Nazionale U21

Azzurrini take on Montenegro. Nicolato: “They’ll test us, we hope to commit fewer errors”

The Azzurrini are in action in EURO 2023 tomorrow at the Stadio Romeo Menti in Vicenza (17:30 CEST).

Monday, September 6, 2021

Azzurrini take on Montenegro. Nicolato: “They’ll test us, we hope to commit fewer errors”

Nicolato was pleased with the attitude displayed by a very young Azzurrini side in their EURO 2023 qualifying win over Luxembourg on Friday. The players are getting to know each other and are taking inspiration from the previous cohort for this new journey.

 “I want to see the same character that we had before,” said the Under-21 coach in his pre-match press conference. “Cohesion and a desire to reach common goals united us and we need to use that team as a model. But it takes time to build that sort of cohesion.”

But there really isn’t that much time in hand. The Azzurrini overcame their first obstacle with great aplomb and are now ready to face group leaders Montenegro at the Stadio Romeo Menti tomorrow evening. After losing Gallo and Piccoli, Cremonese defender Caleb Okoli (who was picked last Friday but pulled out of the squad), Pisa striker Lorenzo Lucca and Crotone forward Samuele Mulattieri have all joined the squad, the latter two having received their first call-ups at this level.

Even though they lost last time against Sweden, Montenegro are a dangerous team, as Nicolato explained: “Montenegro have a real team spirit and they’re really aggressive. Boys from that part of Europe never give up; they fight and they’ll test us. We need to take it step by step and work on our errors. We’ll make a few changes to the team that played against Luxembourg, but our effort over 90 minutes will remain the same. Some new faces will come in, but I won’t say which.”

The Azzurrini are returning to Vicenza almost three years after they last played in the city – a friendly against Tunisia on 15 October 2018. They have only faced Montenegro once, beating them in a friendly on 4 June 2014.

Squad list

Goalkeepers: Marco Carnesecchi (Cremonese), Alessandro Plizzari (Milan), Alessandro Russo (Alessandria);

Defenders: Raoul Bellanova (Girondins de Bordeaux), Riccardo Calafiori (Roma), Andrea Cambiaso (Genoa), Andrea Carboni (Cagliari), Gabriele Ferrarini (Perugia), Matteo Lovato (Atalanta), Caleb Okoli (Cremonese),  Andrea Papetti (Brescia), Lorenzo Pirola (Monza), Iyenoma Destiny Udogie (Udinese);

Midfielders: Marco Brescianini (Monza), Jacopo Da Riva (Spal), Nicolò Fagioli (Juventus), Filippo Ranocchia (Juventus), Samuele Ricci (Empoli), Nicolò Rovella (Genoa), Sandro Tonali (Milan);

Forwards: Matteo Cancellieri (Hellas Verona), Lorenzo Colombo (Spal), Lorenzo Lucca (Pisa), Samuele Mulattieri (Crotone), Eddie Salcedo (Inter), Kelvin Yeboah (Sportklub Sturm Graz).

Schedule (all times CEST)

Saturday 4 September

10.30 - Training (closed)

17.00 – Transfer to Vicenza Tiepolo Hotel

Sunday 5 September

15.30 - Coach Nicolato interview with RAI TV

17.30 - Training (closed)

Monday 6 September

10.30 - Training (closed)

13.45 - Coach Nicolato press conference (RAI in attendance, followed by a Zoom for the press)

19.00 - Visit to Stadio Romeo Menti in Monza

Tuesday 7 September

10.00 - Coach Nicolato interview exclusive to RAI TV

17.30 ITALY vs. MONTENEGRO - Stadio Romeo Menti, Vicenza. Press conference post-game and return of players to their respective clubs