Alessio Romagnoli wore the Azzurri shirt for the first time last night as Italy played a 1-1 draw with Spain in Turin, while Japan with Keisuke Honda and Colombia with Carlos Bacca also won their games.
On the 5th of October 1996, football legend Alessandro Nesta made his debut for Italy in a 1998 World Cup qualifier against Moldova, and yesterday – almost exactly 20 years after that day – Alessio Romagnoli made his own debut for Italy.
With Giorgio Chiellini suspended, coach Giampiero Ventura decided to give Romagnoli the place in the back-three alongside Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli. The 21-year-old Alessio had a very positive debut, he completed 90 minutes and received a rating of 6.5/10 from La Gazzetta dello Sport this morning.
At the Juventus Stadium, Italy managed to win a point against Spain, who were dominant for large portions of the match. Vitolo scored in the 55′ minute for La Roja after a huge Gianluigi Buffon howler, but Daniele De Rossi scored a (questionable) penalty in the 82′ minute.
“We had a good game, but in the first half could’ve done much better,” Romagnoli told RAI. “I was ok with three at the back, because as long as I stay concentrated and work hard, I can do it. Our plan was to win, but you know Spain keep a lot of possession and that’s something to deal with. I felt a little tense at the start, but I’m not someone who tends to get nervous. Buffon’s mistake? Of course, these things happen. It was really the fault of us in defense who allowed that gap in the middle.”
Gianluigi Donnarumma spent the whole match on the bench, but Mattia De Sciglio played the entire game on the left wing. Riccardo Montolivo was included in the XI but was forced out due to a knee injury in the 30′ minute; he was replaced by another Milan midfielder, Giacomo Bonaventura.
In a match between Japan and Iraq, Keisuke Honda played 81 minutes; Japan scored the winning goal in the very last moment of the match as Hotaru Yamaguchi found the net in the 95′ minute to make it 2-1 and award Samurai Blue the win. Genki Haraguchi (26′) and Saad Abdul-Amir (60′) scored too.
In the night between Thursday and Friday, Estadio Defensores del Chaco hosted a match between Colombia-Paraguay and therefore it was also a battle between Milan striker Carlos Bacca and Milan defender Gustavo Gomez, who joined this summer. Both players played a full match. It took 91 minutes for the La Tricolor to break the deadlock as Edwin Cardona scored in stoppage time.
There was also an Italy U19 friendly yesterday, beating Portugal 2-1. Primavera’s Patrick Cutrone scored; Manuel Locatelli, Matteo Gabbia and Andrés Llamas played but Alessandro Plizzari didn’t.