On the other hand, the more both sides play togethe,r the better they'll get, and the more they play in specific circumstances, the better they'll get at navigating them. Sorry, that's all of got, so thanks for your company and night-night.
- 2nd Half
- De RossiJorginho67'
- 1/2 Time
Italy - Scotland
International friendlies - 29 May 2016
International friendlies – Follow the Football match between Italy and Scotland live with Eurosport. The match starts at 19:45 on 29 May 2016. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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I am not at all sure either manager will have learnt anything from this. Italy are solid but lack edge, Scotland try their best but lack quality. THE END.
Full-time: Italy 1-0 Scotland.
Stephen Fletcher chases a lost cause and loses.
There shall be three added minutes.
Scotland win a throw-in!
Italy knock it around, Scotland jog around.
Bryson runs the ball into touch. Of course he does. But it wasn't anywhere near as brilliant as this.
We're nearly there.
Bryson comes on to win his third cap - McArthur has a rest.
Bonaventura replaces Giaccherini.
Italy will have to improve a lot to have a chance of winning the Euros, reckons the co-commentator, which entirely misunderstands the nature of Italy. And, in the meantime, Naysmith pokes a ball towards Ritchie from the right of the box. Ritchie does well, too, letting is roll across him before swivelling onto it and firing a shit into the side-netting.
To quote a rhetorical genius and primary school teacher of mine, this game is doing a lot of nothing.
By jove, I've got it! Scotland, in their shocking pink tops, look like a hen night.
Phillips, who, I'm afriad, has done nothing, is replaced by Burke.
Landmarks in Scottish popular culture (2)
It's that time of the evening when we're reduced to discussing landmarks in Scottish popular culture. So:
Di Rossi departs, Jorginho arrives.
Fletcher sends Anya away down the left and his low cross isn't too far from Fletcher. But it's far enough from Fletcher. Which, if I were a cross, would be my aim too.
For the Tartan Army, this should be a classic case of travelling to see your team and not bothering going in the game.
And that's enough for Candreva - he's replaced by Parolo.
So, will Scotland now investigate the posssibility of scoring a goal?
Two alterations for Italy: off go Darmian and Eder, on come Bernardeschi and Insigne.
GOAL! Italy 1-0 Scotland (Pelle). This is a superb goal. Di Rossi, easily the classiest player on the pitch, drills a ball that might well put Giaccherini in, but Eder intercepts and Pelle takes over, spanking a shot into the net at the right-hand post, halfway up.
Darmian finds space down the left but turns and checks - that's a season of Van Gaal for you. But the ball finds its way to Di Rossi, on the edge of the box and right of centre, and he wedges a delicious pass over the top for Candreva. He tries to cross low, but is blocked, and there follows a scramble before Scotland clear again.
Darmian runs at Russell Martin, at right-back since the break, and the cross is decent, low and hard. But there's no one there to profit and Scotland see the ball away.
Scotland are giving Italy a bit of gyp when they're on the ball now, instead of letting Chiellini and chums picks their passes in their own time.
Anya turns Barzagli and accelerates away down the left. But Barzagli does superbly to stay with him and avert the potential danger.
Stephen Fletcher, everyone!
Two half-time changes for Scotland: Berra and Fletcher (Stephen variety) come on, Paterson and McCormack go off.
Willie Miller doesn't see the need for Scotland to play five at the back given that this isn't a competitive game. Which is reasonable in one sense, but if Strachan wants his players to practise that formation, what's he meant to do? What is more glaring, in mine, is the failure to commit men forwards when breaking.
I guess it's possible that Gordon Strachan is trying to get his team practised at surviving an onslaught (it's not possible). He and his players just aren't willing to commit men forward when they get possession.
Half-time: Italy 0-0 Scotland. That was not great.
Darmian bustles to the by-line and digs out a cross that goes all the way back to the D, to no avail.
"Two more minutes to endure," comments the commentator - "of Italian attacks" is an entirely unnecessary conclusion to the sentiment.
There shall be two further minutes of pleasure.
Eder and Pelle appear to have contrived some space in the box, left-hand side, but Mulgrew dives into a challenge and Pelle goes down. He reckons it's a penalty but the ref is having nae such thing.
The standard of Italy's kits is staggeringly high. Scotland, meanwhile, are in pink. Not that there's anything wrong with pink per se, though not sure it helps them look fearsome, but this iteration is more training top than jersey.
Candreva, who has been Italy's best player, slings over another cross, and Martin does well to head clear.
Di Rossi finds Florenzi 30 yards from goal, right of centre, and he chucks all of himself into a low shot that taxes Marshall into a dive - the ball flies just wide.
