Nazionale U21

Azzurrini begin San Marino and Rep. of Ireland preparations

At their training base in Milano Marittima, the squad received a visit from Arrigo Sacchi. They travel to Serravalle on Thursday: "We're in a good physical shape; the absences have been replaced by valid alternatives. Gnonto is an intelligent lad and knows it's a chance for him"

Monday, November 13, 2023

Azzurrini begin San Marino and Rep. of Ireland preparations

The Under-21s' final two 2025 European Championships qualifers of the year are set to be vital games: first up is San Marino (Thursday in Serravalle at 18:30 CET), and then the Republic of Ireland in Cork (Tuesday 21 at 18:30 CET). They are two games that will outline better how Group A finishes up. Italy, who met up in Milano Marittima this morning, and were paid a special visit by former Italy Head Coach Arrigo Sacchi, face their fourth and fifth test of the group stages, sitting on seven points following an excellent win against Norway that left lots of positive signs. Carmine Nunziata though has already turned his focus towards the upcoming fixtures.

"We take one game at a time," he explained in the press conference that kicked off this camp. "They are two difficult games that we need to perform in. On paper, the first against San Marino seems easier, but it will be our performance and the game that will determine what occurs. I will definitely give a chance to some players who have had less time on the pitch". On Thursday, Italy will play in Serravalle, whereas on Friday there is a vital game between Norway and the Republic of Ireland: "The first thing we need to worry about is ourselves and win our game, and only then will we see what happens elsewhere. They are two important games that will shape the final group standings: we need to give everything we have to take all six points."

There are some changes to the squad compared to October: Ruggeri, Kayode and Baldanzi are not included, while there is a place for Willy Gnonto, who has mostly been with the First Team squad in recent years: "I've spoken to Gnonto by telephone," Nunziata explained. "Obviously, every player prefers to stay with the first team, but Willy is an intelligent lad; he loves playing football and realises that this is an opportunity to make an impression and get back to where he was. The other absentees have been replaced by valid alternatives. We will assess their physical condition, but they seem fine." Not in the squad is Marco Nasti: "I've spoken with him, and he is still saddended by what happened; he realises he's at home right now because of that. He has paid for that gesture, but if he does return and plays with the others in the next call-up, then it won't be because out other factors". There is also a first call-up for Pisa defender Tommaso Barbieri: "He was with me in the Under 17 World Cup; he's an intelligent full-back, has good energy and decent technique. I wanted to bring in a couple of more players to assess them better up close".

Finally, the playing style and formation: "The most important thing is to win. Defensively, what we have seen so far is the most favoured one. Regarding going forward, it's true that we attack with a 4-3-1-2 formation, but it's up to the players to look for ways. The players provide the way we play and the spaces conceded by the opposition." 

Squad List
Sebastiano Desplanches (Palermo), Jacopo Sassi (Pro Vercelli), Gioele Zacchi (Giana Erminio)
Tommaso Barbieri (Pisa), Riccardo Calafiori (Bologna), Diego Coppola (Verona), Daniele Ghilardi (Sampdoria), Samuel Giovane (Ascoli), Gabriele Guarino (Empoli), Lorenzo Pirola (Salernitana), Riccardo Turicchia (Juventus), Mattia Zanotti (Sankt Gallen)
Midfielders: Alessandro Bianco (Reggiana), Edoardo Bove (Roma), Cesare Casadei (Leicester), Giovanni Fabbian (Bologna), Jacopo Fazzini (Empoli), Fabio Miretti (Juventus), Cher Ndour (Paris Saint Germain), Matteo Prati (Cagliari)
Giuseppe Ambrosino (Catanzaro), Lorenzo Colombo (Monza), Francesco Pio Esposito (Spezia), Wilfried Gnonto (Leeds United), Luca Koleosho (Burnley), Gaetano Pio Oristanio (Cagliari), Cristian Volpato (Sassuolo)

Thursday 16 November
San Marino vs. Italy (Serravalle, live on Rai 2)
Venerdì 17 November
18:00: Norway vs. Rep. of ireland
Tuesday 21 November
17:45: Turkey vs. Norway
18:30: Rep. of Ireland vs. Italy (Cork, live on Rai 2)
All times are CET

Table (games played in brackets): Rep. of Ireland (3) 9, ITALY (3) and Latvia (5) 7, Norway (3) 6, Turkey (4) 3, San Marino (4) 0

Friday 22 March 2024: Italy vs. Latvia
Tuesday 26 March: Italy vs. Turkey 
Thursday 5 September: Italy vs. San Marino
Tuesday 10 September: Norway vs. Italy
Tuesday 15 October: Italy vs. Rep. of Ireland