Wednesday, 25 March 2009

[U17] Italy stride into Under-17 finals

Italy qualified for their first UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals since 2005 after defeating Georgia 1-0 to win their Elite round group.

Georgia 0-1 ItalyHaving already beaten mini-tournament hosts Austria and Scotland, Italy only needed a point to qualify in their final game in Group 5.

Albinoleffe's Giacomo Beretta headed Italy ahead after 22 minutes to ensure he struck in all three Elite round games, and although defender Simone Benedetti received a second booking late on, the Azzurrini were seldom in danger.

Pasquale Salerno's side opened their Elite round group with a 2-1 win over Austria on Friday 20 March thanks to goals from Beretta and Alberto Libertazzi. A brace from Simone Sini and another strike from 17-year-old Beretta secured a 3-1 win against Scotland two days later.

Italy had qualified for the Elite round with two wins (3-1 against Latvia and 1-0 against Cyprus) and a defeat (5-2 against the Netherlands) in Group 9 of the Qualifying round, mini-tournament in Italy, last October.

They now enter the draw for the Final Tournament on 3 April and will compete in Germany from 6-18 May. The tournament will also determine - by finishing at least third in the group stage - the six European nations that will take part in the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria between 24 October and 15 November.

Source: UEFA

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