Italy dominated the first half and took the lead through Simone Zaza, but Domenico Criscito’s red card paved the way for a Nathan Ake equaliser.
This was the third game for Roberto Mancini after a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia and 3-1 defeat to France, but he changed 10 of the starting XI from Friday’s trip to Nice, keeping only Jorginho. Lorenzo Insigne became the first Napoli player ever to captain Italy and achieved this milestone on his 27th birthday. This was a prestigious friendly, yet neither side was going to the 2018 World Cup.
The Azzurri thought they had scored within three minutes when Simone Verdi’s free kick was flicked on by Bryan Cristante for Andrea Belotti to volley in, but it was ruled offside in a very tight decision.
Bologna winger Simone Verdi is two-footed, so took several corners on both sides, while Belotti earned a few free kicks off Virgil van Dijk.
There was a double chance when Verdi’s low ball flashed past Belotti and Cristante put it back in, finding goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen’s foot at the near post.
Belotti really should’ve scored when springing the offside trap on an Insigne through ball, but Il Gallo fired straight at Cillessen from point-blank range.
Moments later, Insigne cushioned an assist for Verdi to blast over from 12 yards. The Azzurri kept wasting chances, as Verdi controlled a smart Jorginho ball over the top and his finish was fingertipped over the bar by Cillessen. On the resulting corner, Domenico Criscito’s header was cleared off the line by Ruud Vormer after beating the goalkeeper.
The Netherlands had their first genuine chance on 51 minutes and it was by error, a cross deflected off Criscito to land on the roof of the net.
An acrobatic Tonny Vilhena volley skimmed the crossbar and Memphis Depay’s header was straight at Perin, but Italy took the lead with two substitutes combining.
Federico Chiesa flew down the right and rolled a low cross for Simone Zaza to come sliding in, getting in front of Virgil van Dijk.
However, moments later the Azzurri went down to 10 men, as Criscito mistimed his desperate sliding tackle on Ryan Babel right on the edge of the box. Even in a friendly that was a straight red card offence. Perin kept Italy in front, getting down quickly to beat away the Depay free kick.
Daniele Baselli made his senior Italy debut and the Dutch poured forward, Vilhena drilling wide and Perin beating away a Steven Berghuis curler.
Chiesa remained a thorn in Holland’s side, his shimmy on Daryl Janmaat allowing him to force a save from Cillessen’s foot.
The Dutch did get their equaliser eventually, Berghuis allowed to whip in a left-footed cross and Nathan Ake got in front of Mattia De Sciglio for a free header.
Ake nearly turned it around completely in stoppages, just unable to get his toe to a dangerous free kick.
Italy 1-1 Netherlands
Zaza 67 (I), Ake 88 (N)
Italy: Perin; Zappacosta (De Sciglio 58), Rugani, Romagnoli, Criscito; Cristante, Jorginho (Baselli 77), Bonaventura (Pellegrini 87); Verdi (Chiesa 60), Belotti (Zaza 63), Insigne (Bonucci 70)
Netherlands: Cillessen; Hateboer (Janmaat 46), De Ligt (Ake 71), Van Dijk, Blind (Weghorst 77); De Roon (Promes 78), Vormer (Berghuis 71), Wijnaldum; Babel (Elia 82), Depay, Vilhena
Ref: Bezborodov (RUS)
Sent off: Criscito 69 (I)
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