Nazionale U18

Heading towards the World Cup. A goalless draw in second friendly against Serbia

The Azzurrini unable to break through despite dominating much of the match. The team will get together from 6 to 13 October for the final training camp prior to the World Cup in Brazil

Monday, September 9, 2019

Heading towards the World Cup. A goalless draw in second friendly against Serbia

After having beaten Serbia 2-0 on Saturday, the second friendly between the sides in their double-header finished 0-0 at the Tre Fontane in Rome. Nunziata’s team played some good football and were in control for almost the entire game, but the Serbs were better organised this time out and goalkeeper Katic was in inspired form as Italy fired blanks. Sebastiano Esposito was the first man to threaten for the Azzurrini, going close on two occasions with two dangerous free kicks after four and 23 minutes. Italy were in control, keeping possession and maintaining the right amount of distance between the lines. In the 40th minute, Esposito sent Monaco Cudrig through on goal, but a Serbian defender was on hand to clear after the forward had got the better of the goalkeeper. Four minutes later, Brentan was denied by an instinctive save by Katic from close range.

The teams therefore went into the break level. After the restart, the Serbs look to hit Italy on the break, making the most of Simic’s technical ability and speed in doing so: shortly before the hour mark, the forward hit the bar with a left-footed strike with his left foot. The Azzurrini responded quickly, with Katic again coming to the rescue to keep out Tongya’s effort after the latter had combined well with Esposito.

Nunziata made a number of changes, including replacing Nicolò Cudrig with Gaetano Oristanio. The Inter striker brought new energy to the Azzurri attack, coming close on two occasions: with 63 minutes on the clock, his shot towards goal was cleared away by the opposition defence just a few centimetres from the goal line, while Kalic produced another fantastic stop just a minute later to deny the same player from close range.

The match might have finished in a stalemate, but Nunziata was satisfied with what his team had produced: “It’s not easy to produce two performances at the same level during this period of the season, both because of the hot weather and the fact that the players’ fitness levels still aren’t suited to maintaining the demands that an entire match asks of them,” the Head Coach said. “Despite this, the lads maintained control of the ball and continued to try to get a result. This was a very important test ahead of the World Cup, which will begin in just over a month in Brazil.”

Prior to departing for South America, the team will take part in another training camp from 6 to 13 October.