Lovely one-touch stuff from Italy, the attack going from Bonucci in the right-back position, through midfield and over to Darmian down the left. His cross is deep and finds Candreva at the back post - he smashes a volley miles away from anywhere.
You can hear the shouts of the players, never a good sign - though Hanley and Mulgrew are currently discussing the merits of Brexit.
It's not so much that Scotland haven't mustered a shot - they haven't - but they haven't even got close to potentially, some time in the future, contemplating mustering a shot.
Antonio Conte is looking pensive and handsome; pensively handsome, handsomely pensive.
Oh this is lovely! Di Rossi, in ridiculous quantities of space just inside the Scotland half, powerdinks a ball over the top for Giaccherini, inside the box, left-hand side. He connects well on the volley but the ball skids off his laces and flies wide.
A pre-tournament friendly in Malta; I simply cannot understand why this is so half-arsed.
I suppose you could say Scotland are doing well to hang in there, but there's a lack of snap in their tackles at the moment.
This is not at all good from yerman Giaccherini. Di Rossi volleyed a ball into the path of Candreva, in behind Scotland. With Anya not entirely given to tracking back, he looked up and drove a low cut-back into the path of old mate, who, with time to spare, leant back and panelled a shot well over the bar.
Anya is playing down the left at the moment, but he might fancy his chances on the other flank against Darmian, whose confidence is fragile and who has also struggled this season more or less every time he's been confronted with an actual winger.
Italy are not replete with ideas nor bristling with conviction - especially odd given that some of them aren't certain of making the final squad for France.
Italy probe, Scotland shuttle.
Phillips gets at Chiellini, tries some stepovers, and that's the end of that. Seriously.
There's not much joy to be found througfh the middle of Italy's defence, but if Scotland can overload on the wing-backs, draw a centre-back over and get midfielders forward, they might start to enjoy themselves. In Mike Gibbons' excellent book on Euro '96, When Football Came Home, he mentions that Terry Venables liked full-backs on either side of a back three, so that if they needed out wide, they'd know what to do and not feel uncomfortable.
But this is nice, Mulgew arrowing a hard, low ball into Ritchie, who immediately lays off for Anya, nashing down the line. He can't make anything of it, but it's an improvement.
Scotland have mustered more or less nothing so far.
Candreva finds space down the right and acrs a deliberate cross towards the back post where Eder is loitering. He leaps, but so too does Martin, and the ball is worked clear.
Superb double-save from David Marshall! Italy win a free-kick 30 yards from goal, more or less dead centre, and Candreva drills a low one that goes through the wall. So the keeper sees it late but does enough to keep it out, then also shoves away Giaccherini's follow-up from just a few yards.
Scotland under Gordon Strachan are an excellent example of the importance of a manager's attitude. Gone is the inferiority complex that defined the likes of Vogts and Levein, and the upswing, not just in results but in performance, is there for all to see. A bit of confidence, a bit of intensity - it's not hard.
Scotland have barely had a touch so far, though they are denying Italy space so far too.
Talking of Charlie Mulgrew...
Lovely touch from Pelle, flipping the ball out wide to Candreva, on the volley with his back to goal. But Mulgrew is there to block him off and Scotland build their first attack of the evening.
Long cross from Darmian almost finds Giaccherini, but the ball just runs away from him.
Lots of 45 degree handshakes, even from Buffon and Fletcher. What is happening to this world?
Nothing better than hearing players drone their anthems. Barzagli is not a great singer and nor in Conte. No, you tell him.
It's hot in Malta - and Scotland will be back in three months time to begin their World Cup qualifying, er, "campaig", when it'll still be hot.
On the other hand, chuck Verrati and Marchisio in there, in front of those Juve centre-backs and Buffon, and it's an entirely different kettle of grappa.
Looking again at this Italy side, perhaps I was a little hasty; they are, after all, an Italy side. But if they did any damage in France, it would be outstanding even by their exulted standards.
The highlight of the evening is soon to be upon us: the Italian national anthem. Feel free to join me in joining in.
Wullie Mullah without mustache; what a world.
Wullie Mullah is in the studio, looking nothing like the debonair Panini hero of my childhood.
Following Scotland around looks like a proper lot of fun.
Hardarse though that Italy team is, though, it does not resound with attacking menace. If Scotland are sensible, they ought to make this a difficult game.
So, Hearts' goalscoring full-back Callum Paterson makes his debut tonight. Antonio Conte, meanwhile, has selected his usual set of handsome toughts.
Evening all and welcome to Malta!