Nazionale U21

Volpato: “From a poster of Totti in Sydney to a goal for the Under 21s”

Born and raised in Australia, the player scored his first goal for the Under 21s one day after his 20th birthday. “In Ireland to win”, his words to RaiSport. Nunziata’s squad goes to Cork at the top of the group after the Irish defeat to Norway.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Volpato: “From a poster of Totti in Sydney to a goal for the Under 21s”

Italy Under 21s will arrive in Ireland as leaders of the group. The Irish defeat to Norway made the Group A fight for Euro qualification even tighter: Italy with 10 points, Norway and Ireland with 9, Latvia with 7 (with a game in hand). On Sunday morning, the Azzurrini will leave behind the training camp at Milano Mirattima to leave on a flight to Cork, where the Tuesday evening match against Ireland is scheduled to take place (18:30 CET, live on Rai 2). Italy face the Irish side in the qualifying round for the third year running.

VOLPATO. If things had been different, Cristian Volpato would have been at the Qatar World Cup a year ago with an entirely different National team, Australia. Volpato said “no, thanks” and chose to play for Italy and on Thursday in Serravalle he received one of the best presents for his birthday, one day before San Marino vs. Italy: his first goal for Italy Under 21s. Another important milestone for the boy born in Camperdown who started his career in Australia (at the AC Milan Academy and the Sydney FC and Sydney Wanderers), and decided to take his life and career into his own hands. “I told my parents I would want to play in Italy” were his words in an interview with RaiSport. “I tried out for Trastevere (a side in a historic part of Rome), and Roma scouts were there. In 15 minutes, I managed to score a hat trick and provide an assist, that’s how I managed to get the call from the Giallorossi”.

From then things have only gone upwards: first the Primavera, then the call-up to the first team and his first goal in Serie A last February against Hellas Verona at the Olimpico. “That day was a dream: the fans singing your name is something I’ll never forget”. Currently, though, Volpato is at Sassuolo, the city where the Under 20s game against Portugal will be held on Tuesday night (14:00 CET, live on RaiSport): Cristian, originally called up by Bollini (scoring a goal against Germany for the Under 20s in the Elite League in September), was called-up to Nunziata’s squad after Tommaso Baldanzi pulled out. “All the players that came up through the Sassuolo system did well, and for me it is the right step”, he added “Dionisi is good with young players, I like the club and I admire Berardi: he made me feel at from my first day, I am near him in the dressing room, and I think we are sort of similar”.

On Thursday against San Marino, Nunziata needed quality, as he said himself, and decided to trust Volpato as an attacking midfielder: he opened the scoring, hit the crossbar, and had another chance. “I have always been in this role and I like it the most, but I have also played a lot on the right wing. The important thing is to be playing”. Speaking of midfielders who became strikers, Volpato described his bedroom in Australia: “I had posters and photos of all the Italy players of 2006. Most of all Francesco Totti, even if I must admit that I respect Cristiano Ronaldo a lot and the attitude he has on the pitch”.

Tuesday, Ireland vs. Italy: “We had the right approach against San Marino. Nunziata said he wants 6 points; we want to do what the Coach asks of us and get them”.

Thursday 16 November
San Marino 0-7 Italy
Friday 17 November
Norway 3-2 Republic of Ireland

Tuesday 21 November
17.45 CET: Turkey vs. Norway
18.30 CET: Republic of Ireland vs. Italy (Cork)

Standings (games played): ITALY (4) 10, Norway and Republic of Ireland (4) 9, Latvia (5) 7, Turkey (4) 3, San Marino (4) 0

Friday 22 March 2024: Italy vs. Latvia
Tuesday 26 March 2024: Italy vs. Turkey
Thursday 5 September 2024: Italy vs. San Marino
Tuesday 10 September 2024: Norway vs. Italy
Tuesday 15 October 2024: Italy vs. Republic of Ireland