Coach Luigi Di Biagio now has 24 players available for the Azzurrini’s two upcoming friendlies against Poland and Spain. Following Manolo Gabbiadini’s withdrawal from the Italian national team, coach Gian Piero Ventura has called up Atalanta attacker Andrea Petagna as his replacement. Meanwhile, Atalanta defender Andrea Conti has been ruled out due to injury.
The Under-21 side have since gathered in Rome and instantly begun their preparations. This morning Genoa midfielder Danilo Cataldi and AC Milan’s Manuel Locatelli went to the ‘Primo Levi School’ to meet with students and respond to their questions. This institution has placed sport as one of their main priorities and have included football as a subject within their programme. The FIGC’s Youth and Scholastic Sector are set to offer academics who will go and provide lessons for the students. They will also be committed to the school/work programme and be involved in events organised by the Football Association in Lazio, such as the Regional Finals and the Student Championships.
The Azzurrini will leave for Krakow tomorrow where they will take on Poland on Thursday (20:45 CEST), whilst they will then take on Spain in Rome on Monday 27 (Stadio Olimpico at 21:00 CEST). These 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)
Arrive at around 12.30 to the ‘Mancini Park Hotel’- Rome
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