Italy 4-0 Estonia: Grifo hits brace as Azzurri stretch unbeaten run to 20 games
Vincenzo Grifo
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Federico Bernardeschi and Riccardo Orsolini added to Vincenzo Grifo's brace as Italy registered a routine victory over Estonia in Florence.

Vincenzo Grifo scored his first international goals as Italy stretched their unbeaten run to 20 games with a 4-0 friendly win over Estonia at Stadio Artemio Franchi on Wednesday. 

The Azzurri have now won 15 of their 20 matches since a 1-0 Nations League loss to Portugal in September 2018 and they never looked in danger of tasting defeat against a side 97 places beneath them in the world rankings. 

Led by Alberico Evani with Roberto Mancini self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, the hosts went ahead after 14 minutes courtesy of Grifo's maiden Italy goal and Federico Bernardeschi doubled their advantage.

Grifo then added a second from the penalty spot in the 75th minute before substitute Riccardo Orsolini added another from 12 yards to help Italy wrap up the most routine of wins. 

Freiburg forward Grifo marked his fourth appearance for Italy with a sumptuous opener, whipping a half-volley in off Marko Meerits' left-hand post from 25 yards after a lay-off by Kevin Lasagna.

An unmarked Lasagna missed a glorious chance soon after, the Udinese forward failing to make a clean connection with Bernardeschi's teasing cross from close range.

Italy's dominance was rewarded shortly before the half-hour mark, though, when Bernardeschi cut in from the right to bend a left-footed strike into the bottom corner from just outside the penalty area – his first international goal since October 2019.

Emerson Palmieri lashed wide following an incisive move on the edge of the penalty area after the interval, while Grifo saw an effort deflected narrowly wide.

Grifo got his second when he thumped home from 12 yards after Roberto Gagliardini was tripped inside the penalty area by substitute Georgi Tunjov.

Orsolini then wrapped up the scoring in the 86th minute, sweeping home his second international goal from the spot after forcing Henri Jarvelaid into a rash challenge in the area.


What does it mean? Azzurri brush aside lightweight visitors

Estonia were hardly the most challenging of opponents, Karel Voolaid's side failing to register a single shot on target, but the absent Mancini will be pleased his side went about their business with the minimum of fuss. The hosts carved out 14 shots on goal and enjoyed a whopping 71 per cent possession in what was a dominant performance.

Bernardeschi delivers all-action display

The Juventus forward scored a superb goal to double his side's advantage before the interval and was a handful before his departure in the 71st minute. He made a game-high three key passes and put in seven crosses – four more than any of his team-mates.

Soriano fails to impress

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Roberto Soriano was only one of four Italian outfield starters to play the full 90 minutes, but he did not make much of an impression. The Bologna midfielder failed to have a shot on target, made just 28 successful passes – the fewest of any Italy player to take part in the entire game – and lost possession 11 times.

What's next?

Both sides are in Nations League action on Sunday. Italy host Poland in a crunch Group A1 clash, while Estonia face a trip to North Macedonia.