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Key Events

C. Bryson
J. McArthur
G. Bonaventura
E. Giaccherini
S. Naismith
I. Anya
O. Burke
M. Phillips
S. Zaza
G. Pellè
Jorginho
D. De Rossi
M. Parolo
A. Candreva
F. Bernardeschi
M. Darmian
L. Insigne
E. Martins
G. Pellè
Goal
E. Martins
Assist
C. Berra
C. Paterson
S. Fletcher
R. McCormack
6
0
5
0

Stats

Possession
% %
11
1
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 3 0
Total Passes 554 476

Commentary

Full time in Malta. Italy's preparations for the European Championships continue with a very comfortable 1-0 win over Scotland, who never really showed anything to shout about throughout the 90 minutes or so. The solitary goal of the match came from a superb Graziano Pelle strike, as the Azzurri finally broke the deadlock after massive amounts of possession and pressure on the Scottish goal. One more friendly for Conte's men then they travel to France for the Euros! Thanks for joining us, see you next time!
Three minutes of added time have been allocated by the official, which is fairly excessive considering we haven't had too many stoppages to play other than substitutions. To be fair to the ref, though, the amount of changes has definitely taken up a large portion of time.
Florenzi takes the throw-in down the right wing and Parolo collects to feet before swiveling sharply inside the centre circle. The substitute thinks about clipping a pass over the Scotland defence for Zaza, but decides to simply retain possession which probably displays the lack of ambition in these latter stages.
It is unlikely we will see too much added time signaled by the referee here, as the Italy and Scotland fans who have came out to view their compatriots have struggled to maintain any kind of excitement whilst viewing this fairly dire encounter. The Tartan Army will certainly make the most of their trip to Malta though, you would feel!
Italy are just playing the ball around patiently here, attempting to run down the clock without much incident. Scotland seem relatively content to let the hosts have the ball, with impetus to go all-out to gain an equaliser declining with every passing second.
C. Bryson
J. McArthur
Scotland
A flurry of substitutions continues in the latter stages of play as James McArthur leaves the pitch to be replaced by Craig Bryson, who is coming off Championship play-off semi-final disappointment with Derby County.
G. Bonaventura
E. Giaccherini
Italy
Conte gives another run out to one of his squad players now, albeit a short one, as Giacomo Bonaventura enters the action for a small cameo appearance in place of Giaccherini, who arguably should have got at least one goal this evening. His finishing has let him down terribly.
JUST WIDE FROM RITCHIE! Naismith collects the ball down the right wing and cleverly jinks his way into the penalty area before eventually finding his team-mate on the edge of the area. The Bournemouth winger gets to possession before Barzagli to smash a strike on goal, but it is flashed just wide, clipping the side-netting as it goes!
Fifteen minutes to go now, and you would struggle to come up with something, if anything, which has seen Italy or Scotland benefit from this international friendly clash. It is unlikely that Conte will base his European Championships squad selection on anything he has witnessed tonight.
It is perhaps a damning indictment of how poor Scotland have been in an attacking sense tonight that their fans actually cheer a gained corner-kick as if it were an equaliser. Indeed, that is the Tartan Army's first corner of the match, so lets see if they can make anything from it. Unlikely judging by their other attacking play...
S. Naismith
I. Anya
Scotland
Another substitution sees Steven Naismith given a run out in place of Anya.
O. Burke
M. Phillips
Scotland
Matt Phillips is withdrawn for Oliver Burke for Scotland.
Scotland are enjoying a decent period of possession here as Italy move slightly further back into their own half. There is no doubt about it, this plethora of changes from the Azzurri has definitely disrupted the flow of their attacking play, but they still have some dangerous players out there with a point to prove.
S. Zaza
G. Pellè
Italy
The second, sees the solitary goalscorer of the game, Pelle, make way for Simone Zaza.
Jorginho
D. De Rossi
Italy
Another duo of changes for Italy. The first sees De Rossi make way for Jorginho.
We are just approaching the last third of the game now and unfortunately for Scotland, the only thing that looks likely is more dominance, and potentially more goals, for Italy. Again, Buffon has been criminally untested in between the sticks.
M. Parolo
A. Candreva
Italy
As mentioned previously, Conte has 19 substitutes to choose from tonight and is starting to flex the squad muscles in this second period. His third change since the break sees the impressive Candreva make way for Marco Parolo, who will be eager to show what he can do to ensure his place in the Euros squad.
It will be interesting to see how Scotland respond to going a goal down, as this will almost certainly have to trigger a change in mentality. If they have any aspirations of getting anything out of this game, they need to start showing a lot more attacking ambition and getting some service to Fletcher in the final third.
F. Bernardeschi
M. Darmian
Italy
