Goals from Antonio Candreva and Daniele De Rossi helped Italy to a 2-0 win over Finland on Monday in their final friendly before kicking off Euro 2016 against Belgium on June 13.
Candreva opened the scoring when he converted a penalty after being brought down in the box, before setting up De Rossi for Italy’s second after half-time.
Antonio Conte opted to rest goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, giving Salvatore Sirigu the nod instead, while Simone Zaza and Ciro Immobile got the chance to prove their worth up front.
Zaza in particular caused the Finland defence plenty of problems, but the Juventus man failed to add his name to the scoresheet, missing a gilt-edged chance with 15 minutes left on the clock.
There was a personal highlight for Stefano Sturaro at the Bentegodi in Verona, with the midfielder being handed his senior Italy debut in the second half.
Italy started the match with plenty of attacking intent and got their first chance in the eighth minute when Zaza headed just wide after an Emanuele Giaccherini cross from the left.
The Juve attacker was lively early on and had a shot comfortably saved by Lukas Hradecky just minutes later, before setting up Immobile with an intelligent backheel, the striker firing wide from a dangerous position.
Conte’s men continued to dominate and they eventually opened the scoring in the 27th minute via Candreva. Perparim Hetemaj brought the Lazio man down inside the area and he coolly converted the spot-kick himself to open the scoring.
Leonardo Bonucci tested Hradecky with an opportunistic attempt from a free-kick late in the first half as the hosts went in search of a second, but the goalkeeper made an easy save to deny the Juve defender.
Finland, meanwhile, failed to trouble the Italian defence as they were pinned back in their own half for the majority of the opening 45 minutes, Sirigu not called upon to make a single save.
Neither side managed to create any chances of note in the opening stages of the second half, with Stephan El Shaarawy’s volley from the edge of the box, which went a yard wide after taking a deflection off a Finnish defender, the first moment of real excitement.
El Shaarawy again threatened minutes later after a clever throughball from De Rossi, but Paulus Arajuuri made a last-ditch tackle to deny the attacker.
De Rossi soon found the net, though, beating the Finland keeper with a sublime header after Candreva’s cross from the right to double Italy’s lead.
Zaza should have made it three in the 75th minute after some good work from Immobile, but he failed to beat Hradecky from 10 yards out as the match ended 2-0.
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