from midfield. However, Dušan Bajevic's side spurned the few chances they did muster towards the end of the first period. After the interval, the hosts faded and found their attacking outlets neutralised.

Paolo Menicucci, Italy reporter

Italy complete their task with another convincing win and book their place in the UEFA Nations League final four in style. The Azzurri risked little at the back and created several opportunities to score, playing fluid attacking football as they have done for a long period now under Roberto Mancini. Insigne was particularly inspired but what impresses most is how well-oiled the playing system is, no matter who is on the field.

Reaction

Dušan Bajevic, Bosnia-Herz. coach: "We tried, we failed. You don't need to blame anyone but me. I'm proud to have been the head coach of the national team, and want to thank the players for their attitude and behaviour."

Amer Gojak, Bosnia-Herz. midfielder: "It's a difficult game for us, it's a difficult period and everyone needs to analyse themselves and learn some lessons. We certainly need to do much better in the next qualifiers, a lot of young players have played and these games will mean everything to us. Let's move on and keep our heads up."

Lorenzo Insigne, Italy forward: "We knew it was a difficult game because we had to deal with several problems. However, we were very determined and showed great personality in imposing our game, as we always try to do. We always wear the national team shirt with pride and respect."

Alberico Evani, Italy assistant coach: "I think the lads have given a great gift to Mancini. He is surely very happy now. Belgium, France, Spain: we look forward to facing the best teams in Europe in the finals, to seeing what level we have reached. We believe we are getting close to them. Let's see if it's true."

Key stats

  • The Bosnians have lost their last three UEFA Nations League matches, conceding eight goals in the process.
  • Italy extended their unbeaten run to 22 matches in all competitions with this victory.
  • The Azzurri are enjoying their best spell without defeat since 2004–06 under Marcello Lippi.
  • Belotti became the 35th player to reach ten goals for the Italian national side.
  • Berardi scored his third Italy goal of the calendar year – more than any other player.

Line-ups

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Pirić; Čorluka, Hadzikadunic, Saničanin, Kadušić (Todorović 79); Cimirot, Pjanić (Danilović 76), Gojak; Tatar (Rahmanović 79), Prevljak (Hadžić 79), Krunić (Lončar 71)

Italy: Donnarumma; Florenzi (Di Lorenzo 46), Acerbi, Bastoni, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Locatelli; Berardi (Bernardeschi 82), Belotti (Lasagna 82), Insigne (Calabria 90)

What's next?

The UEFA Nations League final tournament takes place from 6-10 October 2021. Teams will return to competitive action in the spring in the European Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Source: UEFA

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