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The Under 21 European Championships begin on Thursday (May 16) but Italy's first game is not until Friday. It will be against Portugal and will be played in Basel at 20:30 CET.

The other teams in this group include England, Portugal, and the hosts Switzerland. The other group (Group B) contains France, Greece, Belgium and the Czech Rep.

What are your thoughts on this game?
 

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Portugal is the strongest rival in our group, as for the other 2.....we should dispose of them no problem
But if the Azzurrini isn't on their best there might be some problems.
My main concern and regret are Maresca & Cassano.
We'll miss Maresca thru injury and we miss Cassano becos of a problem w/ Gentile.
I guess Brighi will take Maresca's place in the starting 11, but I'm still having doubts about him.
I know he played really well w/ Bologna this season, but everytime he played w/ the Azzurrini, he's just not as good as Maresca is.
 

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Did you guys know what is official site of this championship tournament? And can you/i see those matches on TV?
 

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If anyone wanna play fantasy football with U21 teams..then click here.

Ciao,
Tommi

BTW: UEFA Under-21 Championship final tournament schedule:

Date Match Venue and time
16.05.2002 Greece - Belgium Lausanne, 20.00
16.05.2002 France - Czech Republic Geneva, 19.00
17.05.2002 Italy - Portugal Basle, 20.30
17.05.2002 England - Switzerland Zurich, 20.15
19.05.2002 Greece - France Lausanne, 16.30
19.05.2002 Belgium - Czech Republic Geneva, 16.00
20.05.2002 Italy - England Basel, 20.30
20.05.2002 Portugal - Switzerland Zurich, 17.00
21.05.2002 Czech Republic - Greece Lausanne, 20.30
21.05.2002 Belgium - France Geneva, 20.30
22.05.2002 Switzerland - Italy Basel, 20.30
22.05.2002 Portugal - England Zurich, 20.30
25.05.2002 Semi-final 1: Winner Grp B v Runner-up Grp A Basel, 20.30
25.05.2002 Semi-final 2: Runner-up Grp B v Winner Grp A Zurich, 20.30
28.05.2002 Final: Winner Semi-final 1 v Winner Semi-final 2 Basel, 20.30
 

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Tritolo said:
Did you guys know what is official site of this championship tournament? And can you/i see those matches on TV?
http://www.uefa.com/Competitions/Under21/

I think that's the official site.

You can watch Italy's matches on the Mediaset channels (Italia 1, Canale 5, Rete 4). I don't know of any other channels covering the tournament.
 

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I expect this lineup against Portugal:

-------------------Pelizzoli------------------

----Bonera-----Ferrari----Cannavaro----

---Marchionni---Brighi---Blasi----Bellini---
-------------------- Pirlo-----------------------

--------Maccarone-----Bonazzoli----------
 

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Fabulous lineup. :cool:
Is Blasi hot? He's the only one I'm not 100% familiar with.
FORZA AZZURINI :cool:
 

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Looks like a decent lineup JLP. When did Cannavaro jr become a starter in this team? I never noticed it.
King you know if we'll get any of these U-21 games over here?
 

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mdelpiero10 said:
Anybody knows if RAI International is going to show this tournament or at least only when the Azzurrini play?
They are not showing any match :(
 

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IL TORO said:
Looks like a decent lineup JLP. When did Cannavaro jr become a starter in this team? I never noticed it.
King you know if we'll get any of these U-21 games over here?
I don't know exactly when Paolino became starter in the U-21, but he's been playing there the last couple of months at least.
 

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Probable Lineups:

Italia (3-4-1-2): 22 Pelizzoli, 2 Bonera, 5 P.Cannavaro, 4 Ferrari, 8 Brighi, 6 Donati, 7 Marchionni, 19 Pinzi, 10 Pirlo, 11 Bonazzoli, 9 Maccarone.
(1 Rossi, 12 Spadavecchia, 3 Bellini, 13 Castellini, 14 Dainelli, 15 Lucchini, 16 Natali, 17 Blasi, 18 Gatti, 21 Iaquinta, 24 Caracciolo).

