Italy reaches Nations League Finals after beating Hungary 2-0

Italy beat Hungary with a 2-0 victory to book one of four berths in the 2023 UEFA Nations League Finals on Monday.

Hungary was the surprise in Nations League A Group 3, outscoring established powerhouses Italy, Germany, and England over the course of five games before ultimately losing at Puskas Arena in Budapest.

The opening goal was scored by Italy in the 27th minute after a collision between 18-year-old Italian forward Wilfried Gnonto and Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi pushed the latter to the ground and left the ball loose in the area.

To score the only goal of the first half, Giacomo Raspadori took possession of the ball, dribbled around Gulasci, and then slid the ball into the left side of the net.

Hungary came out after the break determined to notch the equalizer but ran into a 1.96-meter (6-foot-5) wall in the form of Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who kept three balls out of the net in rapid succession.

The hosts then paid dearly for those missed chances when some slick passing by Italy set up a close-range strike by Federico Dimarco, who scored into the roof of the goal off a pass by Bryan Cristante to give Italy a 2-0 lead in the 52nd minute.

The clock was ticking down on Hungary, but Marco Rossi’s team didn’t give up. Shortly after, Callum Styles’ header came dangerously close to giving them the lead.

But in the end, they were unable to match Donnarumma’s brilliance and were forced to accept second place in Group 3 with an unexpectedly strong showing.

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