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February 7, 2013
• Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam
Referee: C. Çakιr
• Attendance: 45000
J. Lens 33'
M. Verratti 90'+
Cesare Prandelli will be relieved to have got a draw out of that match after a very lacklustre performance in which the Azzurri were second-best for large periods. The Netherlands are yet to beat Italy in a friendly fixture but they really should have done so this evening. Thanks for joining me on what was an exciting international draw here at the Amsterdam ArenA. Make sure to check out Goal.com's report, playing ratings and reaction. Goodbye!
FULL TIME: NETHERLANDS 1 - 1 ITALY. For 85 minutes, the Azzurri had hardly troubled the Oranje defence but a late storm on Krul's goal eventually brought an equaliser through Marco Verratti's first international goal, cancelling out Jeremain Lens' opener. Louis van Gaal will feel that his side should have sealed the win with Dirk Kuyt culpable of a glaring miss minutes from time but he will undoubtedly be delighted with the commanding display of his youthful side.
90' + 1'
Assist Alberto Gilardino
90' + 1'
Goal Marco Verratti
ITALY EQUALISE!! The Netherlands resistance is finally broken as Verratti exchanges passes with Gilardino, holding off the challenge of Strootman and lifting the ball over Krul. The Oranje's hopes of securing a friendly win over the Azzurri is scuppered at the death!
ITALY GO CLOSE! Diamanti continues the Azzurri's late surge when his cross to the back post is met on the stretch by Gilardino, forcing Krul into a smart save at his near post. It's too little too late for Prandelli's side.
BEST CHANCE FOR ITALY! Abate produces a glorious cross to pick out Osvaldo who had peeled off De Vrij at the back post but the Roma striker watches his header across goal go inches past the woodwork. That was the chance for Italy!
IT SHOULD BE GAME OVER! Adam Maher produces a wonderfully-disguised pass to feed Dirk Kuyt unmarked in the box, but the forward's shot is scuffed straight into the gloves of Buffon. Poor finishing.
SAVE FOR KRUL! Robben is dispossessed when he dallies on the ball just outside the box and it finds its way to Osvaldo whose low effort is straight at the Netherlands goalkeeper. Less than five minutes remaining.
Ricardo van Rhijn
Osvaldo looks to restore parity with a shot on the turn but his miscued effort is headed wide by Gilardino. The Azzurri are pressing for an equaliser here but Krul is yet to be tested.
Gilardino shows his aerial prowess once again, rising above Janmaat to thump a header from Florenzi's cross just wide of Krul's goal. Closer.
Davide Santon gets forward down the left and his cross is met by Gilardino whose header is weak and strays wide of Krul's left-hand post.
Osvaldo and Diamanti look to link up with a neat one-two but De Guzman tracks back excellently to make a crucial tackle. The Swansea midfielder is enjoying his first taste of international football.
Arjen Robben produces a wonderful piece of skill to nutmeg Marco Verratti but his shot across goal drags just wide of the far post with Dirk Kuyt sliding in. So unlucky for the Bayern Munich winger.
Alessandro Diamanti opts for glory from a freekick on the right side of the box but his effort flies high over Krul's crossbar.
Pablo Osvaldo looks to find space on the edge of the Netherlands box with some neat footwork but he is halted by a strong challenge from Jonathan de Guzman. It's just not clicking for Italy in this second period.
Another change for Italy as Inter's sole representative Andrea Ranocchia replaces Andrea Barzagli.
Robben is really giving Abate the runaround in the second half here and Buffon reacts well once again to deny the winger's swerving shot across goal. The pressure is building on Buffon's goal.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Change for the Azzurri as Stephan El Shaarawy is replaced by Bologna striker Alberto Gilardino. Can he pull a goal back?
BUFFON TO THE RESCUE! The Juventus goalkeeper saves his side from going further behind when he pulls off a wonderful one-handed stop to deny Jeremain Lens' drive from the edge of the box.
Arjen Robben is screaming for a penalty when he feels that he is pushed over in the box by Andrea Barzagli but the referee deems that the Bayern Munich winger went down too early and waves play on.
Robben tricks his way in from the right excellently before picking out Maher in the box with an inch-perfect cross but the AZ midfielder is dispossessed once again by Astori. Moments later, Kevin Strootman unleashes a shot from distance which has Buffon scrambling across his goal, but whistles just wide of the post.
Netherlands threaten when Lens finds Kuyt on the edge of the box and the Fenerbache winger picks out Maher who is dispossessed when he is just about to pull the trigger. Louis van Gaal's side are looking the more likely to find the next goal.
A couple of substitutions to make note of. Dirk Kuyt replaces debutant Ola John for the Dutch whilst PSG midfielder Marco Verratti and Roma forward Pablo Osvaldo replace Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli. Sensible management from Prandelli.
Daniele De Rossi
A real lack of quality in the final third for Italy at the moment and Diamanti is the next to frustrate as his cross from the right, intended for Balotelli, is overhit for a goalkick.
