The hosts were in a similar situation to the Italians against France on the other side of the Atlantic.
After conceding a goal in the 66th minute, a penalty was awarded in the 78th minute by the Dutch referee, a decision that was overturned by the Italian referee.
That allowed a free-kick by Italy to be played into the net by Netherlands’ Matija Nastasic.
In the 83rd minute, Nastosic’s free kick was saved by Luka Modric and Italy won the game 3-1.
What the Italians could not get their heads around is how to defend against Nastasić’s free-kicks, as well as the penalty.
The Italians are accustomed to playing well against opponents with more physical play, but not against one who has the ability to turn a goal into a point.
A better defence would have allowed Nastatać to keep his composure, even if the penalty had been given to him.
What they should have done is made sure to play the ball back to the Dutch keeper.
The Dutch keeper had to make a strong stop to keep the ball out of the net, which would have made Nastic’s penalty much easier to save.
In addition, the Italians should have made a better effort to clear the ball from the net before it was played into goal, as Nastać’s cross was well placed.
It is not like the Dutch players were too sloppy in their defending, as it was a simple penalty.
A penalty would have given the hosts the chance to tie the game.
At this point, the Dutch coach and the national coach should have spoken to the Italian team about the incident and explained that they were to be reprimanded for their conduct.
They should have been given the benefit of the doubt that the referee’s decision was a mistake and they could have won the match.
Instead, the Italian players did not give their best, and Italy were beaten 2-1 in the shootout.