England vs Italy – UEFA Euro U21 – Preview

Posted on by Sreya

England and Italy come face to face in their concluding Group B encounter, with both teams playing for a semi-final berth in the UEFA Euro U21 competition. While England have won and lost one game apiece, Italy have only managed to win just one point. With Portugal taking on Sweden, a lot of permutations and combinations will come to play.

It is a must-win encounter for Italy, and even then, they need Portugal to beat Sweden. However, England can make it to the next round with a single point as well, provided Sweden does not get a positive result.

The four semi-finalists in the Czech Republic will qualify for next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This match will be played on 24th June, 2015 (Wednesday) at Olomouc.

Team News

England have a few injury concerns. Saido Berahino withdrew before England’s first match and was replaced by Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton Wanderers). Alex Pritchard limped off against Sweden, having suffered a ligament damage and was replaced by Jesse Lingard, who scored the late winner. Pritchard will play no further part in the competition. The highly-rated Everton centre half John Stones is available after he missed the first two games owing to a concussion injury suffered during training. Reserve goalkeeper Jonathan Bond is also available.

Italy midfielder Stefano Sturaro will serve his final match suspension tomorrow. Francesco Bardi, Federico Bernardeschi, Matteo Bianchetti, Cristiano Biraghi, Alessio Romagnoli are all one booking away from suspension.

Match History

The U-21 sides of England and Italy have faced each other in 12 competitive fixtures, with Italy winning five games and England winning four. Italy have scored 13 times while conceding 11. Tomorrow will be the fifth meeting of these two nations in the UEFA Euro U21 tournament since 2000. Champions in 1982 and 1984, England failed to get out of its group in 2011 and 2013. Italy have won five U-21 titles in the years 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2004.

In this year’s competition, both England and Italy have scored one goal each. England have managed nine shots on target to Italy’s seven. Former Middlesborough manager Gareth Southgate took charge of England in 2013 as did Italy’s Luigi di Biagio.

Contributor’s Pick

Italy pushed Portugal to the brink during their 0-0 draw, after the surprising defeat against Sweden. England, meanwhile, have shown flashes of brilliance with phases of mediocrity interspersed between. The team which will take its chances on the particular day stands likelier to progress. England are the favourites to win by a 1-0 scoreline.

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