The Under-21 National Team will be back in action tomorrow against Spain at 21:00 CEST in Rome for the first time in 30 years. The Azzurrini’s last appearance was in 1986 against the same opponent and it ended 2-1 with goals from Gianluca Vialli and Giuseppe Giannini. Current coach Luigi Di Biagio was there. “I remember that game well,” he said. “The atmosphere was amazing. It doesn’t matter for us if it’s a qualifier or a friendly, we’ll approach the game with the same determination and will to win. I hope that there will be a good crowd again tomorrow and that the people enjoy themselves.”
It’s a glamorous friendly and a rematch of the European Championship final four years ago in Israel where Spain won 4-2. It comes four days after a good win away in Poland but there are challenges to be overcome with numerous absences and the defender Kevin Bonifazi had to withdraw with a muscle issue. The coach has a team in mind for the European Championship in Poland but there are still places up for grabs.
“Spain are a different team from Poland,” said Di Biagio at his press conference. “We’ve looked back on Thursday’s game and even with cool heads, it gave us a good feeling as we had the right rhythm away against a tough side. Now, we have a second high-level friendly. Spain are better technically and we have to turn up to play our game toe-to-toe with them and not be afraid. Mine is a great group and the main aim is to train well and enjoy ourselves if it helps us to play more calmly.”
Goalkeepers: Emil Audero (Juventus), Pierluigi Gollini (Atalanta), Simone Scuffet (Udinese);
Defenders: Antonio Barreca (Torino), Davide Biraschi (Genoa), Kevin Bonifazi (Spal), Davide Calabria (Milan), Alex Ferrari (Hellas Verona), Adam Masina (Bologna), Nicola Murru (Cagliari);
Midfielders: Marco Benassi (Torino), Danilo Cataldi (Genoa), Alberto Grassi (Atalanta), Manuel Locatelli (Milan), Rolando Mandragora (Juventus), 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)
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