The Under-21 National Team took on Pescara in a practice match in front of around 3000 spectators on Thursday, as they continue their preparations for an upcoming friendly against Russia on Tuesday 14th November (18:30 CET) at the Stadio Benito Stirpe in Frosinone. The match ended 2-1 to the Biancoblu at the at the Stadio Adriatico, a team who are currently in 12th place in the Serie B league standings and are coached by Zdenek Zeman. The experienced tactician previously enjoyed a historic spell with Foggia during the 1990s, while he also managed Luigi Di Biagio at both Roma and Brescia.
Following the opening long-distance goal scored by Vido in the 10th minute, the Under-21 side then very nearly doubled their lead just 20 minutes later, with Cutrone striking the crossbar after a cross from Locatelli. Just one minute later Pescara then bagged an equaliser through Mancuso, before then sealing the win in the 61st minute thanks to goal from substitute Cappelluzzo. The second half saw Italy make a number of changes, with Vido hitting the woodwork for the Azzurrini for the second time in the match.
“It was a pleasure to see Zeman once again,” said Di Biagio after the game. “It was nice to see him as always. It was a good test and it allowed us to get some minutes under our belt. We have a number of players who are not in great physical shape considering they have played little with their respective clubs. A match like this was needed to evaluate the conditions of the squad. They did well during the first half, playing good football particularly in the first 20-25 minutes. We then dropped off a bit and started launching the ball forward too much and committing too many technical mistakes that are not usually in our game. However, I am pleased because matches like this are necessary for further development.”
Goalkeepers: Emil Mulyadi Audero (Venezia), Simone Scuffet (Udinese);
Defenders: Arturo Calabresi (Spezia), Elio Capradossi (Bari), Lorenzo Dickmann (Novara), Gian Filippo Felicioli (Hellas Verona), Gianluca Mancini (Atalanta), Raoul Petretta (Basilea), Giuseppe Pezzella (Udinese), Filippo Romagna (Cagliari);
Midfielders: Nicolò Barella (Cagliari), Fabio Depaoli (Chievo Verona), Manuel Locatelli (Milan), Rolando Mandragora (Crotone), Alessandro Murgia (Lazio);
Forwards: Federico Bonazzoli (Spal), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Patrick Cutrone (Milan), Andrea Favilli (Ascoli), Riccardo Orsolini (Atalanta), Vittorio Parigini (Benevento), Daniele Verde (Hellas Verona), Luca Vido (Atalanta).
Staff – Coach: Luigi Di Biagio; Assistant Coach: Massimo Mutarelli; Secretary: Emiliano Cozzi; Fitness Coach: Vito Azzone; Goalkeeping Coach: Antonio Chimenti; Match Analyst: Filippo Lorenzon; Doctors: Angelo De Carli and Luca Gatteschi; Physiotherapists: Enzo Paolini and Guido Mauro Ferrini; Nutritionist: Cristian Petri: Kit man: Claudio Gagliardi.
Schedule for the Under-21 National Team
Friday 10th November
15.30 – training at the Poggio Degli Ulivi S.C (closed-door)
Saturday 11th November
10.30 – training at the Poggio Degli Ulivi S.C (closed-door)
17.00 – transfer to the Bassetto Hotel in Frosinone
Sunday 12th November
10.30 – training at the Città dello Sport S.C in Ferentino (closed-door)
13.15 – meeting with the press at the hotel (player)
Monday 13th November
14.00 – Press conference at the Frosinone Council with Coach Di Biagio
17.00 – training MD-1 at the Stadio Benito Stirpe – Frosinone (first 15 minutes open to the press)
Tuesday 14th November
18.30 – ITALY vs. RUSSIA Stadio Benito Stirpe – Frosinone
Meeting with the press after the match, before players and staff then depart