Italy clinched a place in the Nations League final four with a 2-0 win away to Hungary thanks to goals by Giacomo Raspadori and Federico Dimarco in their last League A-Group 3 game on Monday.
European champions Italy, who missed out on a place at the World Cup in Qatar, finished top on 11 points from six games, one point above second-placed Hungary who needed to avoid defeat to secure a place in their first Nations League semi-finals .
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, more (US)
Raspadori took advantage of a mistake by the defense in the 27th minute to convert a rebound from the edge of the box.
Hungary then had a great chance to equalize just after the break but goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma kept out a flurry of shots by Loic Nego, Callum Styles and captain Adam Szalai, who on ended his international career after the match.
Midfielder Dimarco made it 2-0 for the visitors in the 52nd minute when he blasted the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
« We were excellent for 70 minutes. The last 20 I didn’t like too much, » Italy coach Roberto Mancini said.
« It’s important to have reached the Nations League final four for the second time, but the previous results unfortunately remain.
« Let’s say that we were good at restarting and setting up a group that has values on which you can work.
« The goal? It’s bypassing the month of December, » he added, with his team sidelined for the World Cup which runs from Nov. 20-Dec. 18.
Italy join Croatia and the Netherlands in next year’s finals tournament, while Spain and Portugal will play in Braga on Tuesday for the last spot available.