Nazionale U21

European Championship, Belgium vs. Italy on the horizon. Di Biagio: “We need to win and not make any calculations”

A place in the semi-finals will be up for grabs in Reggio Emilia tomorrow. The Head Coach: “We need to score goals.” Kean: “We’re ready.”

Friday, June 21, 2019

European Championship, Belgium vs. Italy on the horizon. Di Biagio: “We need to win and not make any calculations”

The Azzurrini’s final Group A game in the Under-21 European Championship is just around the corner: at 21:00 CEST on Saturday, Italy face a do-or-die clash against Belgium following their defeat to Poland. It’s a game where an enormous amount will be at stake: a place in the semi-finals of the tournament and with it a spot at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“I’m seeing a side that wants to play today, not tomorrow,” said Luigi Di Biagio in his pre-match press conference. “Our objective is to win and then wait to see what’s gone on elsewhere. A complicated game is ahead of us, but we don’t have any other alternatives.”

As regards Belgium, they are surprisingly yet to pick up a point after two group games. “They are a great team and therefore it won’t be easy at all. I know their Head Coach Walem and I know that his lads have potential,” Di Biagio continued. He then returned to the topic of the Poland match: “I’d take playing like we did last time out, because a team that creates so much is rewarded in the end. We need to improve our precision.”

Bonifazi and Orsolini are injured, while Zaniolo is suspended. As regards the Azzurrini’s starting line-up, nothing is set in stone: “We have a number of solutions, we need to assess a few of the players carefully today so we can decide if they can start. During the tournament so far, we’ve shown that we’re capable of playing in more than one formation. It depends on the game we want to play. We’ve changed formation on a number of occasions, I’ve explained this to the players.”

The Head Coach didn’t shy away from the importance of tomorrow’s match, with a place in the semi-finals on offer. “From the start of the European Championship, everyone has said that we’ll win it with ease. If we don’t qualify for the semi-finals, we won’t have done a good job. I already know how good the others are: some people only seem to be grasping this now.”

By Di Biagio’s side at the press conference was Moise Kean, who is looking to score his first goal of the competition: “It will be one of the best games I’ve played,” said the striker. “We hope to pick up an excellent result and reach the last four. Belgium are a great side but we’re aware of the strength we have.”

After the records he’s set with his club Juventus, the Italy forward is now focused on the showdown with Belgium, just like the rest of the team. It’s a match where everyone will have to make a contribution, not just individuals. “I’ve always been used to putting my teammates first, and I’m ready to do the same again tomorrow. It’s certainly the case that I’ve played important games this year that have helped me a lot. The Italy shirt, however, always gives you extra motivation. We’re ready.”

Schedule for the European Championship

Saturday 22 June 2019
21:00 BELGIUM – ITALY at the Stadio Città del Tricolore in Reggio Emilia

Sunday 23 June 2019
Players depart from the squad should they be eliminated.

27 June

Potential Olympic play-off
28 June in Cesena (21:00)

European Championship final
30 June at Stadio Friuli in Udine (20:45)