Italy fumbled an early lead to lose 2-1 in the European Under-19 Championship semi-final against England, forcing several saves, but beaten by two headers on corners.
Just by reaching the semi-finals, Italy had already secured their place in next year’s Under-20 World Cup in Indonesia, despite missing perhaps the three best players in the squad – injured Marco Carnesecchi, plus Willy Gnonto and Giorgio Scalvini not released by their clubs.
The Azzurrini harassed goalkeeper Matthew Cox into an early error with their high press, from which Fabio Miretti’s free kick forced a sensational fingertip save.
There was also a save on Ambrosino, but Brooke Norton-Cuffy’s clumsy touch saw him bring down Miretti for a penalty. Juventus midfielder Miretti converted himself, the first goal England had conceded in this tournament.
Sebastiano Desplanches was fortunate to only get a booking as he rushed off his line and collided with Alfie Devine just outside the penalty area. He then had to make a tough save on Harvey Vale’s deflected free kick.
Giovane made a desperate block on Devine unmarked at the back post, but England equalised with a powerful Alex Scott header on a corner.
England started to pin Italy back, a Jamie Bynoe-Gittens curler denied by Desplanches at full stretch, but Tommaso Baldanzi also forced a save at the other end after a strong run.
Italy did not learn from the first goal and conceded the second from a corner too, flicked on to find Jarell Quansah totally unmarked at the back post.
Baldanzi almost equalised deep into stoppages, but was denied by Cox rushing off his line to block one-on-one, then a fantastic volley from Baldanzi was fingertipped out from under the bar.
On the counter as Italy poured forward, Daniel Oyegoke should’ve scored for England, but tried to go it alone and was denied by Desplanches.
The other semi-final is between France and Israel.
England 2-1 Italy
Miretti pen 12 (I), Scott 58 (E), Quansah 82 (E)