Coach Paolo Nicolato has confirmed his list of 20 players for the Elite Round of the Under-19 European Championship that will see Italy make their debut on Monday 16th July against the hosts Finland. The competition will be broadcast by Rai Sport, with them showing Italy’s three group stage fixtures along with the semi-finals and final.
The Azzurrini will gather in Venezia on Thursday 12th July before heading to Helsinki and then on the Vaasa which is the tournament’s main base. “As always, we’ll look to give our best,” said Nicolato. “We want to play positive football and the guys will have to do well to show all of their quality.” Satisfied with the work done so far, Nicolato didn’t hide his concern for other potential pitfalls. “The two unknowns are our form and the playing surface which is synthetic. I’m happy with how we’ve trained at the two camps and given the wider context [club sides starting training and school exams for many of the players], we couldn’t do any better. Out of the three teams that we’ll face, two of them in Finland and Norway are already taking part in their seasons. Our opening match will be against the host nation who will be motivated by the desire to do well in front of their fans. We have to take them on physically and show all of our quality and cohesion on the pitch.”
Italy will have to do without Alessandro Bastoni who has been ruled out by a meniscus injury. Alessandro Buongiorno is also injured so both of the centre-backs that saw Italy get through the second stage of qualification last March in Friuli-Venezia Giulia will be absent.
Goalkeepers: Michele Cerofolini (Fiorentina), Alessandro Plizzari (Milan);
Defenders: Raoul Bellanova (Milan), Davide Bettella (Atalanta), Antonio Candela (Genoa), Enrico Del Prato (Atalanta), Alessandro Tripaldelli (Sassuolo), Gianmaria Zanandrea (Juventus);
Midfielders: Davide Frattesi (Sassuolo), Matteo Gabbia (Milan), Alessandro Mallamo (Atalanta), Andrea Marcucci (Roma), Filippo Melegoni (Atalanta), Sandro Tonali (Brescia), Nicolò Zaniolo (Roma);
Forwards: Enrico Brignola (Benevento), Christian Capone (Atalanta), Moise Bioty Kean (Juventus), Andrea Pinamonti (Inter), Gianluca Scamacca (Sassuolo).
Staff – Delegation Head: Massimo Paganin; Coordinator of the National Youth Teams: Maurizio Viscidi; Coach: Paolo Nicolato; Assistant Coach: Mirco Gasparetto; Secretary: Aldo Blessich; Fitness Coach: Vincenzo Pincolini; Goalkeeping Coach: Gian Matteo Mareggini; Match analyst: Francesco Bordin; Doctors: Matteo Vitali and Luca Labianca; Physiologist: Christian Osgnach; Physiotherapists: Nicola Sanna and Andrea Mangino; Nutritionist: Alessio Colli; Press Officer: Giuseppe Ingrati.
Under-19 European Championship groups
Group A: Finland, Portugal, Norway, ITALY
Group B: Turkey, Ukraine, France, England
The Azzurrini’s fixtures
Monday 16th July
Norway vs. Portugal (Vaasa – 14:00 CEST, 15 local time)
Finland vs. ITALY (Vaasa – 19:00 CEST, 20:00 local time)
Thursday 19th July
Finland vs. Norway (Seinajoki – 17.30 CEST, 18.30 local time)
Portugal vs. ITALY (Vaasa – 19:30 CEST, 20.30 local time)
Sunday 22nd July
ITALY vs. Norway (Seinajoki – 17:30 CEST, 18:30 local time)
Portugal vs. Finland (Vaasa – 17:30 CEST, 18:30 local time)
Thursday 26th July
Semi-finals (in Vaasa) and playoff between third-place finishers (in Seinajoki) to determine qualification for the 2019 Under-20 World Cup in Poland.
Sunday 29th July
Final in Seinajoki (17:30 CEST, 18.30 local time)