italy soccer player 370.
(photo credit: reuters)
It seems that no one is questioning Spain’s billing as the clear favorite to win
the European Under-21 Championship title for a second straight time when it
faces Italy in the final at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on Tuesday
The Spanish youngsters – or La Rojita – will be looking emulate
their country’s senior side which won two consecutive continental titles in Euro
2008 and 2012, beating Italy 4-0 in last year’s final.
Even Italy coach
Devis Mangia was quick to label the Spaniards as superior to his side, but he is
still hoping that the game plan which led to the 1-0 victory over the
Netherlands in the semifinals on Saturday will also prove itself in the
“Spain is playing the best football at this tournament and the
results show this,” said Mangia, with the Spaniards accumulating a combined goal
difference of 8-0 to date.
“They deserve all the compliments they are
getting and they’ll be the favorites for the final. But I don’t mind if they are
the favorites because I know on June 18 there will be a green pitch, 11 players,
a ball in the middle and we will start at 0-0.”
Italy found itself on the
back foot for much of its semifinal encounter, but the Azzurrini were generally
comfortable soaking up the Dutch pressure and scored the winner on the break
through Fabio Borini in the 78th minute.
“We knew the difficulties we
would face,” added Mangia. “When we started the tournament I said to the players
to take it step by step. Now we only need to take one last step. We have played
good football during the whole tournament and we showed that in the semis. Even
in the first half we showed that we could overcome some
“The best thing about my team is that even if we are doing
well in terms of strength and tactics, we also have the mental strength too.”
Italy forward Manolo Gabbiadini echoed his coach’s sentiment.
huge heart and character and showed we know how to play football,” he said. “The
coach has prepared us well, but our determination was crucial. Now we are happy,
but straight away we have to focus on Tuesday’s game against Spain.
a game, 90 minutes, and the ball is round. They are strong but so are
we. With humility, and with our feet on the ground, we will try to win.”