BALOTELLI WATCH: The first signs of frustration kick into the Milan forward as he smashes the ball against the advertising hoardings in anger. He has hardly touched the ball in this second half.
Cesare Prandelli's side are yet to test Tim Krul and that pattern continues as Stefan De Vrij rises highest to clear Diamanti's set-piece.
Arjen Robben has made a real impact since coming on and the Bayern Munich winger bombs down the left flank once again, but he cannot pick out a teammate with his cutback and Astori clears upfield.
Arjen Robben attempts a spot of showboating on the touchline and he is tackled off the ball by Alessandro Diamanti. The Bologna midfielder is fortunate to only receive a warning.
The Dutch defenders back off Alessandro Florenzi and the Roma midfielder lets fly from distance but watches his shot skew wide of the target.
Adam Maher attempts to play a delicate lobbed pass over the Azzurri defence for Ola John but Buffon is off his line quickly to claim the ball. I'm surprised that Prandelli took Pirlo off, he was beginning to dictate the midfield play before the break.
Much like the first half, the Netherlands are dominating the early stages. Arjen Robben plays a brilliant one-two with Jeremain Lens before unselfishly picking out Ola John, whose shot is well saved by Buffon.
Jeremain Lens does excellently to surge to the byline but his teasing cross from the left is headed clear by Davide Astori. Bright start to the second half for the Oranje.
Jonathan De Guzmán
Robin van Persie
Some half-time changes for both sides with Alessandro Florenzi and Alessandro Diamanti being introduced for the Azzurri whilst Arjen Robben and Jonathan de Guzman enter the fray for the Oranje. De Guzman is the second Canada-born player to make his Holland debut after John van 't Schip in 1986.
Louis Van Gaal will be delighted with how his youthful side have coped so far. The Feyenoord defensive trio of Janmaat, De Vrij and Martins Indi have all been impressive with Ajax's Blind on the left also faultless in that first half. However, Pirlo is beginning to pull the strings in midfield and van Gaal will need Clasie and Strootman to work harder in order to prevent service to the Juventus midfielder.
HALF TIME: NETHERLANDS 1 - 0 ITALY. The Oranje hold a well-earned lead going into the break courtesy of Jeremain Lens' fifth goal for his country. The game started slowly with the Netherlands dominating the early stages and it was only until the goal that the Azzurri sprung into life. Cesare Prandelli will be disappointed with the display of his star-studded side and will hope for more urgency and cutting edge in the second half. Let me know your thoughts on the game via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
Davide Santon overlaps down the left wing, latching onto Pirlo's clever pass, but he cannot get his cross into the box and the ball ricochets off of him for a goalkick.
Ignazio Abate has got himself into some excellent positions down the right and he does so once again, drawing Krul out from his goal, but his cutback is cleared by De Vrij. Can Netherlands hold on until the break?
Pirlo's set-piece is headed to the edge of the box where Montolivo meets the ball with a cracking strike which is blocked by the frame of Daley Blind. Italy have finally got going in this game.
Italy launch a quick counterattack from a Dutch corner and Abate marauds down the right before sweeping in a low cross from the right which is turned behind by Martins Indi.
Balotelli finds space to unleash a venomous shot from just outside the box but Stefan De Vrij races across the penalty area to make a crucial interception. Good response from the Azzurri.
Brilliant defending from Daryl Janmaat! Antonio Candreva surges down the right wing before delivering a wonderful ball towards the back post where El Shaarawy is closing in on goal, but the Feyenoord defender does brilliantly to head the ball behind under pressure for a corner.
Italy look to respond instantly but Andrea Pirlo's teasing freekick is plucked out of the air expertly by Tim Krul. The Newcastle shotstopper has been relatively untroubled so far.
Goal Jeremain Lens
GOOOALL NETHERLANDS!! Jeremain Lens notches his fifth goal for his country. Adam Maher's shot from the edge of the box is blocked by Andrea Barzagli and it falls to the PSV winger who chips the ball over the Juventus defender before volleying past Buffon with aplomb. 1-0!
Van Persie splits the Azzurri defence with an incisive slide pass but Ola John had made his run just too early and the 20-year-old is flagged marginally offside. This game is finally springing to life!
Oohh that was close! Pirlo is beginning to pull the strings now and he pings an inch-perfect ball over the top of the Netherlands defence for Balotelli who controls the ball on his chest excellently before firing just wide of Krul's goal.
That's the best we have seen of Italy so far! Pirlo produces a wonderful chipped pass to find Balotelli on the left-hand side of the box and with the goal at his mercy, the striker opts to square for his Milan teammate El Shaarawy allowing De Vrij gets across excellently to clear. A good chance goes begging.
GREAT DOUBLE SAVE FROM BUFFON! After Van Persie's initial attempt is blocked by Barzagli, the Juventus goalkeeper does excellently to keep out Maher's effort before Abate scrambles the ball away from the onrushing John. Moments later Buffon is called on again, reacting well to stop Strootman's low powerful drive. The Dutch are beginning to move through the gears here.
