Tuesday, 2 December 2008

[U21] Azzurrini await finals draw

Italy are awaiting the draw for next summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship which takes place in Gothenburg on Wednesday at 1730 UK time (+1hr for Italy/CET).

Pierluigi Casiraghi's side topped qualifying Group 1 ahead of Croatia and then beat Israel 3-1 in a two-legged play-off to take part in the eight-team tournament that will be played from 15 to 29 June in Sweden.

With the reigning back-to-back champions the Netherlands having failed to qualify, the Azzurrini will want to avoid the likes of Spain and Germany in the group stage.

The draw will see the eight competing nations separated into two groups of four. Sweden, as hosts, and Spain, the team with the highest coefficient points, are the top seeds and have respectively been placed into the top positions in groups A and B.

Italy and England are also among the top seeds for the draw, meaning there won't be an Anglo-Italian battle in the group stage but either a clash with the Spaniards or the hosts.

The remaining qualifiers Belarus, Finland, Germany and Serbia make up the unseeded pot 2 and Casiraghi will be hoping his side aren't paired with the Germans, who beat them 1-0 in a friendly match last month, or the Serbians, who helped eliminate his side from the 2007 finals on their way to runners-up spot.

The teams will play their group opponents once with the top two qualifying for the semi final on 26 June.

Four cities will host the matches - Gothenburg, Halmstad, Helsingborg and Malmo, where the final takes place on 29 June 2009.

Source: UEFA

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