Saturday, 20 June 2009

[Euro U21] Giovinco revels in creative role

Sebastian Giovinco made amends for missing Italy's best opportunity of their draw with Serbia by creating goals for Mario Balotelli and Robert Acquafresca in the 2-1 win over Sweden that lifted the Azzurrini into top spot in Group A.

Sebastian GiovincoDespite the victory, however, the diminutive forward insisted Italy did not perform any better in Helsingborg on Friday than in their opening-day stalemate.

"We are mostly happy but, honestly, I think we played better against Serbia. But the three points today were vital regardless of how we played," the Juventus player told UEFA.

"We've always known that we are a strong team. I just think everything went our way today while it didn't against Serbia. You also need a bit of luck to win games."

Italy coach Pierluigi Casiraghi started with three up front against the hosts, with Balotelli and Giovinco playing either side of central striker Acquafresca, yet after a few minutes he moved Giovinco into the hole.

The Azzurrini immediately became more dangerous, with Giovinco creating a good chance for Acquafresca, then giving Balotelli a pass that the Inter tyro curled in for the first goal.

"I'm happy as long as I play, it's not really important where," Giovinco explained. "Having said that, I think that role in the hole is the one that suits me best.

"I think I played well, I'm happy, but the most important thing is we won."

After Balotelli's 38th-minute sending-off, Giovinco was asked to help in midfield, but he showed more magic in the attacking third in the second half, dribbling past two defenders wide on the right to earn a free-kick.

His subsequent cross was met by Acquafresca, whose header gave Italy a 2-0 lead. "That ball was just perfect," the Inter-owned striker said. "I escaped the Swedish defenders and scored.

"I'm extremely happy, both for my goal and for the victory. As a striker, a goal is always important and this one in particular was because it helped us win a difficult game with only ten men.

"The team fought hard and we deserved the points. It's a pity about Mario's sending-off. Sometimes he has this kind of reaction but he will grow up. However, we proved this team is not Balotelli-dependent.

"We had been criticised after our first game and we responded on the pitch."

[UEFA Euro U21 Championships 2009]

Source: UEFA

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