📸: skysports.com

Italy returned to winning ways on Sunday afternoon with a 2-1 victory over Belgium in the third place playoff of the UEFA Nations League final.

The European Champions, who had seen their world 37-game unbeaten record ended in the semifinal by Spain were helped to victory by goals from Nicolo Barella and Domenico Berardi.

Played at the Turin stadium in Italy, the home side went two up after the break and Charles De Ketelaere created a nervy finish to the game , grabbing what turned out to be the consolation goal with four minutes of play remaining.

The Reds were without their captain and marksman, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, who both missed the game through muscle fatigue, while Kevin de Bruyne started from the bench.

The home team dominated much of the game, however, it was the hosts that hit the woodwork on three different occasions.

Alexis Salemaekers first hit the frame of goal in the first half, before Michy Batshuayi followed suite close to the hour mark.

Prior to Batshuayi's effort, the Italians took the lead when Belgium failed to properly clear a corner kick. The ball fell gloriously on the path of Barella who hit a fierce shot beyond Courtois in goal.

Italy were two goals ahead shortly after the hour mark when a clumsy challenge from Castagne brought down Federico Chiesa, who had been a thorn in the flesh of the Belgium defence. Berardi placed the ball into the left corner just getting by Courtois to further take the game away from their visitors.

Yannick Carrasco completed the hatrick of hitting the woodwork for Belgium as his effort came off the post with 10 minutes left, a goal, which if had gone in may have changed the face of the game.

It was the Club Brugge captain, De Ketelaere who finally pulled one back in the 86th minute, finishing off a quick counterattack started by Courtois from the pass of fellow substitute, Kevin de Bruyne.

Both teams return to action in midweek in their world cup qualifying campaign as they seek to cement their places in the Mundial in Qatar in 2022.