Van Persie looks to make things happen when he cuts in from the right flank to whip in a cross but Buffon is off his line quickly to claim.
Italy are defending very deep in an attempt to soak up this Dutch pressure. Even Mario Balotelli is back in his own half defending and that is saying something! Can the Oranje find a way through?
Andrea Pirlo has the chance to whip the ball into the box and test Tim Krul but his set-piece is disappointingly overhit and it runs out for a goalkick. Prandelli's side are yet to make an impression on this match.
A SHOT ON TARGET! Robin Van Persie produces a wonderful piece of skill to trick his way past Davide Santon, slipping in Jeremain Lens on the right side of the box and the PSV winger squares for Adam Maher but the 19-year-old's shot is straight at Gianluigi Buffon who does well to save with his legs. Good move from the Oranje!
Stephan El Shaarawy looks to latch onto Andrea Barzagli's ball over the top but he is denied a goalscoring opportunity by the linesman's flag. That must have been close!
The surface seems to be a bit slippy as Jeremain Lens is the next player to fall over after being played in by Kevin Strootman. Neither goalkeeper has been tested so far.
Adam Maher finds space to burst through the midfield but his second touch lets him down and he is dispossessed by a strong challenge from Davide Astori.
Italy enjoy their first sustained spell of possession in the match but they are yet to really attack in the final third. Slow start in Amsterdam.
Benfica winger Ola John gets a chance to run at the Italian defence for the first time but he slips at the crucial moment and cannot deliver a cross into the box.
Balotelli does indeed rejoin the action and joins in with his side's defensive responsibilities. There certainly seems to be a friendly feel to this game in the opening exchanges with neither side showing an urgency to strike early.
A stoppage in play as Mario Balotelli receives treatment after a foul from Kevin Strootman. The enigmatic striker should be able to continue.
Plenty of early Dutch pressure but the Oranje are yet to test Gianluigi Buffon. Both of these nations are top of their respective World Cup qualifying groups.
Riccardo Montolivo is fortunate not to receive an early caution for a rash tackle on Robin Van Persie. Sir Alex Ferguson would not have been happy with that one.
Plenty of early possession for the home side with some of the less-experienced players getting early touches of the ball. That should settle some pre-match jitters.
Netherlands get this game underway!
A fantastic atmosphere here as the Netherlands' anthem echoes around this wonderful stadium. Captains Kevin Strootman and Gianluigi Buffon exchange handshakes in the centre-circle. Incidentally the Dutch are sporting a new kit today, predominantly white with dashes of red and blue.
The Italian national anthem reverberates around the Amsterdam ArenA and is sung in customary gusto by Gianluigi Buffon. What a consistent figure the Juventus shotstopper has been for his country.
It's going to be an interesting battle for the Dutch defence tonight with young Feyenoord centre-back pairing Bruno Martins Indi and Stefan De Vrij up against the Milan strike partnership of Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy. Who will come out on top?
Italy recorded a 3-1 win over Oranje the last time these teams locked horns in the Amsterdam ArenA back in 2005, but had to settle for a 3-0 loss and a scoreless draw on the two occasions after that. Who will win tonight? Kickoff is under five minutes away...
Cesare Prandelli has selected a much more experienced side however, clearly looking to create some familiarity amongst the starting XI ahead of the qualifier against Malta next month. Gianluigi Buffon closes in on Fabio Cannavaro's Azzurri record (136 caps) by making his 124th international appearance whilst Prandelli opts for the new Milan partnership of Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy to lead the line up front. Newcastle defender Davide Santon is the only non-Italian based player in the starting line-up.
Louis van Gaal has opted for a very youthful and inexperienced national side with seven of the starting XI aged 23 or under. There are debuts for Ajax left-back Daley Blind and Benfica winger Ola John whilst Robin Van Persie is the most experienced player in the side with 71 international caps. Van Persie needs only two more goals for the Oranje to equal the legendary Johan Cruyff's tally of 33. The second most-capped player is in-demand PSV midfielder Kevin Strootman who has represented the national side on 15 occasions. Keep an eye out for AZ midfielder Adam Maher who is the youngest starter on the field tonight at 19 years of age.
ITALY (4-3-3): Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Astori, Santon; De Rossi, Pirlo, Montolivo; Candreva, Balotelli, El Shaarawy.
NETHERLANDS (4-3-3): Krul; Janmaat, De Vrij, Martins Indi, Blind; Clasie, Maher, Strootman; Lens, Van Persie, John.
Here are tonight's starting lineups, beginning with the Netherlands...
International football is back! With the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on the horizon, tonight's match allows respective coaches Louis van Gaal and Cesare Prandelli to experiment with their sides in order to determine their starting elevens for their upcoming group matches. Would you believe that the Netherlands have never beaten Italy in a friendly fixture? Can they set that record straight tonight? Bringing you all the action from the Amsterdam ArenA, my name is Max Bentley. Feel free to let me know your thoughts and views on the match via Twitter @MaxBentley1. It's bound to be a good one!
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