Federico Chiesa was open in admitting that earning a place in the Under-21 National Team was one of his goals for the season and he’s now looking to make the most of it following the call-up. “It’s a wonderful milestone for me to be in this setting, it’s a dream come true to be part of this group which will go to play in the European Championship in June,” said Chiesa. “I’m earning my place here and when I’m with Fiorentina, I always look to give my all.”
With his father Enrico supervising him, Federico has passed through the Under-19 and Under-20 National Teams. “My father has influenced my development a lot by giving me great advice, more mental than technical because he rightly leaves that to my coach,” Chiesa added.” The Under-21 side are preparing for a friendly against Poland in Krakow before coming back to face Spain at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Monday 27th March. “I look to live day by day,” continued the Azzurrini player. “Now, I’m focused on doing well in these two games for the team, we’re certainly capable of winning the Euros as lots of young players are getting more chances in Serie A and because of this you can see a rosy future for Italian football.”
Genoa midfielder Danilo Cataldi is also convinced that the Under-21 side has it in them to do something of note at the upcoming European Championship. With his teammate Manuel Locatelli, he visited the Liceo Scientifico Primo Levi where they spoke with students. “I believe that we have a strong team, a really strong team and we should aim to win the Euros,” said Cataldi. “We have it in us to win, I hope that this will be a good year after the disappointment of two years ago when we missed out on a big opportunity.”
The team was in training in Rome while Atalanta forward Andrea Petagna left the camp to move up to the senior side after he was called up by Gian Piero Ventura to replace Manolo Gabbiadini. Atalanta defender Andrea Conti also had to withdraw on account of an injury.
The 26 players called up to the Azzurrini squad by Luigi Di Biagio will gather in Rome on Sunday and matches will provide tests against two fellow finalists before the European Championship between 16th and 30th June in Poland.
The match at the Olimpico will also provide another opportunity for experimentation with VAR (Video Assistant Referees) in online made in collaboration with Lega Serie A according to FIFA and IFAB protocol. After the technology made its debut in the match between Gian Piero Ventura’s Italy and France in Bari on 1st September, tests were repeated in November for Italy vs. Germany (senior), Italy vs. Denmark (Under-21) in Bergamo and VAR was used in online mode for the first time in Italy at the Under-19 match in Udine between Italy and Spain. VAR was tested again in online mode on 22nd February and 8th March in Bologna and Empoli as the cities hosted the Under-19 National Team against France and the Under-18 National Team against Denmark.
Goalkeepers: Pierluigi Gollini (Atalanta), Simone Scuffet (Udinese);
Defenders: Antonio Barreca (Torino), Davide Biraschi (Genoa), Kevin Bonifazi (Spal), Davide Calabria (Milan), Mattia Caldara (Atalanta), Alex Ferrari (Hellas Verona), Adam Masina (Bologna), Nicola Murru (Cagliari);
Midfielders: Marco Benassi (Torino), Danilo Cataldi (Genoa), Alberto Grassi (Atalanta), Manuel Locatelli (Milan), Luca Mazzitelli (Sassuolo), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Sassuolo), Valerio Verre (Pescara);
Forwards: Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Alberto Cerri (Pescara), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Federico Di Francesco (Bologna), Andrea Favilli (Ascoli), Luca Garritano (Cesena), Federico Ricci (Sassuolo).
Staff – Delegation Head: Giorgio Bottaro; Accompanying Director: Vincenzo Marinelli; Coach: Luigi Di Biagio; Assistant Coach: Carmine Nunziata; Secretary: Emiliano Cozzi; Goalkeeping Coach: Antonio Chimenti; Fitness Coach: Vito Azzone; Match Analyst: Filippo Lorenzon; Doctors: Angelo De Carli and Luca Gatteschi; Phyiotherapists: Enzo Paolini and Guido Mauro Ferrini; Nutritionists: Cristian Petri.
Schedule (All times CEST)
Tuesday 20th March
13:15 Meeting with the press at the hotel (Players)
16:30 Training (Open to press)
Tuesday 21st March
18:25 Flight from Rome to Frankfurt/ Krakow, transfer to Q Plus Hotel
Wednesday 22nd March
13:00 Meet the press in the hotel (Coach)
17:00 Training at Cracovia Stadium (First 15 minutes open to the press)
Thursday 23rd March
10:00 Training (closed)
20:45 POLAND vs. ITALY Under-21, Cracovia Stadium
Meeting with the press afterwards
Friday 24th March
10:00 Training (closed)
17:05 Return Flight
Saturday 25th March
16:00 Training (Open to the press)
Sunday 26th March
13:00 Meeting with the press at the hotel (Coach)
15:30 Training (Closed)
Monday 27th March
21:00 ITALY –SPAIN Under 21, Stadio Olimpico
Meetings with the press and return home to follow