Eleven years since the friendly with the Czech Republic on 14th November 2006 that finished goalless at the Stadio Matusa, the Under-21 National team are playing in Frosinone once more against Russia at the Stadio Benito Stirpe. It’s the new stadium with a capacity of around 16,000 that opened on 28th September. The quality new facility is ready to host the fifth match of the season for Luigi Di Biagio’s Under-21 team after the loss to Spain at the start of September and the friendly wins over Slovenia, Hungary and Morocco.
“We’ll be playing in a really beautiful stadium, it’s a new and fascinating venue,” said Luigi Di Biagio at the pre-match press conference at the Frosinone Council’s Aula Consiliare. “We have to play a good game, entertain the crowd and win.”
In the four previous meetings with Russia, the Azzurrini have won three and lost one which came in August 2009 in St Petersburg. “Russia are doing well,” added the Azzurrini Coach. “They’re second in their group behind Serbia and they’re playing to qualify for the 2019 European Championship. They’re a tough team, they won’t let us breathe. We have to read the game and adapt as we’ve always done.”
With it said that Italy will play in a 4-2-4 tomorrow and support the Senior Team tonight from in front of the TV, Di Biagio reiterated that it would be wrong to take to the pitch thinking that points are not at stake. “People have to be aware that in these matches they are playing to be called up again or make it into the Senior National Team. Does this group have star players? Yes, there are lots of guys who are showing that they can play on an important stage.”
To do the honours together with Frosinone President Maurizio Stirpe was the Mayor Nicola Ottaviani. “We’re enthusiastic about hosting the Under-21 National Team in our new facility,” he said. “With football we hope to promote our area and resources to the best level possible.” National Teams Director Giorgio Bottaro spoke about how the FIGC organised around 220 matches every year in Italy. “I thank the club and local institutions, we chose Frosinone because it offers guarantees in every respect and the new stadium represents a very important showcase.”