- End of 2nd Half
- 2nd Half
- 1st Half
Italy - Finland
Euro Qualifying - 23 March 2019
Euro Qualifying – Follow the Football match between Italy and Finland live with Eurosport. The match starts at 20:45 on 23 March 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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A smile on the face of Roberto Mancini, his Italy team make a winning start to their European qualifying campaign, thanks to goals from Barella and debutant Kean.
Three minutes will be added on.
- OffCristiano BiraghiItaly
- OnLeonardo SpinazzolaItaly
Nineteen-year-old Leonardo Spinazzola replaces Biraghi for the last few minutes.
Donnarumma spills a shot from distance and then he's caught by Sparv who is already on a yellow card. The referee keeps his cards in his pockets, though.
To their credit, Finland are still playing some decent football. They have lacked a final touch of quality in the last third all evening, however.
- OffMarco VerrattiItaly
- OnNicolò ZanioloItaly
Nicolo Zaniolo comes on for his Italy debut, the third of the evening. He replaces Verratti.
- OffTeemu PukkiFinland
- OnRasmus KarjalainenFinland
Rasmus Karjalainen came on for Finland a moment ago.
OFF THE CROSSBAR! What an impact Quagliarella is making for the Italians! He's denied by the woodwork with a shot coming off the right flank.
- Yellow cardCristiano PicciniItaly
Piccini goes into book for a flailing arm across the face of Pirinen.
ALMOST A GOAL! Quagliarella forces a fantastic one-handed from Hradecky!
- OffCiro ImmobileItaly
- OnFabio QuagliarellaItaly
Fabio Quagliarella comes on for Immobile.
That goal will surely settle the game for the hosts and the Man of the Match, Kean, grabs it!
- GoalMoise KeanItaly
GOAL! Italy 2-0 Finland
Kean scores on his competitive debut! Italy's best player of the night, the 19-year-old has a goal to mark a night to remember! Immobile runs from midfield, threads a ball through to the Juventus wonderkid who makes no mistake with a cool finish from 12 yards.
The first change of the game sees Hamalainen replaced by Lappalainen. It's an attacking switch from Finland, whose coach may just fancy his side's chances of getting a point now.
Finland are growing in confidence here. Lod fancies a crack from distance but his wild shot is always rising.
FINLAND CHANCE! Considering his form, you would fancy Pukki to score here! The Norwich defenders escapes the attention of Bonucci to meet Lod's cross but he gets his angles wrong and fires wide from 10 yards!
- Yellow cardMarco VerrattiItaly
Verratti and Sparv are shown a yellow card after some handbags in the aftermath of that incident.
OUCH! It's not often you see the big man go down, but Chiellini is hurt and needs treatment after he gets his ankle trodden on. He's OK to continue, obviously.
Finland have failed to score in any of their last five away defeats, but there's still plenty of time to play in this contest.
Bernardeschi forces a corner, but Italy play it short and it's a complete waste. Jorginho is dispossessed easily and Finland's counter-attack ends up as an Italy throw-in after a loose touch.
Kean looks Italy's most likely source but he takes too long to deliver his cross after creating space at the by-line. All he wins is a corner.
Italy are a little loose when trying to play out from the back and Finland regain possession. Verratti gets in the way of Pukki's shot.
Italy are piling on the pressure in search of a second; this is much better from Mancini's side. Chiellini goes direct with a long ball from defence but it's just beyond Kean.
CHANCE! Verratti's lovely ball over the top releases Immobile, but he's too hesitant and Hradecky scoops it out for a corner.
Jorginho and Immobile exchange passes on the edge of the box, but the former's return ball searching for the latter has too much zip on it and Hradecky races out to gather it.
CHANCE! Italy make a flying start to the second-period. Bernardeschi's precise cross picks out Immobile, who heads wide, though he accidentally clashed heads with Vaisanen as he leapt for the ball.
- 2nd Half
Finland get the ball rolling in the second-half. It's as you were in terms of personnel.
- End of 1st Half
And there's the half-time whistle. Italy lead at the break with their only shot on target.
OVER! Once again Italy's build-up play is excellent as they work it to Barella on the left. He cuts it back to Biraghi whose shot from the edge of the D is always rising and it's never troubling the goalkeeper.
CHANCE! For some reason unknown, Hradecky opts to punch the ball clear rather than catch it, and it falls to Kean who controls well but fires wide from the edge of the box.
NO PENALTY! Bernardeschi goes down inside the box. There is contact, but the Italian goes down dramatically and the referee isn't interested.
Pukki, Norwich's talisman, peels off his marker at the far post to meet a cross, but his first-time volley is blocked by a defender.
WHAT WAS THAT?! Bernardeschi is released on the right side of the penalty area. He must at least test the goalkeeper, but I'm not sure if it's a shot or a cross as the ball rolls out for a goal-kick closer to the corner flag.
The Azzuri work the ball all the way back to Donnarumma. Finland are set up quite rigidly and they're proving a hard nut to crack. The visiting goalkeeper has had little to do other picking out Barella's deflected shot out of his net.
Italy celebrate the opening goal.
