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Last game of the group stages tonight in Basel at 20:30 CET. The Azzurrini should probably win and book their place in the semi finals. A draw would be enough.

Gotta run ciao :cool:
 

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C'mon ragazzi, don't go light expecting an easy win; the Swiss beat Portugal 2-0. :dazed:
 

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No doubt it will be a tough match, but I hope the boys are up for it. We shouldn't fear anyone.

FORZA AZZURRINI!!
 

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I'm watching the Portugal/England game but they're showing highlights of our game. Iaquinta missed when following up a shot saved from Maccarone, he had 2 thirds of the goal empty, but stuck his shot straight at the keeper.
 

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It seems like Italy and Switzerland were both happy with a scoreless draw.

Once Portugal went up 2-0 on England the Swiss knew a 0-0 tie was golden.

It's too bad because Portugal wasted many chances vs Switzerland; hitting the post 3 or 4 times.

Looks like were heading toward a France-Italy. Good Luck.
 

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Under 21 European Championship - Rd 1, 22/5/02
Italy 0 - 0 Switzerland

Basle (25,000)

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An exciting first half with a host of scoring opportunities somehow failed to create a goal, but the end result and Portugal's victory over England put both teams through to the Semi-Finals.
Italy top their group and the defending Champions therefore avoid tournament favourites France in the Semi's.

Emiliano Bonazzoli and the suspended Daniele Bonera, who will miss the rest of the tournament due to a four-match ban, were the only changes from the 2-1 win over England.

It took less than a minute for the first chance to arise as the Swiss goalkeeper fumbled a cross, but a goalline clearance prevented Massimo Maccarone from opening the scoring.

The Empoli hitman had another excellent opportunity on ten minutes when he took advantage of Alain Rochat's error, but the defence was able to crowd him out.

There were protests from the host nation when Frei fell under a challenge from Lucchini, but the referee waved play on. Ivan Pelizzoli also made a splendid close range reaction save on Cabanas, while a fine Gygax volley went inches wide.

The Azzurrini wasted another fantastic chance created by Marco Marchionni, but both Maccarone and Iaquinta fired straight at the 'keeper in quick succession. The Udinese striker's miss was particularly poor as it emerged as virtually a backpass to the opposing goallie.

It was a very entertaining and open match with chances at both ends. Bellini was booked at the dawn of the second half and will miss the Semi-Final.

The best chance of the second period fell to Maccarone, but his spectacular volley was prevented by some desperate defending from Meyer.

However, towards the end of the match both teams settled into a pattern as the draw - combined with Portugal's victory over England - saw both Italy and Switzerland go through to the Semi's. The Swiss finish level with Portugal on 4 points, but won the direct confrontation between the two.

Post-Match Comments

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Switzerland U-21: Beney; Meyer, Keller, Grichting, Berisha; Zanni, Friedli, Cabanas, Melunovic; Gygax (Bieli 62), Frei (Denicola 85)

Italy U-21: Pelizzoli; Lucchini, Ferrari, Natali; Marchionni, Blasi, Brighi, Bellini; Pirlo; Maccarone, Iaquinta

Ref: Granat (Pol)

channel4
 

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I have to say from the highlights I saw of the 2nd half, both teams were playing for a draw, whether that was to save energy remains to be seen.

As always, FORZA AZZURRINI!
 

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Congrats Azzurrini for getting through to the semis :cool:

Azzurrini will now play against the Czech Republic on Saturday for a place in the final :cool:
 

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Joy for Switzerland
Thursday 23 May 2002

Sometimes the most spectacular joy can come from what looks to be the most uninteresting of results. In this instance a 0-0 draw with Italy in Basel sparked scenes of jubilation in Switzerland, as the hosts earned a place in the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship for the first time.

Significant result

The result also meant celebration for Italy as it helped them top Group 1 but the real significance lay with the Swiss. It would not be possible to overstate the impact the hosts have made under coach Bernard Challandes. They finished second in the toughest section, defeating Portugal and more than holding their own last night with the title holders and winners of four of the last five tournaments.

Mutual satisfaction

You could easily forgive the hosts their part in the closing spell of dullness in last night's match at the Saint Jakob stadium as both teams received news of Portugal's 3-1 winning scoreline over England and appeared to agree to settle for a 0-0 draw, a result of mutual satisfaction.

Work ethic

Before that the Swiss, who had never before qualified for the final stages of this event, had again given a demonstration of their organisational qualities and strong work ethic to limit Italy's menace and threaten the most surprising result of the tournament so far. Daniel Gygax whistled a shot narrowly wide early on and his team were aggrieved when Alexander Frei went down with no penalty given.

"Really, really happy"

Afterwards Challandes said: "I'm really, really happy with this match. When the draw was made I said we would qualify for the semi-finals. It's clear that this is already success for Switzerland but I don't want to stop here. I want us to go to the end of the tournament and have the chance to continue this success."

Tough examination

However to make further progress Switzerland will have to lift themselves to another level again with France, boasting three wins out of three, providing the opposition in Basle on Saturday. Challandes knows the French team and is prepared for the tough examination awaiting his young charges. "France and Italy were my favourites to win the tournament before the start so it is no surprise that they are there," he said.

Wonderful opportunity
Holders Italy themselves impressed periodically against the Swiss. Indeed they might have scored inside two minutes, Massimo Maccarone, two-goal star of Monday's victory over England, forcing Stéphane Grichting to clear off the line after Vincenzo Iaquinta had worried Nicolas Beney in the air. Switzerland were reprieved again when Iaquinta, named in place of Emiliano Bonazzoli, spurned a wonderful opportunity when Beney's save from Maccarone offered him a gaping net with which to pick his spot.

Three suspensions
"We had opportunities to score but did not take tham and that was a deficiency in our game," said coach Claudio Gentile who has to wrestle with a problem before Saturday's semi-final with the Czech Republic in Zurich with three defenders missing through suspension.

Gentile seeks solution

To the loss of Daniele Bonera, who incurred a four-match ban after his sending-off against England, must be added Gianpaolo Bellini and Cesare Natali who both picked up a second yellow card of the tournament. "We will fight to find a solution," Gentile said. "If the players who come in really fight we can fill this gap."
 

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Great to see the juniors doing good. This worries me abit though:

King Italy said:
To the loss of Daniele Bonera, who incurred a four-match ban after his sending-off against England, must be added Gianpaolo Bellini and Cesare Natali who both picked up a second yellow card of the tournament. "We will fight to find a solution," Gentile said. "If the players who come in really fight we can fill this gap."
Why was Bonera sent off with 4 match ban? Must have been pretty serious. Missing Bellini worries me too I rate him pretty well. How has Bellini been playing anyway for anyone who has been watching our games?

FORZA ITALIA !!
 

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bellini reminds me of pessoto but not as reliable...nothing much...natalie is ok/good..ferrari is class he is one true star of this defence
 
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