France beat error-prone Italy 3-1 in friendly
BARI: Traditionally feared for its stalwart defense, Italy made three elementary errors to gift European runner-up France a 3-1 win in a friendly on Thursday.
Defender Giorgio Chiellini was to blame for France's opening two goals, and 17-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma failed to protect his near post to let in the third on his international debut.
Anthony Martial opened the scoring and Olivier Giroud and Layvin Kurzawa also found the target for France after Graziano Pelle equalized.
FIFA used the match as an offline test of video assistance for referees, with the results to be unveiled on Friday in a news conference with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
It was a disappointing debut for new Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura, who replaced Antonio Conte after the European Championship.
"After three days of training I couldn't expect more," Ventura said. "Of course I can't be satisfied with the result. ... If we analyze this match it will be easy to see the errors that we made."
Martial easily beat Gianluigi Buffon for his first international goal after collecting a through ball from Paul Pogba that went under Chiellini's boot.
Pelle equalized four minutes later, turning around his marker to score inside the near post after Eder worked hard to provide the cross from the right flank.
In an entertaining first half, Giroud restored France's advantage with an angled shot after Chiellini lost track of him inside the area. It was Giroud's 21st goal for France, including three at the European Championship.
"I know I could have done better," Chiellini said. "On Giroud's goal I didn't turn around quick enough. I should have read the situation a bit faster. I could have done better, and we all could have done better."
Italy was without usual center back Leonardo Bonucci, who was tending to his ill son.
After substitutions from both sides during the second half, Kurzawa scored from a tight angle between Donnarumma and the post — also his first international goal.
Considered an heir to longtime Italy starter Buffon, Donnarumma replaced Buffon to start the second half and became the youngest goalkeeper to ever play for the Azzurri, and the youngest player overall in modern times.
The previous record was held by Piero Campelli, who was 18 when he defended Italy's goal in 1912.
The youngest player overall for Italy was Rodolfo Gavinelli, who was 16 when he appeared in 1911. Defender Giuseppe Bergomi, who made his national debut at 18 in 1982, had held the modern record.
Buffon was already 19 when he made his debut in 1997.
Trailing 2-1 in the first half, Italy protested for a perceived handball by Kurzawa following a header from Daniele De Rossi — a possible discussion topic for Infantino.
Before kickoff, a minute of silence was observed to mourn the nearly 300 people killed in a devastating earthquake last week. Buffon also made an appeal to the crowd to help with relief efforts, and the Azzurri wore black armbands.
Both sides open qualifying for the 2018 World Cup next week. Italy visits Israel on Monday and France travels to Belarus a day later.