Nazionale U20

Italy's World Cup dream ends as Ukraine make the final

Baletsa's goal won it in Gdynia as Scamacca's late equaliser was disallowed. Third-place playoff on Friday. Gravina: "A great Italy all the same"

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Italy's World Cup dream ends as Ukraine make the final

Like two years ago, Italy went out in the semi-final of the Under-20 World Cup. Buletsa’s goal was enough for Ukraine to make the final after they showed that they were a solid and well-organised team who were capable of hurting the Azzurrini when it mattered and they had a touch of luck when Scamacca’s late goal was disallowed with the use of VAR. On Friday, Nicolato’s team will play Ecuador in the third-place playoff after they lost to South Korea. 

Ukraine were unbeaten up to this stage, beating the USA 2-1, Qatar 1-0 and drawing 1-1 with Nigeria in the group stage. They then beat Panama 4-1 in the round of 16 and Colombia 1-0 in the quarter-finals.

Nicolato stuck with the 3-5-2 formation. Plizzari was in goal behind Gabbia, Del Prato and Ranieri in defence. The midfielder consisted of Bellanova, Frattesi, Esposito, Pellegrini and Tripaldelli. Scamacca and Pinamonti formed the front two.

It was a cagey first half with both sides careful not to leave space open and stifle the opponents. There were few chances for either side and set pieces were the only things keeping the goalkeepers busy. Ukraine went closest before the break when Korniienko fired over Plizzari’s goal.

The second half started at a higher tempo and Alberico came on for the injured Frattesi. Italy seemed to be taking control of the game and had a couple of chances to take the lead through the captain Pinamonti. Petrakov’s side were, however, able to strike against the run of play through Buletsa who finished excellently first-time from a low Konoplia cross.

Nicolato’s side responded and almost equalised straight after when Scamacca was inches away from getting on the end of Alberico’s cross. On the break, Ukraine had a chance to extend the lead which Korniienko wasted all alone in front of Plizzari.

In the 79th, Italy received further encouragement as Popov was shown a second yellow card. Italy got up the pitch although Kashchuk hit the woodwork at the other end. With time running down, Capone missed the target from a great position. Then, Scammaca set himself up for a magnificent volley to spark wild Azzurrini celebrations. It was the Italian forward’s first goal of the competition. However, the joy proved to be short-lived when the goal was disallowed following a VAR check for a debatable Scammaca foul on Bondar. That killed the team’s dream of making the final and the third-place match on Friday will be up next.

Nevertheless, it was still a great achievement to make it so far. "All the same, it was a great Italy!" said FIGC President Gabriele Gravina. "An extraordinary group with guys certain to have bright futures. They deserved to make the final and showed it on the pitch. Congratulations to them, Nicolato and all the staff."

Coach Paolo Nicolato was on the same wavelength: "It was a match that was always going to be decided by individual episodes. I’m proud of the guys, they gave a lot and can’t have any regrets. We accept refereeing decisions. To take a decision as big as that at that moment, the referee must have been sure of what he had seen."



Goalkeepers: Alessandro Plizzari (Milan), Marco Carnesecchi (Atalanta), Leonardo Loria (Juventus);
Defenders: Luca Pellegrini (Cagliari), Alessandro Buongiorno (Carpi), Alessandro Tripaldelli (Crotone), Luca Ranieri (Foggia), Matteo Gabbia (Lucchese), Raoul Bellanova (Milan), Davide Bettella (Pescara), Antonio Candela (Genoa), Enrico Delprato (Atalanta);
Midfielders: Salvatore Esposito (Ravenna), Davide Frattesi (Ascoli), Domenico Roberto Alberico (Hoffenheim), Andrea Colpani (Atalanta);
Forwards: Gabriele Gori (Livorno), Marco Olivieri (Juventus), Gianluca Scamacca (Sassuolo), Andrea Pinamonti (Frosinone), Christian Capone (Pescara).

Staff – Delegation Head: Massimo Paganin; National Teams Co-ordinator: Maurizio Viscidi; Coach: Paolo Nicolato; Assistant Coach: Mirco Gasparetto; Secretary: Fabio Ferappi; Fitness Coach: Vincenzo Pincolini; Goalkeeping Coach: Matteo Mareggini; Match Analyst: Francesco Bordin; Doctors: Matteo Vitali and Luca Labianca; Physiotherapists: Nicola Sanna and Andrea Mangino; Nutritionist: Alessio Colli.

Italy 0-1 Ukraine 
Ecuador 0-1 South Korea