With a training camp that started on the 6th and will conclude tomorrow with a friendly against Ravenna (Stadio Benelli at 11:00 CEST), the Under-20 National side are firmly back at work following their recent third place finish at the World Cup in South Korea, a feat that had never been achieved before. After Chicco Evani’s promotion to Gian Piero Ventura’s senior side, Federico Guidi is now the man to inherit this Azzurrini team, having previously gained considerable experience with the world of youth football. At just 40-years of age, he has spent half of his life coaching youth teams, firstly with Empoli (1998-2004) and then with Fiorentina (2004-2017). He lifted youth football’s version of the Scudetto back in 2011, while he then led his former team to the Primavera final last season, eventually losing out to Inter 2-1. Following his recent appointment, Guidi has since been unable to hide his satisfaction: “It’ll be a fascinating challenge” the new Azzurrini coach admitted. “An experience that will greatly improve my professional make-up, as I’ll not only be put into contact with the top young talents at an international level, but I’ll also make my entrance into Club Italia, which is an important organisational and technical environment. There is a certain degree of synergy throughout the work completed, starting with the Under-15s and going right up until the senior side, crucially helping all players involved improve on a competitive and technical basis. I believe there is no greater satisfaction than seeing a National side that is formed through the work put in by various youth teams. It would be a demonstration how well the selection process works and how the coordination of different coaches working together helps achieve results, reaching goals through daily work and constant dialogue.” Guidi also highlighted the recent third place success at the World Cup in Korea: “Evani did well to achieve this truly prestigious result,” he added. “Something which no one had believed possible before. It is a result that shines a light not only on the squad, whose players will now likely form the backbone of the next Under-21 outfit, but also to the great work put in by Club Italia, whose squads are coordinated by Maurizio Viscidi. I’m taking on a great responsibility, but I’ll do so with satisfaction and I’ll make sure to give it all my all throughout this magnificent experience. I’ve already had some positive indications during this most recent training camp. My backroom staff have welcomed me with open arms and the lads have also responded well.”
The Under-20s will take part in their first challenge on September 5th in Imola against Poland, who were the winners of the last edition of the Four Nations Tournament. This competition has now been changed to an eight-team ‘Elite League’, consisting of Poland, England, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Switzerland: “ The new tournament format will be one that is full of excitement,” the tactician concluded. “Much similar to a European Championship finals. It’ll certainly be a tough and educational competition for the lads. I will start my new adventure in Imola, conscious of the fact that we are Italy and that we must achieve important results.”
Gian Filippo Felicioli, Claud Adjapong and Marco Varnier have all been forced to withdraw from this latest training camp due to injuries, with Federico Guidi subsequently calling up Luca Germoni from Parma.
Goalkeepers: Mattia Del Favero (Juventus), Andrea Zaccagno (Torino), Samuele Perisan (Triestina);
Defenders: Giuseppe Scalera (Bari), Pietro Beruatto (Vicenza), Luca Germoni (Parma); Gian Filippo Felicioli (Verona)*, Mauro Coppolaro (Brescia), Alessandro Vogliacco (Juventus), Marco Varnier (Cittadella)*, Alberto Dossena (Perugia), Davide Vitturini (Carpi);
Midfielders: Alfredo Bifulco (Napoli), Gaetano Castrovilli (Cremonese), Alessandro Bordin (Ternana), Nicholas Pierini (Sassuolo), Niccolò Zanellato (Milan), Francesco Cassata (Sassuolo), Matteo Pessina (Atalanta), Claud Adjapong (Sassuolo)*, Mattia Vitale (Venezia);
Forwards: Giuseppe Antonio Panico (Cesena), Simone Lo Faso (Palermo), Simone Mazzocchi (Siracusa), Marco Tumminello (Roma).
Staff – National Youth Teams Coordinator: Maurizio Viscidi; Coach: Federico Guidi; Assistant Coach: Luigi Amleto Garzya; Secretary: Annamaria Giuliani; Fitness Coach: Luca Coppari; Goalkeeping Coach: Graziano Vinti; Doctor: Vincenzo Santoriello; Physiotherapist: Giuseppe Galli.
Italy’s match schedule for the ‘Elite League’
ITALY-Poland, 5th September 2017 (Imola)
ITALY– England, 5th October
Portugal-ITALY, 10th October
Germany-ITALY, 9th November
ITALY- The Netherlands, 14th November
Czech Republic-ITALY, 22nd March 2018
ITALY-Switzerland, 27th March 2018