Portugal keeps Italy off scoreboard 0-0 to move on to Nations League finals

Italy's Nicolo Barella (l.) vies for the ball against Portugal's Bruma (r.) Photograph:( Agencia EFE )

Agencia EFE Milan, Italy Nov 18, 2018, 07.52 AM (IST)

The Portugal soccer squad tied Italy 0-0 this Saturday at Milan's San Siro Stadium and so added the point it was lacking to move on to the finals of the UEFA Nations League, to be contested in June 2019.

Portugal withstood the pressure of an Italy that dominated the match throughout the first half and set up many opportunities to take the lead - particularly two beautiful chances for Ciro Immobile, whose shots unfortunately went astray. 

Fernando Santos's Portugal team, led by the defense of goalkeeper Rui Patricio, remains unbeaten in Group 3 and became the first squad guaranteed a place in the semifinals next June. 

For its part, Italy had to settle for a tie, the sixth consecutive on its home turf, and wrapped up its drive toward the UEFA Nations League finals with one win, two ties and one defeat. 

At the start it all looked different, when Italy's control of the ball pretty much kept Portugal at its own end of the field for the entire first half, but was itself held to a tie until halftime thanks to some deft blocks by Portugal's Rui Patricio and Immobile's misplaced shots at goal. 

And then, as the minutes passed in the second half, the Italians lost their intensity while Portugal gained theirs to make it a very even contest. And despite Italian coach Mancini replacing Immobile with the much more dynamic striker Kevin Lasagna, the score ended as it began, 0-0.

Story highlights

Portugal withstood the pressure of an Italy that dominated the match throughout the first half and set up many opportunities to take the lead - particularly two beautiful chances for Ciro Immobile, whose shots unfortunately went astray.