Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio

Under 17 National Team

Roma 13/03/2018

Elite Round. Italy beat Iceland courtesy of Ponsi goal. Qualification now a step away

Elite Round. Italy beat Iceland courtesy of Ponsi goal. Qualification now a step away

The Azzurrini are a step away from qualification. The Under-17 National Team won the final match against Iceland to finish second in Group 5 but they have to wait for the results in other groups to see if they’ve mathematically qualified for the European Championship finals. The UEFA rules state that the seven best runners-up make the finals and Italy’s group was the first to finish. Second place does not guarantee progression because the rules also state that points won against the bottom side do not count in the final calculations. The three points won by the Azzurrini in the first match against Turkey (who lost today to qualifiers the Netherlands) statistically meant that past records suggest that Italy would qualify for the finals.  

The Azzurrini made the result secure with the Fiorentina defender Fabio Ponsi who scored after 50 minutes, nine minutes after Russo saved a soft penalty that was awarded by the Israeli referee Frid. 

Carmine Nunziata picked Ponsi, Armini, Gozzi, Iweru and Brogni in defence. Leoni, Gybuua and Ricci made up the midfield, Freddi Greco was in attacking midfield with Riccardi up front alongside the centre-forward Vergani. Italy dominated the first half. The Azzurrini controlled possession but had difficulties in finishing. On five minutes, an exchange between Vergani and Gybuaa gave the latter the chance to shoot and his effort just went just over after being deflected by Hardarson. There were three more chances for Riccardi, Vergani and Freddi which were saved by the Icelandic goalkeeper as the half finished goalless. 

The second half started with hearts in mouths for the Azzurrini. The referee gave a penalty to Iceland after not even a minute of play for contact during a shoulder-to-shoulder duel between Ricci and Karl Gunnarsson who went down in the box. Espanyol starlet Gudjohnsen took the spot kick but Russo went the right way to save to his left. The goal came in the 50th minute. Riccardi played in a strong cross that was met by Ponsi and Hardarson had no chance of keeping it out. From this point, the match was under control for Nunziata’s side and there were three more clear chances for Riccardi and Vergani with one hitting the post in the 54th minute as Vergani was unfortunate to hit the woodwork for the third time in the competition. 

The match ended without any more difficulties in particular for the defence and there were celebrations at the win and having wrapped up second while the team awaits news from the other groups. 

Matchday One (7th March)
16:00: Netherlands 2-1 Iceland (Sportpark Parkzicht – Uden)
19:00: ITALY 2-0 Turkey (Sportpark Zuideinderpark – Schijndel)

Matchday Two (10th March)
14:00 Iceland 0-3 Turkey (Sportpark Parkzicht – Uden)
17:00 ITALY 0-2 the Netherlands (Sportpark Zuideinderpark – Schijndel)

Matchday Three (13th March)
19:00 Netherlands 2-0 Turkey (Sportpark Parkzicht – Uden)
19:00 ITALY 1-0 Iceland (Sportpark Zuideinderpark – Schijndel)

Standings. Netherlands  9 points,  Italy 6, Turkey 3, Iceland 0