Football 1 year ago

Candreva inspires Italy to friendly win

  • Candreva inspires Italy to friendly win

    VERONA, ITALY - JUNE 06: Antonio Candreva of Italy celebrates after scoring his opening goal from the penalty spot during the international friendly match between Italy and Finland on June 6, 2016 in Verona, Italy. (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)

Italy midfielder Antonio Candreva converted a penalty and set up a second goal in a 2-0 win over Finland in his side's final Euro 2016 warm-up in Verona.

The 29-year-old winger slotted home a 27th-minute spot kick after being brought down and delivered an inch-perfect cross for Daniele De Rossi to head home midway through the second half.

Candreva was a handful for the visitors throughout the evening, showing blistering pace as well as neat footwork.

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With their coach Antonio Conte fielding a three-pronged attack of Stephan El Shaarawy, Ciro Immobile and Simone Zaza, the Italians pressed high and hard to keep the Finns on the back foot from the start.

Finland, who failed to qualify for the Euros, packed their defence but were fortunate not to concede more goals as they made several desperate clearances, with goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky keeping out a Zaza sitter in the closing stages.

"We have a week of work left to improve some details and gain even more intensity," Conte told RAI television in a pitchside interview.

"I am very happy with the performance because we had a good rhythm for 60 minutes. This is great bunch of lads who are willing to work hard as a unit and put their hearts on the national team sleeve."

Italy open their Group E campaign against Belgium in Lyon next Monday, rounding out their preliminary stage with games against Sweden in Toulouse on June 17 and Ireland in Lille on June 22.

Meanwhile in Reykjavik, Iceland warmed up for the Euros by thrashing Liechtenstein 4-0.

Defender Birkir Mar Saeverson fired home a stunning volley after Kolbeinn Sigthorsson had opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a simple tap-in.

Alfred Finbogasson netted a third four minutes before halftime, with 37-year-old striker Eidur Gudjohnsen rounding off the scoring in the 82nd minute, starting and finishing a slick move for Iceland, who will be appearing in the finals of a major tournament for the first time in France

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