Pessina scores winner as Italy beat Wales to finish as Group A winner while Wales finish second to qualify for last 16 at Euro 2020
Matteo Pessina's goal in the first half was the difference as Italy beat Wales 1-0 to finish Group A with a flawless record with their opponents finishing second to reach the knock stages of Euro 2020.
Italy looked strong despite Roberto Mancini's eight changes to his team, with Andrea Belotti and Federico Chiesa both looking sharp and frustrating the Welsh defence as they look to open the scoring in the first 30 minutes.
Chris Gunter came closest to scoring for Wales in the first half, but he saw his headed effort on the roof of the net.
Pessina broke the deadlock in the 39th minute as he slotted home Marco Veratti's well-taken free-kick with a beautiful side-foot finish.
In the opening ten minutes of the second half, Federico Bernardeschi hit the post and Ethan Ampadu was sent off making the task on hand difficult for Wales.
Wales held on and could have earned a point if Gareth Bale controlled his back-post volley.
Robert Page and his players were delighted to know that they finished second on goal difference after Switzerland beat Turkey 3-1 in the other Group A game.
Group A winners Italy will now face Grop C's second-placed team at Wembley in the second round next Saturday while Wales will face Group B's runners-up in Amsterdam on the same day.
What the managers and players said
Roberto Mancini, Italy coach: “We couldn’t have done better. Maybe we could have scored more goals but it was extremely hot and a very physical game, so the lads did really well. It’s important that the identity of the team remains the same even when we change three or four players. They all know what to do and the end product does not change."
Robert Page, Wales coach: "We didn’t want the game to open up and be end-to-end. We didn’t want to concede two or three goals and we were hoping to use the three up front on the break, but of course when we were down to ten men it was tough and we did well at the back."
Marco Verratti, Italy midfielder: "When we say that this team is for everyone, we’re not just saying that. There are 26 of us and we're all proud to represent our country and ready to give our best.