U21: Di Biagio ‘do or die’

Italy lost their opening Under-21 European Championship game, but Gigi Di Biagio assures they are “used to do or die” against Portugal.

The Azzurrini were bitterly disappointed after throwing away a 1-0 lead against 10-man Sweden, eventually losing 2-1, while Portugal defeated England.

Italy lost their opening Under-21 European Championship game, but Gigi Di Biagio assures they are “used to do or die” against Portugal.

The Azzurrini were bitterly disappointed after throwing away a 1-0 lead against 10-man Sweden, eventually losing 2-1, while Portugal defeated England.

“Tomorrow will be the 12th game in this two-year era and we are used to suffering in do or die clashes. In that sense, we have an advantage,” said Coach Di Biagio in a Press conference.

“Regardless of the result against Sweden, I had it in mind to change three or four players for this tie anyway. We could also change system, either at the start or during the match.

“I will evaluate many different elements when making my choice for the starting XI, based on previous performances and what I see in training.”

Stefano Sturaro was handed a three-match ban after his red card for a reaction foul, so Lazio’s Danilo Cataldi looks set to step in.

“Federico Bernardeschi is ready, but I don’t know yet if or how much he will play tomorrow. Cataldi will probably play, as he’s in great shape.

“In goal, Francesco Bardi is confirmed. We expected a two-match ban for Sturaro, but he got three. The Federation will evaluate an appeal.”

Defeat to Sweden was a disastrous result, especially as the Scandinavians were down to 10 men for almost an hour.

“I am disappointed by the fact the lads did not seek the second goal with the right determination when Sweden were on the ropes,” added Di Biagio.

“I am convinced that this squad can take us all the way to the Final on June 30.”

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