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  • Writer's pictureThe Season Ticket

Euro 2020 | Wales through to last 16 despite defeat to Italy

Italy have continued their perfect record at Euro 2020 with a 1-0 win over Wales in Group A.

Matteo Pessina scored the only goal of the game in the 39th minute in Rome to extend Italy's unbeaten record to 30 matches.

Wales, who had Ethan Ampadu sent off in the 55th minute, pip Switzerland to second place in the group on goal difference, despite the Swiss' 3-1 victory over Turkey earlier on Sunday.

Roberto Mancini, whose side have taken nine points from nine without conceding a goal on their way to winning Group A, made eight changes to the team which beat Switzerland last time out.

Emerson tested Danny Ward with a low drive from distance in the 14th minute at Stadio Olimpico, which Ward held on to comfortably.

Wales almost became the first team at Euro 2020 to score against Italy in the 27th minute, but Chris Gunter's header grazed the roof of the net from Daniel James' excellent corner. Rob Page's side looked threatening from set pieces, with Joe Rodon heading straight at Gianluigi Donnaruma from a free kick.

Italy made one of their own set pieces count six minutes before the interval.

Marco Verratti swung a low free kick to the edge of the box, which Pessina met with a deft right-footed volley which nestled in the far bottom corner.

Atalanta midfielder Pessina came close to adding a second three minutes later, but couldn't get enough purchase on his stabbed attempt from Verratti's inviting cross.

Italy led 1-0 at the break, and were denied a second goal by the post in the 53rd minute.

Federico Bernardeschi smashed a low free kick from distance through a crowd of players, only for the ball to strike the bottom of the post.

Ampadu was then shown a straight red for the visitors after raking his studs down Bernardeschi's shin in a poorly mistimed tackle on the halfway line two minutes later.

Ward made an excellent save to preserve Wales' goal difference in the 65th minute, saving Andrea Belotti's low shot with his legs after Federico Chiesa's excellent run and cut-back.

Welsh skipper Gareth Bale should have drawn Page's men level in the 55th minute, but blazed over a left-footed volley at the back post from 10 yards under no pressure.

Belotti then stung Ward's palms with a shot on the turn in the 89th minute, but the Leicester City goalkeeper collected the ball at the second attempt.

Italy will now play the runners-up of Group C at Wembley on Saturday, with Wales set to take on the winners of Group B on the same day in Amsterdam.

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