Amsterdam, Feb 7 (IANS) An inexperienced Dutch team was on its way to beat Italy in a friendly in Amsterdam, but the visitors produced a late equaliser for a 1-1 result.
Dutch head coach Louis van Gaal chose a line-up with Robin van Persie the most experienced player with 71 internationals, while the other ten combined for a total of 42. Ajax defender Daley Blind and Benfica forward Ola John made their debuts, Xinhua reported Wednesday.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli fielded more experiences like Gianluigi Buffon, Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Pirlo. AC Milan duo Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy formed the frontline together with Antonio Candreva.
The young Dutch team made the best impression in the first half and also created most chances. Van Persie sometimes moved back from the central striker position to help build a Dutch attack. He also created space for his team-mates with Adam Maher coming into scoring position twice in the beginning. Goalkeeper Buffon saved both shots.
In the 33rd minute, the Dutch took a deserved lead. Van Persie again built the attack when he passed to Daryl Janmaat on the right side. The cross was too far for the Italians to defend when Lens found the net from a bounce-back from Maher's shot.
Italy had one opportunity for Balotelli after a deep Pirlo pass, but his shot went wide.
Van Persie did not come back in the second half, just like Italian Pirlo. With more substitutions along the second half, the competitiveness of the game decreased, although Dutch substitute Arjen Robben, who came in for Van Persie, seemed motivated to do Italy some damage.
With shots by Strootman, Lens, Robben and substitute Dirk Kuyt 'Oranje', the Dutch remained the most dangerous and better team, although Italy came close to the equaliser with a late header by substitute Daniel Osvaldo.
In injury-time substitute Marco Verratti was able to profit from chaos in Dutch defence and scored.