Portugal (4-2-3-1): 1 Sergio Leite, 3 Vasco Faisca, 4 Tonel, 5 Jorge Ribeiro, 9 Helder Postilia, 21 Paulo Ferreira, 6 Ednilson, 7 Candido Costa, 8 Hugo Viana, 16 Tiago, 20 Miguel.
(12 Marcio Santos, 22 Ivo, 2 Briguel, 10 Paulo Costa, 11 Felipe Teixeira, 13 Bruno Alves, 14 Alhandra, 15 Makukula, 17 Pedro Mendes, 18 Semedo, 19 Neca).
 

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Final Score: Italy 1 Portugal 1

Portugal scored 1st through Helder Postiga. Then a portuguese defender got sent off. Bonazzoli equalized from a Pirlo corner :cool:
 

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Italy 1 - 1 Portugal
Helder Postiga 48 (P), Bonazzoli 57 (I)

(Channel4) - Claudio Gentile's reigning Champions made their disappointing European Championship debut against a very tough Portuguese side.
Even against ten men the squad showed real problems in creating goal scoring opportunities for their strikers. Winger Marco Marchionni was almost absent from the play as Gentile's men preferred to rely on long balls into the box.:(

The Italians must be among the favourites for this competition after winning four of the last five trophies at Under-21 level.

Within the first minute Italy had gone extremely close to opening the scoring. Emiliano Bonazzoli waltzed past the goalkeeper, but a goalline clearance prevented the ball hitting the back of the net. Massimo Maccarone could not complete his follow-up on the loose ball as the 'keeper blocked his path.

The Portuguese fought back immediately, but despite strong posession failed to bring any real saves out of Roma shot stopper Ivan Pelizzoli. The first shock for the 'keeper came from one of his teammates. Matteo Ferrari overhit his backpass and saw the ball squeeze wide of the post.

Just before the break Pelizzoli flew to fingertip a splendid Miguel volley onto the crossbar. Moments later the Azzurrini had a great chance at the other end of the field when Massimo Maccarone brought down a long Andrea Pirlo pass and brought a fine save out of Sergio Leite.

Portugal had been putting the pressure on and eventually broke the deadlock at the dawn of the second half with a curling Helder Postiga effort from the edge of the box.

However, Italy were boosted when Jorge Ribeiro was shown his second yellow card for a very high challenge on Marco Marchionni.

Soon after the equaliser arrived as Bonazzoli pounced on one of Pirlo's deep corner kicks. The giant Parma striker leapt above his marker to nod in from the six-yard box.

Ten-man Portugal remained dangerous as a Helder Postiga chip skimmed the crossbar of an open goal and Candido Costa's powerful piledriver was turned out.

Up the other end of the field Matteo Ferrari and Bonazzoli headers went just over, but despite a late push the Portuguese held on for their point.

With England's 2-1 win over Switzerland, this leaves the Azzurrini with a tough task to recover from this early setback.

Italy U21: Pelizzoli; Bonera, P Cannavaro (Natali 57), Ferrari; Brighi, Donati, Marchionni, Blasi; Pirlo; Bonazzoli, Maccarone (Caracciolo 75)

Portugal U21: Sergio Leite; Vasco Faisca, Tonel, Jorge Ribeiro, Helder Postiga (Makukula 78); Paulo Ferreira, Ednilson (Briguel 58); Candido Costa, Hugo Viana, Tiago; Miguel (Teixeira 87)

Ref: Brugger (Aus)

Sent off: Jorge Ribeiro 54 (Por)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
ZURICH, Switzerland, May 17 (DS)- U-21: European championship: results/standings
Group 1
Played on May 17:
England 2 Switzerland 1
Italy 1 Portugal 1

Standings:
England 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
Italy 1 0 1 0 1 1
Portugal 1 0 1 0 1 1 1
Switzerland 1 0 0 1 1 2 0

Fixtures:
Portugal vs Switzerland 20/05
Italy vs England 20/05
Switzerland vs Italy 22/05
Portugal vs England 22/05
 

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EXCLUSIVE Pirlo primed to prove his point

Sunday 19th May 2002

There was no doubting Andrea Pirlo's determination as Italy salvaged a draw with Portugal in their opening game of the European Under-21 Championships on Friday.

The Italian captain was at the heart of every move by his side, often winning the ball back himself before launching counter-attacks into Portuguese territory.

And if there was a criticism that Pirlo perhaps tried to do too much, it was also abundantly clear that he takes this captaincy business very seriously. But, then, this is a young man who still believes he has a point to prove - and plays every game accordingly.

