European qualifying, Italy host Sweden. Nicolato: “An opportunity for those who have not had many chances to play”Having secured qualification to the Euros, the Azzurrini will face Sweden in Pisa tomorrow, aiming to round off their 2020 season with a win
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Having secured qualification to the Euros, thanks to the win against Luxembourg on Sunday, the Under-21s will conclude their season against Sweden. A season comprising of seven wins, one draw and one loss, the defeat being against the very same Sweden side back on 8 September in Kalmar.
Tomorrow in Pisa at 17:30 CET, Italy will try to end their 2020 season on a high, and then move on to the group stage of the finals in Hungary and Slovenia, scheduled from 24 to 31 March 2021. Alongside the hosts and first-place teams in qualifying, the five top-ranked group runners-up will also reach the finals. There is now just one final test before the eight-team final phase next June.
“Two months ago,” said Paolo Nicolato, recalling the match in Kalmar, “there was a great disparity in the fitness of the teams, but tomorrow we hope the game’s a little different. For them, it is a game which they must win or they’re out, so they will be highly motivated. As always, I ask the lads to push to their limits and show their true talent.”
Compared to the match against Luxembourg, Nicolato will have to make do without the suspended Pinamonti, who scored the Azzurrini’s third goal in Differdange, while the four players who joined the squad yesterday from the Under-21 ‘B’ training camp could start: Monza defender, Lorenzo Pirola, his club mate Andrea Colpani, AC Milan striker Lorenzo Colombo and Bologna winger Emanuel Vignato. “There will be changes,” announced the coach. “Since we have been so good to qualify with a game to spare, it’s the perfect opportunity to see other players in the squad. It will be a big chance for those who have had less minutes on the pitch.”
In the meantime, the Under-21s continue to be a valuable pool of talent for the men’s team, and Bastoni and Locatelli’s excellent performances in the last Nations League match against Poland are a source of pride for Nicolato. “I'm very satisfied, but the credit is mostly theirs. Ours is a rewarding job, we try to provide the Head Coach with an ever-expanding pool of players from which to draw”. Meanwhile, it’s time to focus on the group stage of the European Championship, in which Italy will fight for a place in the Final Eight. “We will closely monitor the 70-80 players that we have followed so far and we will continue to follow them in the coming months. For the time being, we hope that other players will come out of the woodwork, so that in March we will be spoiled for choice.”
Goalkeepers: Marco Carnesecchi (Atalanta), Michele Cerofolini (Reggiana), Alessandro Russo (Virtus Entella), Stefano Turati (Sassuolo);
Defenders: Raoul Bellanova (Pescara), Alessandro Buongiorno (Torino), Giuseppe Cuomo (Crotone), Enrico Delprato (Reggina), Gianluca Frabotta (Juventus), Matteo Gabbia (Milan), Riccardo Marchizza (Spezia), Marco Sala (Spal), Lorenzo Pirola (Monza), Alessandro Vogliacco (Pordenone), Gabriele Zappa (Cagliari);
Midfielders: Marco Carraro (Frosinone), Andrea Colpani (Monza), Davide Frattesi (Monza), Youssef Maleh (Venezia), Filippo Melegoni (Genoa), Tommaso Pobega (Spezia), Samuele Ricci (Empoli), Nicolò Rovella (Genoa), Niccolò Zanellato (Crotone);
Attackers: Lorenzo Colombo (Milan), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo), Gianluca Scamacca (Genoa), Riccardo Sottil (Cagliari), Emanuel Vignato (Bologna).