CHANCE! Brilliant feet from Verratti as he skips past a couple of defenders as he bursts into the penalty area, but his shot ends up closer to the corner flag than the Finland goal.
Bernardeschi threads the eye of a needle with a through-ball that Kean can chase, but Hradecky is off his line quickly to smother it.
Bernardeschi drags a daisy-cutter wide from 25 yards, as Italy begin to assert their superiority once more.
Kean's shot is blocked on the edge of the box after a long spell of Italian possession.
Finland's possession may not be hurting the Italian defence, but it is killing the momentum Italy were threatening to build after notching their opening goal.
Finland are playing some lovely football at times, without penetrating the Italian defence. The right wing-back Granlund is constantly in space but his team mates are not providing him with the ball enough.
Here's Italy's opener...
OVER! A promising Finland attack ends in frustration. Lod twists and turns on the right side of the penalty area to create room for a shot, but he leans back and blazes his shot into the stands.
With Jorginho at the heart of possession, Italy are knocking the ball around with some confidence. Kean's every touch is being applauded by the home supporters.
SHOT! The referee plays a brilliant advantage, as Finland form an attack. He has two or three options either side, but Lod has glory in his thoughts and his shot is drilled wide from 25 yards.
CHANCE! Excellent wing-play from Kean! After a couple of stepovers, the youngster's turn of pace takes him past his marker and he stands up a cross to Piccini at the far post, but the fellow debutant can't direct his shot on target.
SHOT! Trying to respond immediately, Finland conjure up a decent attacking move from the right. The ball is teed up to Sparv but he doesn't get the connection he would have wanted as he slices it wide.
Any hope that Finland could hold out and frustrate Italy has gone out the window for manager Markku Kanerva.
- GoalNicolò BarellaItaly
GOAL! Italy 1-0 Finland
Italy make the perfect start! Finland don't clear their lines from Verratti's free-kick on the left flank. It falls to Barella whose venomous volleyed effort from the edge of the box takes a huge deflection off Vaisanen which takes it past the helpless Hradecky.
A first glimpse of Kean, who drives down the left flank with some pace, but his cross is straight into the arms of Hradecky.
Bernardeschi's through-ball has Immobile running, but a defender gets in the way to shepherd the ball out of play. This has been an energetic start from Italy.
Debutant Piccini bombs forward on the right flank and races onto a through-pass, but he isn't quick enough to keep the ball in play. Italy are focusing their attacks down this right side in the opening exchanges.
The hosts are immediately on the front foot, the ball switched to Bernardeschi on the right flank. He slips as he delivers his cross, however, and the ball goes out of play. They will hope that mistake is not a sign of things to come.
- 1st Half
Italy, with only one win in their last six competitive matches, game the game underway.
A reminder of the line-ups as we approach kick-off at Dacia Arena.
Italy: G Donnarumma; Piccini, Bonucci, Chiellini, Biraghi; Verratti, Jorginho, Barella; Bernardeschi, Immobile, Kean.
Finland: Hradecky; Granlund, Toivio, Arajuuri, Pirinen; Lod, Kamara, Sparv, S Vaisanen; Pukki, Hamalainen
It has been a long, long time since Italy were last defeated in a European qualifier. You have to go the whole way back to September 2006, when they were beaten 3-1 by France. Since then, they have won 24 games, drawn six and lost none.
More from Mancini: "We want to entertain the fans and ourselves. It’ll be a packed stadium, it’s up to us to fire the fans up and hope they give us a hand too."
The Azzuri haven't scored more than once in a competitive game since thrashing Liechtenstein 5-0 back in June 2017.
Having failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, it would be simply unthinkable for Italy to not make it out of their European qualifying group. Greece are probably their biggest threat to the top spot in a pool that also consists of Armenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
"I expect Kean to do what he does best," said Mancini in a pre-match press conference. "He doesn't have Insigne's experience, but he does bring physicality, enthusiasm and an eye for goal. We hope he'll bring joy to the team."
Azzuri boss Roberto Mancini hands Moise Kean and Cristiano Piccini their first starts.
All eyes will be on Kean, the Juventus wonderkid, whose only previous cap was as a substitute in the 1-0 friendly win over the USA in November last year.
Italy XI: G Donnarumma; Piccini, Bonucci, Chiellini, Biraghi; Verratti, Jorginho, Barella; Bernardeschi, Immobile, Kean.
Subs: Sirigu, Cragno, Mancini, Spinazzola, Pavoletti, Grifo, Romagnoli, Sensi, Politano, Quagliarella, El Shaarawy, Zaniolo
Finland XI: Hradecky; Granlund, Toivio, Arajuuri, Pirinen; Lod, Kamara, Sparv, S Vaisanen; Pukki, Hamalainen
Subs: Joronen, Jaakkola, Taylor, Jensen, Schuller, Soiri, Kauko, L Vaisanen, Sumusalo, Lam, Karjalainen, Lappalainen
Hello and welcome to Eurosport's LIVE text commentary of Italy's European qualifier with Finland.
Team news to follow, kick-off is 45 minutes away.