Conte decides to make another quick change as Matteo Darmian makes way for Federico Bernardeschi.
L. Insigne
E. Martins
Italy
First change of the match from Antonio Conte and it sees the disappointing Eder make way to be replaced by Lorenzo Insigne, which may catalyse a change in formation from Italy as the Napoli man is not known as a centre-forward.
G. Pellè
Goal
Italy
GOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL FOR ITALY! A DESERVED LEAD FOR THE AZZURRI! De Rossi moves forward unopposed in midfield and eventually slides a pass into the feet of Pelle, who turns sharply before curling a beauty of a finish into the bottom right corner! One-nil!
E. Martins
Assist
Italy
Assist Eder Citadin Martins
A game of pinball football ensues in the Scotland box as the visitors scramble to clear a corner from Candreva. Chiellini battles hard alongside Berra to try and pull the trigger with a shot on goal, but the Scots survive by the skin of their teeth as they eventually smash possession up the park at the fifth attempt.
Scotland have been under the cosh after the break as the game has followed the same formula as the opening 45 minutes. Anya has successfully managed to break the visitors free with a couple of decent runs in the past couple of minutes, with the latest being swiftly halted after a cynical foul from De Rossi.
Anya was pinned back into helping out his defenders in the first half, which made it very difficult for him to affect the game in more advanced areas. His first meaningful venture into the final third comes five minutes into the second period, which eventually earns Scotland a corner. Promising!
It will be interesting to see how both nations approach the second period tonight, as Italy are obviously playing for fitness with the Euros on the horizon. The question has to be raised regarding Scotland's motivations, though, as the Tartan Army do not really have anything at all to play for.
C. Berra
C. Paterson
Scotland
It is a double alteration from Strachan, as Christophe Berra comes on for Callum Paterson.
S. Fletcher
R. McCormack
Scotland
Steven Fletcher replaces McCormack for Scotland at the break.
We are back underway in this international friendly!
Half-time in Malta. It has unfortunately been a vintage end-of-season international friendly clash so far as we go into the break at a 0-0 stalemate, with not too much attacking play to speak of. Giaccherini should probably have got at least one goal so far, but has been desperately poor in his finishing, allowing Scotland to maintain the clean sheet. Some goals in the second period would be welcomed!
Italy continue to pound the Scotland goal with shots and crosses into the box, but Marshall has never looked especially threatened in between the sticks even with the massive possession advantage for the Azzurri.
Just under five minutes remaining in this first half and it doesn't look like we are going to get the opening goal before the coaches administer their team talks.
Buffon has probably been the most bored man in the stadium so far in this first half as he has not been tested on one single occasion from the Scotland attackers. McCormack had that chance at the back post, but couldn't even muster a strike on target.
MILES OVER FROM CANDREVA! The Lazio winger has probably been the most potent attacking threat of the Azzurri so far today which is saying something considering his inability to finish off moves with a meaningful shot or pass. The latest attempt comes at the back post, but again Scotland survive without much incident after a smashed volley goes over.
One thing you have to hand to Scotland has been their ability to keep the defensive line fairly rigid when playing offside. Italy are attempting to unlock the back line with plenty of lofted balls over the top, but more often than not it has been Candreva or Giacherrini who have just moved a head of play a little too much, which is allowing the offside trap to work.
We haven't seen too much from Eder and Pelle as an attacking force so far, with Hanley and Martin having dealt with the threat fairly well. The Southampton centre-forward attempts to buck the trend with a glancing header down towards the bottom right corner, but Marshall comfortably sees it wide.
AN ABSOLUTE SITTER FROM GIACCHERINI! The former Sunderland attacking midfielder runs in behind the Scotland defence to take in a quite beautiful lofted pass from De Rossi, but the visitors survive as the subsequent strike on goal is skewed a yard wide from just 12 yards out. The Italian is having a bit of a nightmare so far!
Scotland need to do something to try and curb this dominance from the Italians, as they simply cannot get out of their own half at the moment due to the possession of the hosts. McCormack in particular needs to do a lot more as the solitary centre-forward, as the ball hasn't been retained well enough up top.
Italy's finishing and shooting has really let them down so far, as they should at least have one goal by now with the chances they have had. The profligacy on this occasion comes from Candreva, who fires a strike at goal from 25 yards out or so, only to see his attempt fly high and wide over the bar.
Candreva is the man looking most likely to make something happen here as he goes on yet another exciting dribble. On this occasion, he whips a wicked cross to the back post which sees Marshall struggle to get across the goal, but luckily for the keeper, Paterson is on hand to put behind for a corner after some vigilant defending.
