Nazionale U18

Mediterranean Games, Raimondo inspires Italy to a semi-final victory over Morocco

A brace for the Bologna striker, with France now the only side standing in the Azzurrini’s way

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Mediterranean Games, Raimondo inspires Italy to a semi-final victory over Morocco

The Under-18 National Team ran out 2-1 winners over Morocco in Sig, Algeria, to book their place in the final of the Mediterranean Games. After progressing to the semis following a first-place finish in Group B, the Azzurrini managed to overcome the Moroccans thanks to another inspired performance from Bologna striker Antonio Raimondo, who bagged a brace. Now, the only side standing in the team’s way are France, who beat Turkey 2-0 in the other semi-final. The final is scheduled for 21:30 CEST at the Complexe Olympique in Oran, with Italy aiming to win the competition for the fifth time after their fourth and last gold medal 25 years ago.

The first half saw Raimondo and Ignacchiti have chances for Italy and Azzurrini goalkeeper Mastrantonio deny Baallal and Sadik. Then, ten minutes into the second period, Franceschini’s team broke the deadlock as Raimondo finished off Accornero’s perfect assist. Six minutes later, Raimondo controlled a long ball forward, beat half of the Moroccan defence and netted a brilliant second. Italy defended their advantage well, although Khalifi’s penalty reduced the arrears late on. It didn’t matter, however, as the Azzurrini progressed to Monday’s final.

“We’re delighted to have made the final,” said Franceschini. “The pitch conditions caused us a few problems but, in the second half, we fixed a few things and it went better. These lads are enjoying an incredible experience, both because of the spirit of the Mediterranean Games and the fact we’re playing in front of large crowds. These are things that make you grow, irrespective of the result. Now, we’ll look to prepare as best we can for the final against France, a strong side that we’re well-acquainted with. It’ll be vital to recuperate both physically and mentally. But this is a group that has made a lot of progress in the last year.”

Fixtures, results and standings in Group B

Matchday 1 (26 June)
Greece 1-2 Turkey
ITALY 1-0 Portugal

Matchday 2 (28 June)
ITALY 4-0 Greece 
Portugal 2-0 Turkey

Matchday 3 (30 June)
ITALY 0-0 Turkey 
Portugal 0-2 Greece 

Standings: ITALY 7 points, Turkey 4, Portugal and Greece 3

Semi-finals (2 July)

France 2-0 Turkey
ITALY 2-1 Morocco

Finals (4 July)

Third-place playoff, Turkey vs. Morocco (18:00 CEST, Complexe Olympique)

Final, ITALY vs. France (21:30 CEST, Complexe Olympique)