Italy Under 21 greets the Europeans in extra time, after a test of great heart and character. Out in the quarter-finals at the Stozice stadium in Ljubljana. Nicolato’s team makes a mistake in approaching the match and pays dearly for it, but then they are good at staying in the game, recovering twice from a double disadvantage. The first 90 ‘ends at 3-3. Extra time, however, became complicated immediately due to a perhaps too severe expulsion of Lovato. Outnumbered, Italy tries to resist, but collapses ten minutes from penalties. Portugal closes the match by scoring two goals, and flies in the semifinal with Spain.
Portugal, sprint start
The Portugal starts very strong and find immediately the goal with a feat of Dany Mota: overturned to Cristiano Ronaldo in the 6 ‘. Italy tries to react and wastes a good opportunity to equalize with Bellanova. To the 31 ‘again Dany Mota signs the personal double. The azzurrini take the shot. Just before the break, however, Escape and tap-in can find the winning paw to reopen the game. Pobega’s goal gives confidence to Nicolato’s team that enters the field with the right attitude in the second half. At 54 ‘Frattesi with the head wastes a sensational opportunity to equalize. Five minutes later Spain finds the first lunge 3-1 goal with Ramos, who takes advantage of a series of defensive lightness and beats Carnesecchi. It looks like the knockout blow, but Italy is good at getting back into the game immediately with the Scamacca’s goal at 60 ‘, that takes advantage of a perfect assist from Frattesi. At 81 ‘Nicolato plays the Cutrone-Sottil cards in place of Rovella and Sala. Perfect move, because in the 89th minute Thin flies to the left wing and serves a ball in the center on which he pounces Cutrone, finding the tie.
Lovato expelled, Italy collapses
Italy is good at recovering twice two goals behind, but extra time starts uphill because Lovato immediately takes the second yellow and leaves the Azzurrini in 10, for a contact that probably did not deserve such a severe punishment. Despite the numerical inferiority, Cutrone in the 97th minute goes off alone on the counterattack and commits Diogo Costa with a poisonous shot. At 109 ‘the cold shower: Whom closes a triangulation in speed and beats Carnesecchi with great coldness. A minute later Cutrone goes very close to the equalizer, but the ball comes out very little. The Azzurrini put their heart into it but they are exhausted: in the 119th minute Conceiçao closes the games.