Creative Soccer Culture

Framed #168 | Liechtenstein v Italy

On paper, Italy’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Liechtenstein was never going to be much of a test, and so it proved as we hunkered down in the pouring rain, desperate for the Rheinpark Stadion to provide some shelter and respite from the elements, to watch what was to be the next instalment of our ‘Framed’ series.

Having already qualified for Euro 2020, Italy were merely looking to stamp their authority all over group J and send a message out to the rest of Europe when they travelled to Lichtenstein. And that message was received loud and clear: Italy, under the watchful eye of Roberto Mancini, will be a force in next summer’s tournament. Granted, Liechtenstein were never going to provide a stern test of their credentials, but the Azzurri stepped up and dispatched their opponents ruthlessly, maintaining their flawless and untouchable campaign and clocking up a record-equalling ninth international win in a row.


Having already sealed qualification against Greece on the weekend, Mancini made 10 changes to his side, handing out a debut to Giovanni Di Lorenzo. With the rain lashing down, hiding the normally glorious view of the Swiss Alps towering over the 7,584 capacity Rheinpark, Italy were able to weather the early storm from Liechtenstein. It lasted all of one minute and about thirty seconds, during which time the hosts had a glorious opportunity to shock the Italians. It was all the wake up the visitors needed though, as they proceeded to romp down the other end and take the lead through Juventus forward Federico Bernardeschi.

And that was it for the first half, as Liechtenstein held firm, trying to counter where possible. But the relentless pressure and barrage of crosses proved too much in the second half, and Torino's Belotti was able to capitalise, netting twice, with Alessio Romagnoli and Stephan El Shaarawy also getting on the scoresheet as Italy ultimately made it look all too easy in the rain. By the full-time whistle blew we knew exactly how the Liechtenstein defenders felt: battered, soaked, and thoroughly fed-up.


Photography by Giacomo Cosua for SoccerBible.


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