Eder and Leonardo Bonucci completed the quick comeback to conquer the Netherlands 2-1 in a friendly, while five players made debuts.
Giampiero Ventura made changes after the 2-0 win over Albania, shelving the 4-2-4 for a 3-5-2, but with Marco Verratti in a surprisingly advanced role, almost as a trequartista. Gianluigi Donnarumma became the youngest ever goalkeeper to start for Italy, aged 18 years and 31 days. The Netherlands promoted assistant manager Fred Grim 48 hours after sacking Danny Blind, as the 2-0 defeat in Bulgaria left them very unlikely to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The Azzurri had plenty of early possession, but were unlucky when Quincy Promes burst into the box and his cross took a double deflection, ricocheting off Alessio Romagnoli’s shin to wrongfoot Milan teammate Donnarumma.
Italy fought back immediately, as within 67 seconds Lazio defender Wesley Hoedt had knocked down a long ball to the edge of the box, where Eder pounced for a ferocious low strike into the far bottom corner.
The hosts risked an own goal too, as Bruno Martins Indi fired a clearance on to Kevin Strootman’s shin and just about scrambled it wide.
Martins Indi was dangerous at the other end, his towering header thumping the crossbar on a corner, but Italy turned the game around completely.
Davide Zappacosta’s shot on the counter was deflected just wide and from that corner Jeroen Zoet performed a great save on Marco Parolo’s header, but could do nothing on the Leonardo Bonucci follow-up.
Daniele De Rossi got an accidental knee in the back and hobbled off in great pain, giving Inter midfielder Roberto Gagliardini his senior Italy debut.
The Netherlands had a very aggressive start to the second half, Memphis Depay’s assist for Davey Klaassen deflected wide from close range and Donnarumma’s one-handed save on Promes at the near post after a misplaced Bonucci pass.
Eder scuffed his finish for Zoet to smother and Atalanta’s Leonardo Spinazzola and Andrea Petagna made their senior Italy debuts. Andrea Belotti controlled a Marco Parolo chipped pass and spun round for his shot charged down, then the Torino hitman stung Zoet’s gloves at the near post.
Spinazzola almost scored on his debut, forcing a tough low save out of Zoet with his angled drive. Donnarumma got down well for a one-handed save to turn substitute Wesley Sneijder’s screamer round the base of the near post, as it bounced right in front of him.
The teenage goalkeeper performed another fine save on Sneijder, while Danilo D’Ambrosio and Simone Verdi also got debuts. Deep into stoppages, Tonny Vilhena's strike took a massive deflection off Bonucci to whistle just wide with Donnarumma stranded.
Netherlands 1-2 Italy
Romagnoli og 10 (N), Eder 11 (I), Bonucci 31 (I)
Netherlands: Zoet; Tete, Hoedt, Martins Indi, Blind (Viergever 82); Klaassen (Sneijder 82), Strootman (Vilhena 46), Wijnaldum (Toornstra 76); Promes (Berghuis 88), Depay, Lens
Italy: Donnarumma; Rugani, Bonucci, Romagnoli; Zappacosta (Spinazzola 62), De Rossi (Gagliardini 36), Verratti (Verdi 90), Parolo, Darmian (D’Ambrosio 88); Immobile (Belotti 52), Eder (Petagna 69)
Ref: Eriksson (SWE)
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