Italy set for European Championship debut against Portugal in YerevanThe Azzurrini will be in action at the Banants Stadium on Sunday at 19:00 CEST
Saturday, July 13, 2019
The Under-19 National Team are set to kick off at 19:00 CEST on Sunday 14 July against Portugal in the European Champions with the Banants Stadium in Yerevan the venue. The same fixture was the final of last year’s competition in Finland with Portugal lifting the trophy as Paolo Nicolato’s Azzurrini fell at the last hurdle but with heads held high.
It won’t be an easy task for Carmine Nunziata’s side. Italy will also face hosts Armenia and Spain while attempting to make the semi-finals with the top two sides from both groups progressing. Furthermore, Nunziata will have to do without one of his veterans Antonio Candela. The Genoa full-back suffered a hamstring injury in training which has ruled him out of the tournament. Fiorentina defender Gabriele Ferrarini has been called up to replace him.
The two most recent friendlies between the countries saw Federico Guidi’s side lose 1-0 in September before winning the second match 3-1. Both sides have key players missing with Davide Bettella, Raoul Bellanova, Salvatore Esposito and now Antonio Candela out for Italy but Portugal have retained their style of play as they attack and move the ball quickly. They usually line up in a 4-3-3 formation and the 18-year-old Sporting Clube de Portugal player Felix Correia is generally regarded as the main threat.
The Italy side has been rejuvenated with nine underage age players (born 2001) and along with Hellas Verona defender Destiny Udogie who was born in 2002. Many of the players have experience of playing in the last two finals of the Under-17 European Championships. The group mostly came through together at Coverciano before developing further in the different Italy sides as the Coach Carmine Nunziata explained after he previously finished second while in charge of the Under-17 National Team and he also worked with the Under-21 National Team at the competition on home soil. “For the most part, these are the guys who started in the Under-15 National Team, they know each other and they’re very motivated. It’s important to be able to count on the strength of the group and as individuals, they’ll have the chance to show their value.” He has few doubts about the opponents Portugal. “They’re the reigning champions and it will be a difficult game in which two different schools of football meet. The Portuguese play attacking football thanks to their skill and speed. With it being the opening match of this European Championship, it will be important to have maximum focus and bring the right tempo to the game while using all of our mental and physical resources.”
The Azzurrini’s journey so far. The team arrives in Armenia after brilliantly navigating the first two qualification rounds. In the first back in Estonia last October, they won three games against Estonia, Finland and Denmark. In the Elite Round in Padova, Italy draw 2-2 with Belgium before beating Ukraine 3-1 and Serbia 2-0;
The European Championship groups. Italy are in Group A along with Portugal, hosts Armenia and Spain. The matches will be on 14, 17 and 20 July with the capital hosting all of the fixtures. The matches will be at 21:00 local time or 19:00 CEST. Group B consists of the Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland and France. The top two sides will qualify for the semi-finals on 24 July. The final will be on 27 July in the capital.
Goalkeepers: Marco Carnesecchi (Atalanta), Alessandro Russo (Genoa);
Defenders: Nicolò Armini (Lazio), Gabriele Bellodi (Milan), Antonio Candela (Genoa), Gabriele Corbo (Bologna), Niccolò Corrado (Inter), Paolo Gozzi Iweru (Juventus), Destiny Udogie Iyenoma (Hellas Verona);
Midfielders: Nicolò Fagioli (Juventus), Lorenzo Gavioli (Inter), Jean Freddi Greco (Torino), Hans Nicolussi Caviglia (Juventus), Manolo Portanova (Juventus), Samuele Ricci (Empoli);
Forwards: Davide Merola (Inter), Elia Petrelli (Juventus), Roberto Piccoli (Atalanta), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo), Eddie Anthony Salcedo Mora (Inter).