U21 Euro: Azzurrini drawn with Slovenia, Spain and the Czech RepublicItaly will be in Group B of the tournament, which will take place in Slovenia and Hungary. The group stages will be played between 24 and 31 March, with the finals taking place between 31 May and 6 June
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Slovenia, Spain and the Czech Republic; these are Italy's adversaries in an expanded Euro U21 tournament, which adds in a group stage ahead of the finals in June. In the draw, which took place in Nyon today, Italy were placed into Group B for games in Hungary and Slovenia between 24 and 31 March 2022. The top two teams in the group will progress to the knockout rounds, also in the two Balkan nations, from 31 May to 6 June. The Azzurrini will face the Czechs first.
The Azzurrini coach Paolo Nicolato said, “once you get to this point in the competition, it’s a group like any other. It’s tough to make predictions. You need to look at the teams our opponents put out between now and March, so it can be hard to make any real judgements at this point. Spain are probably the favourites in the group, and one of the candidates to win the whole tournament. Slovenia are the hosts and are getting ready; they’ll have desire and determination on their side. Finally, we have the Czech Republic, who have traditionally produced great players and have had a role to play at European tournaments. We’ll be very cautious and try to be in the best shape possible, learning from our previous experiences.”
Italy U21 qualified for the tournament by winning Group 1, finishing four points ahead of runners-up Iceland and six ahead of the Republic of Ireland. The Azzurrini picked up eight wins, one draw and one defeat - in Kalmar against Sweden on 8 September - on the road to the tournament. 27 goals scored and just seven conceded for an Italy side, who will be dreaming of European glory 17 years after their last success on the continental stage.
The Groups for the U21 Euros
Group A: Hungary, Germany, Romania, Netherlands
Group B: Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, ITALY
Group C: Russia, Iceland, France, Denmark
Group D: Portugal, Croatia, England, Switzerland