European Qualifiers, a perfect start for Mancini’s side: Barella and Kean score against FinlandThe Azzurri’s quest to qualify to Euro 2020 starts with a win as Roberto Mancini’s young side beat Finland 2-0 in Group J
Saturday, March 23, 2019
Italy made a solid start to their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. A young Azzurri side got the better of Finland, a team ranked 59th in the world and who recently won their UEFA Nations League C Group, thanks to goals from Nicolò Barella and Moise Kean.
It was a night of many debuts at the Stadio Friuli. Kean took to the pitch from the start up front alongside Bernardeschi and Immobile, while in defence Valencia’s full-back Piccini made his full debut next to Bonucci, Chiellini and Biraghi. The three midfielders were once again Jorginho, Barella and Verratti.
Italy started pushing from the off and took the lead just after seven minutes, when Barella’s shot, which was deflected by Vaisanen, found its way past Hradecky. The Azzurri tried to finish off the game immediately, but shots from Piccini, Bernardeschi, Kean and Biraghi didn’t quite hit the target.
Mancini’s side kept taking the game to the away side in the second half too and were rewarded with 16 minutes left to play: Immobile drove into the penalty area from the right side and found an unmarked Kean, who subsequently slotted it past Finland’s keeper. In doing so, the Juventus striker became the second youngest ever Azzurri player to score in a competitive match, aged 19 years and 23 days, just behind Bruno Nicolè, who netted his first goal aged 18 years and 258 days.
Finland were lucky not to concede another as the match was drawing to a close, with substitute and former Udinese player Fabio Quagliarella, who received a great reception, forced Hradecky into making a great save and also hit the crossbar. In the final minutes, manager Mancini also gave Nicolò Zaniolo his Azzurri debut, while Spinazzola came on for Biraghi.
In addition to three important points on their way to Euro 2020, Italy can celebrate a new wave of young, promising players and a great group spirit. There’s no time to rest though: the Azzurri will take to the pitch again on Tuesday in Parma against Liechtenstein.
Sunday 24 March (all times CET)
12:00 Training at the Stadio Friuli (behind closed doors)
18:30 Flight Trieste/Parma
Monday 25 March
11:00 Training Liechtenstein MD-1 at the Stadio Tardini (open to the media for the first 15 minutes)
12:30 Press conference Liechtenstein MD-1 (Head Coach and one player)
18:00 Press conference Italy MD-1 (Head Coach and one player)
18.30 Training Italy MD-1 at the Stadio Tardini (open to the media for the first 15 minutes)
Tuesday 26 March
11:00 Training (behind closed doors)
20:45 CET Italy vs. Liechtenstein at the Stadio Tardini
After the game, press activities and return to the respective clubs
Le statistiche degli Azzurri dopo il match
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