Italy beat Luxembourg and secure qualification to the Euros. Gravina: “Result makes us proud”Thanks to goals from Scamacca (brace), Pinamonti and Marchizza, Nicolato’s side book their ticket for the final tournament, which starts at the end of March
Sunday, November 15, 2020
A Scamacca brace and goals from Pinamonti and Marchizza saw Italy U21 beat their Luxembourgian counterparts 4-0 in Differdange, thereby securing qualification for the group stage of the finals in Hungary and Slovenia. Alongside the hosts and first-place teams in qualifying, the five top-ranked group runners-up will also reach the finals.
After the victory over Iceland on Thursday, Nicolato’s Italy side have completed the first stage of their mission, meaning that the final game in qualifying - against Sweden - will only be a formality.
“Qualification has been difficult to obtain,” said Paolo Nicolato. “Our journey started two years ago and has seen many obstacles and over 70 players involved, who I, my staff and the Federation would like to thank for their amazing work.” Scamacca, who scored a brace, was over the moon: “We came out today with the aim of winning and qualifying, and we did that. It was a good night for me. I need to continue to work and grow in all aspects of the game.”
FIGC President Gabriele Gravina was full of praise for the Azzurrini: “The Under-21’s qualification for the finals makes us really proud. But beyond the result, we need to laud the spirit, organisation and values that Nicolato’s men bring to the pitch. I already congratulated Nicolato. The criticality of the current age put the players and staff under extra pressure. Yet thanks to the work of Club Italia, the entire staff and the Under-20 team, called upon to replace the older teammates on a decisive occasion, we were able to face all the difficulties, proving to be one great team.”
THE MATCH. There was only one change from the side that beat Iceland: Marchizza replaced the injured Lovato in the backline, joining Gabbia and Delprato. Nicolato stuck to the same 3-5-2 system, which was so successful on Thursday. Rovella, Pobega and Frattesi started in midfield with Bellanova and Sala out wide. Sottil and Scamacca returned up top.
The game took on much the same outlook as the 5-0 win in Castel di Sangro in September 2019; Italy dominated the game and the hosts were largely camped in their own half. As it was in Reykjavik, the weather conditions were far from ideal, with a strong wind and driving rain. But the Azzurrini needed just quarter of an hour to take the lead. Rovella took the corner, it deflected off Sottil’s back and Scamacca was there to turn it in. Italy doubled their lead on the half-hour mark, Scamacca bagging his brace as he headed home from Bellanova’s cross.
At the start of the second half, Nicolato sent on Frabotta, Ricci and Pinamonti in place of Bellanova, Pobega and Sottil. Despite being in control at 2-0, Italy continued to push forward. Scamacca missed a chance to complete his hat-trick, then Pinamonti hit one over the crossbar. This was, however, a prelude to the Azzurrini’s third on the night; Pinamonti beat goalkeeper Ottele with a pinpoint shot. Riccardo Marchizza wrapped it up in the 66th minute with a low, driven shot into the bottom left corner. It ended 4-0. On Wednesday (17:30 CET), the Azzurrini play their final qualifying game against Sweden, though Italy have reached their objective with one game to spare.