Italy, runners up at Euro 2012, tuned up for Euro 2016 with a 2-0 friendly win over Finland in Verona, Italy, on Monday.
Antonio Candreva’s first-half penalty with Daniel de Rossi’s contribution after the break gave the Azzurri a useful confidence booster ahead of their tough Group E opener against Belgium on Monday next week.
Lazio winger Candreva scored from the spot in the 27th minute after earning the penalty himself.
He then turned provider to set up Roma midfielder De Rossi in the 71st minute, this pair advancing their claims for a start in future Chelsea boss Antonio Conte’s starting lineup in Lyon, France, next week.
The 1968 continental champions, who got the better of Scotland last week, tomorrow are to arrive in Montpellier, their base in France.
Italy, trounced by Spain in the final four years ago in Kiev, limped out of the 2014 World Cup at the first round.
After their Euro 2016 curtain-raiser against Belgium, they face Sweden on Friday next week in Toulouse, France, followed by the Republic of Ireland in Lille, France, four days later.
In other Euro warm-up action on Monday, Poland, missing star striker Robert Lewandowski, were held 0-0 by Lithuania in Krakow.
Poland are drawn in Group C in France. They face Northern Ireland on Sunday, followed by Germany on Thursday next week and Ukraine on June 21.
In Reykjavik, defender Birkir Mar Saeverson fired a stunning goal as Iceland romped to a 4-0 win over Liechtenstein in their final tune-up ahead of Euro 2016.
Kolbeinn Sigthorsson opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a simple tap-in before Saeverson thundered in the second on the volley 10 minutes later after Liechtenstein looked to have cleared the danger from a corner.
Alfred Finbogasson netted a third goal four minutes before halftime and 37-year-old striker Eidur Gudjohnsen rounded off the scoring in the 82nd minute, starting and finishing a slick move.
Iceland, who are to appear in the finals of a major tournament for the first time in France, open their Euro 2016 campaign against Portugal on Tuesday next week before facing Hungary and Austria in Group F.
STANDINGS: The Uni-President Lions’ victory pushed the CTBC Brothers to first place after they won their third straight game, beating the Fubon Guardians 6-3 The big bats of the Uni-President Lions were on fire in the CPBL yesterday as they crushed the Rakuten Monkeys 21-5 in Taoyuan, with outfielder Lin An-ko driving in seven runs on five hits and two homers. The result enabled the CTBC Brothers to take the No. 1 spot after they beat the Fubon Guardians 6-3. It was a highlight reel for the Taiwanese-Argentinian star Lin, who drilled two homers amid a heated home-run race between himself, now on 16 for the season, and Lions teammate Su Chih-chieh, who is on 18. Lin performed outstandingly, collecting five hits at six at-bats to drive
GERMAN LEADER: Liverpool’s 19th English title, one behind Manchester United’s record of 20, owes much to the transformational impact of coach Juergen Klopp Liverpool on Thursday ended a 30-year wait for the English title as they were crowned Premier League champions, triggering jubilant scenes as fans ignored social distancing measures to celebrate uproariously. Juergen Klopp’s men sealed a 19th league title with a record seven games remaining after Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat of second-placed Manchester City left the defending champions an unbridgeable 23 points adrift. Liverpool’s first English title since 1989-1990 — delayed by the COVID-19 suspension — earns them their maiden trophy in the Premier League, which was introduced in 1992-1993 and has been won 13 times by their archrivals Manchester United. Klopp was in tears
WOLFSBURG BEATEN: Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored from a penalty, his 34th league goal this season, finishing as the top Bundesliga scorer for the fifth time Werder Bremen gave themselves hope of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga by thrashing Cologne 6-1 to grab a playoff place on the last day of the season, while champions Bayern Munich routed VfL Wolfsburg before lifting the trophy on Saturday. Japan striker Yuya Osako scored twice as Bremen stole the lifeline of the relegation/promotion playoff place from Fortuna Duesseldorf, who lost 3-0 against Union Berlin and were relegated with SC Paderborn, finishing one point behind Bremen. “We put in a great performance under pressure, but we are aware that we haven’t achieved anything — in the relegation playoff, the emotions will be
Alexis Lafreniere was supposed to walk on stage on Friday night in Montreal as the top pick in the NHL draft. After the COVID-19 pandemic paused the hockey season and postponed that possibility, Lafreniere was supposed to find out Friday night where he would be going when the league held its draft lottery. Instead, he must wait a little bit longer. Chaos reigned at the NHL draft lottery, with the No. 1 pick still up for grabs in a second lottery drawing among the eight teams that lose in the qualifying round of the playoffs — if play resumes. “We all knew