Italy held by Slovenia. Bollini: “Many chances but no rub of the green”The second game of this Elite phase for the Azzurrini ended goalless. Their push for a winner, especially in the second half, was in the end to no avail, as they came up against a strong, Slovenian defence. Their final game is on Tuesday against Belgium, with everything to play for
Saturday, March 25, 2023
The concerns ahead of the game proved to be correct. After the exciting win over Germany last time out (3-2), the Azzurrini were unable to break down a solid Slovenian defence in their second game in this Euro Elite Phase, being held in Bremen. The match ended 0-0, with a first half that saw little action and threat from either side, while in the second Italy were the more likely to score, but couldn't find the breakthrough. Faticanti was influential on many occasions in driving his team forward, but luck wasn't on the side of Italy, especially when Pisilli's shot was cleared off the line. A wild storm hit Obervieland in the last 15 minutes of the game, certainly not helping the Azzurri cause, with Vignato and Pisilli the most dangerous in attack, along with Kayode on the right, who was a real thorn for Slovenia.
Alberto Bollini used all of his cards available to him, putting on his three remaining subs, but it wasn't to be. The Slovenian fortress held firm right until the end, blocking out every Azzurrini attack: “The first half was complicated," said a disappointed Azzurrini Head Coach at the end of the game, "because we struggled to get between the lines, with a rock-solid defence in front of us. It wasn't easy to get through. In the second half, we absolutely dominated play and the lads made some good chances to get in front. When the match report says that we had a goal cleared off the line, and other golden chances, as well as the number of corners and set-pieces, then you have to say we were a bit unlucky in front of goal and didn't get the rub of the green."
At 16:00 CET, Germany and Belguim meet in the other group game, which will define better Italy's place in the table. Only the team finishing first will go through to the Finals, and it's looking increasingly likely it will all go down to the last matchday.
The match. With respect to the Germany game, Bollini made several changes: Mastrantonio (replaced by Palmisani) and D’Andrea (Hasa in his place) were both suspended, but Dellavalle was back in the centre of defence - after also being suspended against Germany - with Werder Bremen defender Chiarodia making his debut on the left-hand side of defence. Kumi came in on the left-hand side of midfield replacing Lipani, with Vignato starting from the first whistle. But the first half saw two cagey teams playing deep, with very little action and no real attacking threat on either goal. The Slovenians, playing with five at the back, and the Azzurrini, with their trequartista, both gave away very little space, but at the same time played with a low block to stop any chance of a fast counter. Faticanti tried to make something happen but his balls up to Esposito were unproductive. After 28 minutes, Hasa felt a muscle injury and asked to be substituted; he was replaced by Raimondo. The only scare of the half came one minute in added time when the Slovenian keeper caught the leg of Raimondo with his hand, sending him over in the box, but the ref adjudged it not to be worthy of a foul and the half ended.
The Azzurrini were more forthright after the break, and within six minutes had their first chance: Vignato's right-footed effort whistled just past the post and behind. After 72 minutes, it was Raimondo this time whose shot drifted just wide of Stubljar's right post. The Azzurrini pressure didn't let up and Faticanti played in Pisilli on the right-hand side of the box, whose shot was saved, but it came back to the feet of the striker, who again got his shot off but this time was saved on the line by a defender and cleared away. On 83 minutes, Vignato's free-kick just outside the area cleared the wall, but it was too central with the Slovenian keeper well-positioned. Four minutes before the end of normal time, Kayode, from the right, crossed and Vignato, on the turn, was unable to find the corner, ending up in Stubljar's arms. Two minutes later, Lipani, on as a sub for Kumi, inside the box, after the ball bounced around, had a great opportunity, but his shot on the half-volley on the turn, at the near post, was deflected behind by a defender. The last chance came in stoppage-time with Faticanti setting up Kayode just outside the opponent's area, but his shot was once again saved by Stubljar.
Slovenia 0-0 Italy
Slovenia (3-5-2): Stubljar, Kuzmic (C), Klasnja, Zulic (Trdin 90’); Ilenic, Turudija (Pahic 60’), Lorber, Selan (Sitar 79’), Milic; Cerne (Marsetic 46’), Potocnik (Kasalo 79’). Head Coach: Zlogar. Unused subs: Dermastija, Ristic, Krupic, Ivansek.
Italy (4-3-3): Palmisani; Kayode, Dellavalle, Mane, Chiarodia (Regonesi 70’); Pisilli, Faticanti (C), Kumi (Lipani 70’); Hasa (Raimondo 28’), Esposito, Vignato (Koleosho 89’). Head Coach: Bollini. Unused subs: Amatucci, Missori, Stivanello.
Referee. Andreas Argyrou CYP; Assistants: Marios Kalogirou CYP and Lasse Koslowski GER; Fourth official, Florian Badstübner GER
Booked: Kuzmic, Esposito, Turudija, Regonesi.
Goalkeepers: Davide Mastrantonio (Triestina), Lorenzo Palmisani (Frosinone);
Defenders: Fabio Christian Chiarodia (Werder Bremen), Lorenzo Dellavalle (Juventus), Michael Olabode Kayode (Fiorentina), Filippo Calixte Mane (Borussia Dortmund), Filippo Missori (Roma), Iacopo Regonesi (Atalanta), Riccardo Stivanello (Bologna);
Midfielders: Lorenzo Amatucci (Fiorentina), Giacomo Faticanti (Roma), Justin Kumi (Sassuolo), Luca Lipani (Genoa), Niccolò Pisilli (Roma);
Forwards: Luca D’andrea (Sassuolo), Francesco Esposito (Inter), Luis Hasa (Juventus), Luca Warrick Daeovie Koleosho (Espanyol), Antonio Raimondo (Bologna), Samuele Vignato (Monza).
Fixtures and standings - Group 2
Wednesday 22 March
Germany 2-3 Italy
Belgium 0-0 Slovenia
Saturday 25 March
Slovenia 0-0 ITALY
Germany vs. Belgium, 16:00 CET, Sportplatz Vinnenweg in Bremen
Table. Italy 4 pt, Slovenia 2, Belgium 1, Germany 0
Tuesday 28 March
ITALY vs. Belgium, 12:00 CEST, Marko Mock Arena Oberneuland in Bremen
Slovenia vs Germany, 12:00 CEST, Weserstadion Platz 11 in Bremen