Nazionale U19

U19: The road to European qualification gets tougher after defeat to Estonia

In their Euros opener, Italy dominated, with Mancini and D'Andrea both hitting the crossbar, but fell short in the end against Estonia, who scored twice at the death on the counter-attack. Coach Bollini: "the result did not reflect how we played, a draw would have been more accurate." Saturday's match against Bosnia and Herzegovina (12.00 CEST kick-off) now becomes crucial.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

U19: The road to European qualification gets tougher after defeat to Estonia

Twenty-six shots on goal, hitting the crossbar twice, seventeen corners and many reasons to complain. In the small Polish town of Rumia, hosting its first European qualifier, the Under-19 team dominated for 90 minutes against Estonia, but that vital goal evaded them. And so in the dying minutes, desperate to take the lead, they charged forward for a corner but were punished on the counter-attack by Kondratski. And to add insult to injury, in the fourth minute of added time, Ounapuu, again on the counter-attack, put the game to bed and made it 2-0. A bitter loss for the Azzurrini, who now risk missing out on qualification to the second phase of the European Championship, in which the top two in each group and the best third-placed team progress. At this point, it becomes essential to claim all three points on Saturday (12.00 CEST) against Bosnia and Herzegovina, who face the hosts Poland in the other Group 5 match today at 18.00 CEST in Gdynia.

After Kumi was denied by Estonian goalkeeper Nomm, Italy came close to taking the lead through Tommaso Mancini, who hit the crossbar with a header from close range. There were plenty of chances in the second half as well: Regonesi's header again called Numm into action, then it was Sassuolo forward Luca D'Andrea, impressing on his Serie A debut in Turin on Saturday, who hit the crossbar directly from a corner. With the match seemingly ending 0-0, Estonia hit the first, and then second, and took home the points with minimal effort.

"The result didn't reflect our performance in the slightest" commented coach Alberto Bollini. "We would have just about taken a draw, let alone a defeat. For over an hour we dominated and deserved to take the lead. In matches like this, when you do everything you can to win, you have to have the composure to at least secure the draw; you can't let go and concede goals on the counter-attack like that". Italy will be feeling sorry for themselves, but all-in-all their performance was positive: "The boys gave it their all and now I just have to try to keep them calm. There is a lot of disappointment around, it is clear that this defeat causes problems for us”.


Schedule, results and Group 5 standings

Matchday 1 (21 September)

ITALY 0-2 Estonia
18.00 CEST: Poland-Bosnia and Herzegovina (Gdynia)

Standings: Estonia 3 points, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and ITALY 0 points.

Matchday 2 (24 September)
12.00 CEST: Bosnia and Herzegovina-ITALY (Rumia)
18.00 CEST: Poland-Estonia (Gdynia)

Matchday 3 (27 September)
14.00 CEST: Poland-ITALY (Gdynia)