Nazionale U21

Zanotti: "We are on the right track"

The defender, who is out on loan from Inter, was one of the stars of the journey in Argentina: “A good group is forming. I’m like Dimarco? That’s the dream, but it’s important to stay grounded”.

Friday, November 17, 2023


There is a calmness in the training camp at Milano Marittima where the Italy Under 21s have already put the 7-goal win over San Marino behind them. They sit at the top of the group heading into Wednesday’s game against Ireland in Cork (18:30 CET, live on RAI 2) which will be crucial to the qualification process for Euro 2025. The match in Serravalle allowed Carmine Nunziata to rotate his squad, allowing for those who have played less to get some miles in their legs. Alessandro Bianco, for example, who made his Under 21 debut and scored his first goal. Mattia Zanotti managed to get some rest after being the star of the 2nd place finish at the Under 20 World Cup in Argentin last June. The defender is currently out on loan from Inter, playing abroad for the first time with Swiss club San Gallo.

After analysing the San Marino match ("We were good at making it easy, no match is won before you go out and play"), he spoke about his experience on the other side of the world: "A great journey achieved with Nunziata beside us. We try to bring some of that spirit to the Under 21s, with players who are already part of this team and we try to do the best we can. We need to find the right set-up in games, but we are on the right track”. Zanotti’s journey includes 3 appearances in Serie A with Inter (the first in December 2021, against Cagliari), and has taken the defender from Lonato (Brescia) abroad: "I'm having fun and the level is good. For me, it's the first time outside Italy, alone at home and with a new language. I'm enjoying the journey, after asking Gnonto for some advice about what it would be like. He and Latte Lath (who came up through the Atalanta system and also played for San Gallo) convinced me to accept the offer. Also, I am very proud to have represented Lonato and Brescia in the National team."

Federico Dimarco also played in Switzerland, at Sion, a few years ago. He is a full-back like Zanotti and is back in a Nerazzurri shirt with a great history. "The comparison is still too broad, I'm calm and I think of each game at a time, then obviously it would be wonderful to follow in his footsteps. Dimarco shows that with hard work, you can do it, even if it is important to stay grounded. For sure, Inter's youth sector is one of the best in Italy. Everyone has the dream of playing for Inter because there are also coaches and trainers who do an exceptional job". On Tuesday, they face Ireland: "They will rely on athleticism and physicality, but we want to go there and win."

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

The Schedule

Friday 17 November
11:00 CET: training at Stadio Todoli in Cervia (closed)
14:00 CET: player's press conference (Zoom and in person)

Saturday 18 November
15:00 CET: Training at Stadio Macrelli in San Mauro Pascoli (open to the press)

Sunday 19 November
10.30 CET: Chartered flight Bologna-Cork and transfer to Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork
18.30 CET: Training (open to the press)

Monday 20 November
12:00 CET: Nunziata press conference (Zoom and in person)
18.30 CET: training at Turner's Cross Stadium in Cork (first 15' open to the media) 

Tuesday 21 November
18.30 CET: Ireland vs. ITALY ('Turner's Cross Stadium, Cork)

Press conference and return to Italy to follow