The first part of the healing process has been completed for Italy.
Looking to regain respect after failing to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup, the Azzurri advanced to next year’s Nations League final with a 2-0 win in Hungary thanks to goals from Giacomo Raspadori and Federico Dimarco on Monday.
Topping a group that also contains England and Germany, the Italians joined the Netherlands and Croatia in qualifying for the final four, which will host the Dutch in June.
Portugal or Spain will complete the line-up when they meet on Tuesday.
Unlike Italy, England and Germany will go to the World Cup in Qatar in less than two months and head to the Middle East after a 3-3 draw at Wembley Stadium, where all the goals were scored. the second half.
2-0 up, England scored three goals in the space of 12 minutes from the 71st through Luke Shaw, Mason Mount and Harry Kane’s penalty, only for Kai Havertz to pounce on England goalkeeper Nick Pope to tie at 87.
England’s winless streak extended to six games, with Gareth Southgate’s side ending their Nations League campaign without a win and relegated.
Germany are not in the best of form ahead of the World Cup, with just one win in their last seven matches.
Italy won Group A3 with 11 points, one more than Hungary, who went into the game in Budapest needing just a draw to reach the last four of the Nations League for the first time.
The Italians find it easier to qualify for the Nations League finals than for the World Cups.
They also reached the 2021 tournament, losing to Spain in the semi-finals at home in their opening months as reigning European champions.
Much has changed in the team since beating England in the European Championship final at Wembley last year, especially up front where Raspadori is making his mark.
Three days after scoring the winning goal against England in Milan, the Napoli striker put Italy ahead after Adam Nagy’s back pass fell short.
Wilfried Gnonto challenged goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi for the ball, which bounced free and Raspadori was alert to round Gulacsi to convert his finish in the 27th.
Gianluigi Donnarumma made a series of diving saves, including a triple save in a matter of seconds, before Nicola Barella played a pass at the other end to Bryan Cristante, who crossed for Dimarco to score from close range for his first goal with Italy.
Hungary’s late pressure failed to produce a goal.
“We were excellent for 70 minutes, the last 20 I didn’t like too much,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini said.
“We are happy, it is important to have reached the final four of the Nations League for the second time.”
MAGUIRE UNDER Scrutiny
Under pressure for his starting place in the England team, Harry Maguire did not help his cause against Germany.
The Manchester United centre-back was at fault for Germany’s first goal in the 52nd minute from Ilkay Gundogan’s place – Maguire initially gave the ball to Jamal Musiala, then clumsily fouled the teenager in the box moments later then- and then he was stripped in midfield to allow it. the Germans to break, culminating in a final curl from the edge of the area by Havertz.
Maguire has lost his starting place at United, but Southgate has kept his faith in the defender, who usually plays better for his country than his club. It was a tough night for England’s centre-backs, with John Stones forced off with a suspected hamstring injury.
England did well to fight back, with a Kane penalty taking his tally to 51 goals for England, two off Wayne Rooney’s national record, but another mistake proved costly.
Pope, replacing the injured Jordan Pickford, spilled Serge Gnabry’s low shot and Havertz was on hand to tap it in from close range.
“A couple of mistakes cost us the goals,” Southgate said, “but I’ll focus on the fact that they played with great spirit and showed the belief that we haven’t shown in recent games.”
There was a well-observed period of silence before kick-off as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who died this month.