In fact, the attack-minded playmaker has already silenced many critics by emerging as a shining light in AC Milan's inconsistent campaign this season.

The 22-year-old, who started his career with home-town club Brescia, regularly filled in for the injury-prone Rui Costa, playing a crucial role in the team's push for a Champions' League place, most notably with vital goals against Parma and Verona.

But, his current standing as a key component of the Milan midfield is in stark contrast to his status during his first attempt at cracking the 'big-time' with San Siro rivals Internazionale.

Having joined Inter from the youth ranks of Brescia in 1998, he struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular with the likes of childhood hero Roberto Baggio, France international Youri Djorkaeff and Uruguayan sensation Alvaro Recoba all ahead of him in the pecking order.

"I have bad memories of my experience with Inter," he told onefootball.com. "They never showed trust in me and that forced me to change club."

The promising star was farmed out to on loan to Reggina where he made 28 appearances and scored six goals during season 1999-2000 and then back to Brescia where he played ten matches without finding the net.

Despite picking up valuable first team experience and proving himself as a combative performer in Italy's top flight, Inter continued to ignore the hard-working youngster and in July 2001 he was allowed to join Milan in a deal that saw Andres 'Guly' Guglielminpietro move in the other direction.

Pirlo's belief that he was a commodity worth taking a gamble on had been endorsed by Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti and the door was now open for the next stage of his development to begin.

Although not thrust straight into first-team action, Ancelotti regularly used Pirlo from the bench and in February 2002 he gave him a rare start, in the Uefa Cup against Dutch side Roda JC.

Taking the place of the injured Rui Costa, Pirlo produced a cultured display full of inventive passing and intelligent running as Milan beat a solid opponent 1-0.

Up until that point, with Milan struggling for form in Serie A, Pirlo had been seen as a luxury Ancelotti's team could ill afford.

However, following his mature performance, few doubted his ability to slot into the Milan midfield on a more regular basis.

Indeed, his increased involvement with the first team in the second half of the season coincided with Milan's up-turn in form and subsequent claiming of a Champions' League spot.

His displays in the matches against Parma, when he came on for Serginho to score one and set up another in a 3-1 win, and against Verona, when he was again on the scoresheet, not only provided Ancelotti with a welcome selection headache, but gave Pirlo a much-needed top-up of self confidence.

Reflecting on his transformation at Milan, he said: "This season I have had the opportunity to play a lot more games and often from the beginning.

"I have tried to create a problem for my coach by convincing him that he can count on me. Since my first day here, I tried to give my very best because I felt that this could really be the turning point of my career.

"Now I'm mature, I have more confidence in my capabilities and my team-mates are respecting me. I can and I must improve.

"I was so lucky to find such a great club as Milan and now I can hope one day to become the future captain of I Rossoneri."

While many see him as a natural successor to Rui Costa as the creative force in the Milan midfield, Pirlo prefers to keep an open mind on the subject.

"I don't feel I am in competition with Rui Costa," he argued. "We can play together because I have shown I can play in the middle or in a wider position."

Pirlo's experience with Milan towards the end of last season bodes well for a fruitful future at the San Siro and also spells bad news for those hoping to wrestle the European Under-21 crown from Italy's grasp.

He also led the side when Italy won the title in 1998 and he is desperate to retain the trophy in what will be his Under-21 swansong.

And despite being drawn in a group that includes two fancied teams in England and Portugal as well as hosts Switzerland, he is confident of going out on a high.

"England and Portugal have a great tradition of strong teams and we faced David Platt's side last March and achieved a good draw," he explained.

"Switzerland have not got the same qualities as us but they will play at home and that is a big advantage.

"But it's four years now that we have been champions of Europe and I don't want to give this up."

Pirlo is one of only a handful of Italian players to have played at two European championships at Under-21 level and he will sign off having established himself as the most prolific scorer in the team's history ahead of Gianluca Vialli and Christian Vieri.

He added: "I can be satisfied with what I have achieved. I have played 29 matches and scored 14 goals.

"Nobody has been able to do that in the history of the Under-21's and I'm proud of it. I'm happy to have my name in the history of this squad.

"And after this I can start to concentrate on the full Italy squad. I don't think I was ready for it in the past but after this season I'm starting to get closer."

onefootball
 
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