WHAT A MISS FROM GIACCHERINI! Candreva picks up the ball a yard or so in from the right channel and opens up his stride to hit the byline before standing a deflected cross to the back post. The Bologna midfielder latches on to the loose ball and seems poised to give Italy the lead, but he is leaning back far too much and eventually blazes over. Disappointing.
Unfortunately for the viewing public, the atmosphere is sounding very much like an end-of-season international friendly, with not much tempo in the play of either team. The Tartan Army attempt to crank up the noise with a rendition of the Scottish national anthem, though, so fair play to them!
Paterson is the man tasked with taking the pressure off Scotland this time with a run down the right flank past Darmian. He looks to eventually pass inside to the oncoming McCarthur, but the ever-vigilant De Rossi is on hand to intercept with an excellent slide tackle.
WIDE FROM MCCORMACK! The Fulham striker manages to get in behind the Italy defence to latch on to a ball over the top, before disappointingly sending a first-time volley wide of the post. Luckily for him, his blushes are spared as the linesman already had his flag up.
Phillips collects the ball to feet and goes on a marauding run down the right touchline, looking to take on the Italian defence as he goes. A few stepovers are attempted in the end, but Barzagli is having none of it and quickly steps in to claim possession back for the Italians.
Scotland are just enjoying a nice little period of sustained possession themselves at the moment, with Italy chasing around trying to hunt the ball back. Unfortunately for the visitors, the ball isn't in particularly dangerous areas which means Buffon remains untested between the sticks.
We expected that Italy would dominate possession during the game this evening and they are doing just that. However, Scotland have the pace of Ritchie, Phillips, and Anya in their ranks so are clearly built for the counterattack, which has proved a useful tool for them in the past year or so under Strachan. Lets see if they can hurt this experienced Italian backline.
Italy once again field the tried and tested Juventus trio of Bonucci, Chiellini, and Barzagli at the back and the three players have started the match very solidly tonight. They are moving the defensive line right up to the halfway line with their possession play, which is in turn forcing Scotland into retreat.
BRILLIANT DOUBLE SAVE FROM MARSHALL! The Scotland goalkeeper is called into action to deny a Giaccherini free-kick before keeping Italy out again just a second later as Pelle attempts to smash in the rebound! Wonderful work from the former Celtic stopper.
Darmian, who features as a left wing-back tonight, drives to the byline before slamming a dangerous cross into the box. It evades everyone apart from Mulgrew, who displays impressive composure to clear the danger even with Candreva sniffing around for any mistakes or loose balls.
As probably expected, it has been a fairly tepid start to proceedings in this friendly clash. Italy of course have plenty of incentive to perform well with the Euros coming up, but it will be interesting to see how Scotland do under the circumstances. Some of the Scots may look upon this game as a slight inconvenience at the end of a long season. We shall see.
We are underway in Malta!
Italy have named an astonishingly high 19 substitutes tonight, with the likes of Thiago Motta, Ricardo Montolivo, and Lorenzo Insigne featuring on the bench for Conte's squad. Scotland manager, Gordon Strachan, continues to try and blood some new Scottish talent in these friendlies, with newcomers such as Stephen Kingsley and Barrie McKay given a position amongst the subs.
Scotland (4-2-3-1): Marshall; Paterson, Martin, Hanley, Mulgrew; McArthur, Fletcher; Ritchie, Phillips, Anya; McCormack.
Italy (3-5-2): Buffon; Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonucci; Candreva, Florenzi, De Rossi, Giaccherini, Darmian; Pelle, Eder.
TEAM NEWS...
Italy have been crowned European champions on one occasion in 1968, and will be hoping to rekindle some kind of former glory after disappointing in the past couple of years. At the World Cup two summers ago, they disappointed under the tutelage of Cesare Prandelli, having failed to get out of the group stage. They will lose another manager soon, albeit in different circumstances with Conte already having agreed to take over as Chelsea boss for next season.
Fitness and performance levels are certainly the priority for Italy tonight, with players also looking to stake a claim for a starting berth in the Azzurri's opening Euros match against Belgium on the 13th June. Furthermore, the finalised squad for the tournament is yet to be decided, so some players will also be fighting to keep their Euros dream alive.
With the European Championships coming up in France in just a few weeks, Antonio Conte's charges continue their preparations with this friendly against the Tartan Army, who are still no doubt feeling devastated at their inability to qualify for the tournament themselves.
Good evening football fans! Welcome to LIVE coverage of the international friendly clash between Italy and Scotland from the Ta'Qali National Stadium in Malta.
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