Italy Under-20 have reached the final of the U-20 World Cup, a sign that the future looks bright for the Azzurri and Apollo Heyes picked the three standout stars in Argentina
Carmine Nunziata’s side exceeded expectations at the tournament, winning all but one of their matches in their charge to the final, where they’ll face Uruguay on June 11.
Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup left fans dejected and concerned for the future following on from the team’s success at Euro 2020, but the impressive work of the next generation bodes well for the coming years.
Ahead of the U-20 World Cup Final, which three players have stood out in the tournament so far for Italy?
1 – Cesare Casadei
The most obvious inclusion in this list, Casadei has truly shown his talents and potential at the U-20 World Cup, scoring seven goals and providing two assists in six appearances, including netting the winner in the 2-1 semi-final victory over South Korea.
The 20-year-old midfielder left Inter for Chelsea last year and now looks ready to break into the Blues first team, being an intelligent and determined player who looks thrilling with the ball at his feet.
Casadei is the standout star of the Azzurrini squad and is the top scorer at the U-20 World Cup, showing why Chelsea paid €20m for his signature 10 months ago.
2 – Tommaso Baldanzi
There’s a reason why the Empoli talent has attracted the attention of a number of top clubs across the Italian peninsula. An intriguing and creative attacking midfielder, Baldanzi has produced moments of magic and class at the U-20 World Cup in Argentina, netting two goals and providing two assists across his six appearances.
The 20-year-old, who has already made 30 first-team appearances for Empoli, has played a crucial role in Nunziata’s side, consistently contributing to attacking moves whilst working to shut down opposition attacks with his smart pressing and strong work rate.
It only seems like a matter of time now until Baldanzi makes the jump to a team competing for silverware, clearly being an exciting and growing talent.
3 – Matteo Prati
One player who has slipped under the radar in the Italy U-20 squad is Prati, a 19-year-old defensive midfielder brimming with potential. The teenager has played almost every available minute under Nunziata at the U-20 World Cup and it’s clear to see why.
A reliable and controlled player, Prati has acted as the anchor in the Azzurrini’s 4-3-1-2 system, protecting the defence and helping to kickstart build-up play from a deeper position in the midfield.
The 19-year-old defensive midfielder is currently plying his trade in Serie B with SPAL – who have been relegated to Serie C – but it won’t be long until he’s promoted to the Italian topflight, quietly being a vital part of the Italy U-20 squad at the World Cup.