Nazionale U21

Nicolato: “We need to try to build something new, there’s an opportunity to grow”

The Azzurrini are ready to return: tomorrow at 17:30 CEST, they’ll face Slovenia in a friendly ten months on from when they were last in action

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Nicolato: “We need to try to build something new, there’s an opportunity to grow”

“A much-changed team will take to the pitch against Slovenia, we need to build something new with new players now involved. They’ll certainly make life difficult for us, but right now there’s a need to assess things.” In an interview with RaiSport, Paolo Nicolato spoke about Italy Under-21s’ friendly against Slovenia tomorrow, which will kick off at 17:30 CEST at the Stadio Guido Teghil in Lignano Sabbiadoro.

The Azzurrini will finally take to the pitch ten months on from when they were last in action, and it’ll be an important test ahead of their European qualifying fixture against Sweden at 18:30 CEST on Tuesday 8 September in Kalmar. “It’s not an easy period for anyone, and this applies to the football world. There are new situations to deal with: we don’t want to experience them but need to adapt. They also provide an opportunity to grow. Football matches without fans aren’t proper games, it must be said. The enthusiasm that a crowd brings provides extra excitement and motivation. During tomorrow’s game, we’ll see if there are lads who can lend us a hand. Meanwhile, against Sweden, we’ll play those who can give us more certainties considering that the Swedish league wasn’t stopped: they’re midway through the season over there and many of Sweden’s players play in the Swedish top flight. We’ll have to try to overcome the difficulties with our technical ability and spirit.”

Ten players have received their first call-ups to the Under-21 National Team for the upcoming double-header: “We need to get to know each other a bit more, and these restrictions certainly don’t help off the pitch” continued the Head Coach. “However, they are enthusiastic and have a desire to put in the hard work. They are here because they have quality, they shouldn’t be assessed critically but helped instead. They will need some time to get to know each other too, we must help each other.”

Italy are currently second in Group 1 with 13 points from five games (four wins and one draw, 15 goals scored, 0 conceded), three points behind Ireland, who have played two games more. Italy’s aim is to qualify for the European Under-21 Championship, which will take place from 31 May to 6 June 2021 in Hungary and Slovenia: “The fact that the European Championship was pushed back a year means that some players will be more experienced should they join up with the senior National Team. We need to prepare, it’s a delicate period which we are yet to really discover. It’s not easy to predict how the players will develop, we’re attentive and will try to do our work as best we can in full knowledge of the current difficulties.”

The schedule (all times CEST):

Wednesday 2 September

10:30 - Training (behind closed doors)

18:30 – Training at the Stadio G. Teghil in Lignano Sabbiadoro (open to the press for the first 15 minutes)

Thursday 3 September

17:30 - Friendly match ITALY VS. SLOVENIA (Stadio G. Teghil in Lignano Sabbiadoro)

Friday 4 September

10:00 - Flight Venice-Kalmar

17:30 - Training (behind closed doors)

Saturday 5 September

10:30 - Training (behind closed doors)

17:30 - Training (behind closed doors)

Sunday 6 September

11:00 - Training (behind closed doors)

Monday 7 September

18:30 - Training at the Kalmar Arena

Tuesday 8 September

18:30 EURO qualifier SWEDEN VS. ITALY (Kalmar Arena)

Wednesday 9 September

10:00 - Flight Kalmar-Milan-Rome