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U-21 Championship Report: Italy Beat England In High Quality Match
Italy Under 21 - England Under 21 | News Archive

Maccarone has a very bright future ahead of him (Allsport)
05/20/2002. Italy U-21's have moved to the top of their group after a 2-1 against England in the European U-21 Championships.

Massimo Maccarone's superb late winner leaves the Italians in the driving seat to reach the semi-finals, but all four teams can qualify going into the final match.

Both nations look to have bright futures ahead of them on the basis of this performance, which apart from many acts of petulance was extremely encouraging.

Italy controlled much of the first half, but were unable to break the deadlock. England did put the ball in the net late on in the first half, but Zat Knight's headed goal was rightly disallowed as the referee saw a push from the lanky Fulham defender.

Maccarone scored the first of his two well-taken goal after 58 minutes. The talented striker ran onto Andrea Pirlo's through ball, turned Chris Riggott and knocked the ball past Paul Robinson.

Five minutes later England equalised after exceptional work on the right flank by David Dunn. The Blackburn midfielder picked out Gareth Barry at the far post and the Aston Villa star volleyed past Pelizzola.

Players on both sides began to lose their tempers as a result of a tempestuous match between the two teams earlier in the season.

A draw would have been a great result for England and it looked like they were going to get that result until a moment of genius from Maccarone gave the Italians the win their performance deserved. The Empoli star flicked the ball past his marker before beating Robinson with a cracking strike.

Daniele Bonera was sent off in stoppage time for throwing a punch at Knight and will miss the next two matches of the competition.

soccerage
 

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It was a very good game and IMO for England the best player was David Dunn... his set up for Barry's goal was absolutely superb..

I don't understand the starting line up though... before the game Platt made it clear that they would attack the Italians so he drops Pennant and Defoe!!!!
Crazy if you ask me...

but still they were not disgraced and it looks like if they beat Portugal they will be playing France in the semi's... it's a big IF but i think with Defore and Pennant back in the team they should do it:)
 

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Portugal is ain't a pushover......
So becareful since they are a skillful bunch, but you guys knows that already since they beat England in a friendly game last month.
I think England has to play the patience game and look for an opening; since it's Portugal who desperate for a win.
Besides if Italia win ;), you guys just need a draw to get thru.....
 

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hey you guys stop flirting:)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thursday, May 23, 2002
England crash out in Switzerland

England Under-21 1 - 3 Portugal Under-21
England's European Championship dreams withered and died in Zurich as slick Portugal booked David Platt's side an early flight home.

Goalscorer Alan Smith shows his disappointment at the exit
(PhilCole/Allsport)
Goals from Filipe Teixeira and Aziza Makukula from the penalty spot inside the first 20 minutes left Platt's hopefuls with a mountain to climb on a night when a draw might have been enough to reach the semi-finals, and a win would certainly have handed them a place in the last four.

But although Alan Smith pulled one back two minutes before the break, a third Portugal goal from impressive midfielder Hugo Viana - who is expected to fly out to meet up with Portugal's World Cup squad imminently - dashed hopes of a famous comeback.

England fought their way through to the finals after coming back from 2-0 in Holland in the first leg of their play-off back in November, but although they battled valiantly to the final whistle, the better team on the night left with the points.

It was a desperately disappointing night for Platt, whose side started so well with a 2-1 victory over Switzerland, but defeat by Italy on Monday night piled on the pressure as a Portugal side with little to lose bowed out in style.

Portugal coach Agostinho Oliveira opted to leave out five of his key players to give a chance to some of the less experienced men in his squad, but if Platt's side thought he was doing them a favour, nothing could have been further from the truth.

With midfield wide-men Semedo and Jorge Ribeiro flying from the off and Viana and Paulo Mendes pulling the strings inside them, England found themselves horribly stretched in the opening few minutes.

Indeed, it took Portugal just seven minutes to force their way in front when Neca laid Semedo's cross back for Teixeira and he blasted past Paul Robinson to get his side off to a dream start.

Platt's men were simply dazzled by the flowing football produced by the Portuguese in a lightning start and never really got to grips with their fluid 3-4-3 formation.

But they were at least hanging on for dear life when disaster struck with 20 minutes gone.

Semedo again burst into space behind left-back Paul Konchesky, who tracked him into the box before lunging in with a challenge which gave referee Erol Ersoy the simplest of decisions to make.

Striker Makukula stepped up to nonchalantly beat Robinson from the spot, and the writing was very much on the wall.

It could have been even worse when Makukula headed over from close range on 34 minutes after England struggled to defend a corner, but by then, Platt had opted for change.

Midfielder Jonathan Greening made way for striker Shola Ameobi as Smith dropped back on the left, and it was that pair who combined two minutes before half-time to give England hope.

Ameobi turned up wide on the left to accept David Prutton's pass and square for the Leeds man, who calmly side-stepped his man to fire past Sergio Leite from close range.

England re-emerged knowing that it was a case of do or die and they responded accordingly in the opening minutes of the second half, Luke Young forcing a fingertip save from Leite and Smith firing inches wide after being played in by Prutton.

But the Portuguese proved a constant threat on the break and should really have extended their lead with 51 minutes gone when Neca miskicked in front of goal but succeeded in diverting Semedo's cross into the path of Makukula, who forced a point-blank save from Robinson when it looked easier to score.

Substitute Miguel joined the fray 10 minutes later and whistled a long range effort just wide of Robinson's right post, but it was he who laid the foundation for England's ultimate demise with 69 minutes gone.

Miguel surged forward and picked out Viana wide on the right, and he tricked his way past Konchesky before firing low into the net.

Ameobi was unable to make the most of Barry's teasing cross with 11 minutes remaining as defender Vasco Faisca did just enough to put him off, and substitute Bobby Zamora wasted a good opportunity two minutes later as he sliced badly wide.

The final whistle brought mixed emotions for the victors, who nevertheless went out with England after Switzerland and Italy played out a 0-0 draw which takes both through to the semi-finals.

soccernet
 

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Bye-bye England.......
It's really a shame that England and Portugal have to crash out from the tournament so early. :groan:

Better luck next time.......boys! :tongue:
 

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Well I could not believe the Portugal game... that was bad play and I think that this may have been the point that we were knocked out but the Italy game was the problem...

We gave them the upper hand by changing the team to combat them, making it more defencive... yes I am all for using new formations but the one used seemed to give them too much respect...
 

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I think whilst England should be a bit disappointed this was by far the tougher group. Italy (reigning champs and winners on 4 of the past 5 occasions) and England and Portugal (top European sides) combined with Switzerland (hosts) make this a difficult group. The other group, Group B, contained France, Greece, Czech Rep and Belgium.

The semis finals are tonight:

France vs Switzerland at 18:00 CET
Czech Rep. vs Italy at 20:30 CET


Better luck next time :)
 

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Italy lost 3-2 to Czech Republic but it took a golden goal for the Czech's to beat Italy :)
 
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