Nations League: Italy, which will miss the World Cup for the second time in a row, found solace in Europe once more on Monday as they defeated Hungary 2-0 in Budapest to take the top position in their Nations League group. In the 27th minute, Wilfried Gnonto capitalized on a sloppy Hungarian back pass to give Italy the lead. Giacomo Raspadori, who scored the game-winning goal against England on Friday, then pushed the ball home.
Even though the World Cup is still an open sore and there is no turning back, Gianluigi Donnarumma, the goalkeeper for Italy, said they need these matches to revive enthusiasm.
Hungary, who entered the last round of games atop Group A3, battled valiantly, but in the 50th minute, Loic Nego and Adam Szalai forced two miraculous saves from Donnarumma. Two minutes later, Federico Dimarco connected with a Bryan Cristante cross at the back post to score Italy’s 1,500th goal and his first for his country. Callum Styles’ header was blocked by another superb performance from Donnarumma (55th).
Italy prevailed, joining the Netherlands and Croatia in the final four of the 2023 Nations League.
Tuesday’s matchup between Spain and Portugal will determine who gets the final ticket to challenge France for the title.
Italy, who hit rock bottom in March, now has another European championship to look forward to. It is little more than a year after winning Euro 2020. They missed out on World Cup qualification,
Hungary’s unexpected victory over the group had some similarities to the 1950s Magic Magyars’ successes. They achieved their first competitive victories over Germany and England away from home in 1954. But they still haven’t defeated Italy since 1955.
A standing ovation greeted Hungary captain Adam Szalai as he left the field after 75 minutes. Szalai announced his retirement from international football at the age of 34.