The Azzurrini's record against Lativa and TurkeyA second meeting with the Latvians, following a 0-0 in the reverse fixture, and ten against Turkey
Friday, February 9, 2024
After five months, the National Under 21s are ready to get back to action on their journey towards the European Championships Finals, scheduled for June 2025 in Slovakia. The Azzurrini have two home friendlies lined up as they face Latvia (Tuesday 22 March, Stadio Dino Manuzzi in Cesena) and Turkey (Tuesday 26 March, Stadio Paolo Mazza in Ferrara).
ITALY VS. LATVIA. The first opponent for the Azzurrini is Latvia. There has only been one previous meeting between the sides: this qualifying campaign's first game, played in Jurmala. In addition, that match is the only one to have taken place between Italy and Latvia at a National and Under-21 level.
ITALY VS. TURKEY. In the second match in March, the Azzurrini face Turkey. There have been ten previous matches between 1989 and 2023 and the head-to-head record is clearly in the Azzurrini's favour, who have seven wins and two draws, with one win for Turkey. Out of these, six have been friendlies (three won, two drawn and one loss); three European qualifying matches - the last three - that all ended 2-0 to us; one in the European Championships in 2000 in Bratislava, on 1 June, which ended 3-1 with goals from Spinesi, Baronio and Ventola. Three days later, Italy, with Tardelli in charge, would also beat the Czech Republic (2-1, Pirlo's brace) in the final to win their fourth continental title at this level. The goalscoring leader from meetings with Turkey is Mattia Destro, who scored three goals in the two matches in October and November 2011, after scoring a hat-trick against the Turks in the friendly match in Latina with the Under 19s the year before; Federico Macheda has two goals to his name thanks to his brace in 2010.
MEDITERRANEAN GAMES – Furthermore, against Turkey, there have been three important clashes at the Mediterranean Games, which has seen the Under 23 and 21s teams alternate over the years: three gold medals by Italy out of four overall have arrived by beating the Turks in the final: in 1959 in Beirut (2-1), in 1963 in Naples (3-0) and in 1997 in Bari (5-1). On this last occasion, the Italian Under-23 team were led by Marco Tardelli, who would go on to win the European Championships in 2000. Also on the pitch were two future World Champions, Gigi Buffon in goal and Francesco Totti in attack. In the final, goals from Totti (two), Nicola Ventola (two) and Moreno Longo.
PREVIOUS GAMES IN CESENA AND FERRARA. The Under 21s return to Cesena after 45 years: in February 1979, Italy, led by Azeglio Vicini from Cesena, was defeated by the Soviet Union (1-0, goal by Oleg Blokhin). In Ferrara, however, it will be the Azzurrini's ninth match: in the previous eight, they have won seven times (the last a 3-0 win against Iceland in November 2019, with a goal from Sottil and a brace from Cutrone) and only one defeat, in November 2018 in a friendly against England (Kean and a Solanke brace).