Nazionali Giovanili

Under 17 and 19s make history as they reach their fifth consecutive Finals

Massimiliano Favo's Italy will play in the Under 17 European Championship Finals from 20 May to 5 June in Cyprus, while Bernardo Corradi's side will be in Northern Ireland from 15 to 28 July

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Under 17 and 19s make history as they reach their fifth consecutive Finals

The Under 17 and Under 19 national teams' qualification to the European Championships Finals have now become a pleasant tradition. Yesterday afternoon, a few hours apart from each other, Massimiliano Favo's boys first got the job done in Finland before Bernardo Corradi's side did the same in Friuli-Venezia Giulia to book their place in the next round, which will see them involved in Cyprus (from 20 May to 5 June) and Northern Ireland (15 to 28 July), respectively. It is the fifth consecutive season together that both Azzurrini teams have achieved this, becoming the only football federation to have achieved so: a record, enhanced by the Under-19 side's numbers who, led by the talent of Simone Pafundi (five goals in six appearances), have ended the elite phase on maximum points (not happened since 2008) with ten goals scored (the best attack in Europe in this qualifying stage) and only two conceded (only Ukraine did better in this round with zero).

Maurizio Viscidi, coordinatore delle Nazionali giovanili azzurre

"Reaching the Finals for the fifth consecutive year with both the Under 17 and 19 teams is a small record," highlighted the National Youth Sector Coordinator, Maurizio Viscidi, "and one that only we have achieved from the whole of Europe. It is testimony to the continuity of the work we, as Club Italia, have been doing for the last 14 years: these qualifiers are the fruit of our great work and that of the Federation. Never, like this year, have they been combined with performances by offering attacking and proactive football."

"In the October draws," he continued, "we were in Pot 4, both with the Under 17s and Under 19s, and I won't deny that I was a bit concerned". A fear that was first whisked away by Massimiliano Favo's boys: "From the first qualifying phase to today, they have improved so much: it's all thanks to the scouting, the staff and, above all, to Favo, who has been able to improve those things that were not working. In the friendlies against Spain and France, we some some big improvements, the same ones that allowed us to finish first in a group that was tough on paper (group 3, ed.), with the Netherlands (seeded in the category, ed.), Belgium and Finland."

Bernardo Corradi: "We were in Pot 4 in the draw," the Italian Youth National Team Coordinator recalls, "mainly down to some unlucky moments (e.g. the five posts hit against Switzerland in the first qualifying phase, ed.) rather than poor showings, but we were lucky to avoid the so-called big ones. Credit for this great result, first of all, goes to the Federation which, by applying as host country, gave us the chance to play at home in such a beautiful location as Friuli-Venezia Giulia. And then to Corradi and the staff, who have been able to greatly improve the quality of the team, as evidenced by the numbers produced in official matches."

Bernardo Corradi, tecnico della Nazionale Under 19

UNDER 19. The draw for the European Championship Finals, scheduled from 15 to 28 July in Northern Ireland, will take place on Wednesday 17 April (16:00 CEST) in Belfast which, together with Larne, will be one of the two cities, with three stadiums overall, hosting the competition (Seaview Stadium, National Football Stadium at Windsor Park and Inver Park). Italy, the reigning European champions, will have to defend their title against the attacks of Denmark, France, Norway, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the hosts, Northern Ireland. The eight participating teams will be divided into two groups of four and the top two in each group will advance to the semi-finals. Furthermore, the competition will also serve as a qualifier for the Under-20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in Chile in 2025.

The IFA (Irish Football Association) had already organised the final phase of the tournament in 2005 and was supposed to host the 2020 one, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Seaview Stadium in Belfast: group stages and the FIFA U-20 World Cup play-off;
Inver Park in Larne: group stages;
National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast: semi-finals and final.

Massimiliano Favo, tecnico della Nazionale Under 17

UNDER 17. The draw for the European Championship Finals, scheduled from 20 May to 5 June in Cyprus, will take place on Wednesday 3 April (18:00 CEST) in Ayia Napa. The Azzurrini, who in the last edition (Hungary 2023) were knocked out in the group stage, will be aiming to lift the trophy - currently held by Germany, who were eliminated in the elite phase - and battling it out with Austria, Croatia, Denmark, France, Wales, England, Poland, Portugal, Czechia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and the hosts, Cyprus. The sixteen qualifiers will be divided into four groups of four, with the top two in each group advancing to the knockout stages (quarter-finals, semi-finals and final).

The CFA (Cyprus Football Association) was supposed to host the Finals of the tournament in 2021 but, due to the COVID-19 emergency, the competition was cancelled. Previously, however, it had hosted the Under-16 European Championship in 1992, the predecessor of the current Under-17 format, and that of the Under 18 six years later.

Dasaki Achnas Stadium in Dasaki
Ammochostos Epistrofi Stadium in Larnaca
Antonis Papadopoullos Stadium in Larnaca
AEK Arena inLarnaca
Limassol Stadium in Limassol
Paralimni Municipal Stadium Tasos Markou in Paralimni