Italy recover from defeat by La Roja to beat Belgium in the Nations League third-place play-off

Italy recovered from their Nations League semi-final defeat to La Roja by beating Belgium 2-1 in the third-place play-off. Nicolo Barella fired the Azzurri ahead in the 46th minute before Dominic Berardi doubled their advantage in the 65th from the spot. Charles De Ketelaere pulled one back for Belgium in the 85th, but it was to prove nothing more than a consolation in the end.

The result underlines just how strong Italy are and just how well Luis Enrique’s men did to defeat them in the style in which they did. Roberto Mancini has now become the Italian coach to reach the milestone of 30 wins in the fewest matches in history, just 44. They’ll be smarting that they couldn’t build on their victory at Euro 2020 with victory in the Nations League, but all eyes at Coverciano will undoubtedly now be trained on the World Cup.

Spain, meanwhile, take on world champions France this evening in the final at San Siro. La Roja beat Italy 2-1 in the semi-final while France came back from 2-0 down to beat Belgium 3-2. It’s set to be an intriguing battle between two coherent and capable teams, with the outcome anyone’s guess. It’s finely-poised.

Tags La Roja