Friday, 4 September 2009

[U21] Wales stun Azzurrini

Italy began their qualifying campaign for the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship with a 2-1 defeat at Wales.

Wales 2-1 ItalyAaron Ramsey struck on 68 minutes to give Wales all three points in Swansea after Christian Ribeiro and Alberto Paloschi had traded first-half goals.

The defeat leaves the five-time U21 champions looking for their first points of the campaign against Luxembourg on Tuesday night, while victory puts Wales in command of Group 3 with ten points from four games.

Wales wasted little time in building on their fine start to their qualification campaign and took the lead after just eight minutes when Ribeiro was left unmarked at the back post to sidefoot in Ramsey's corner.

However, an Italian side containing the likes of Inter's Mario Balotelli hit back midway through the half courtesy of the in-form Alberto Paloschi. Paloschi, who scored the winner for Parma against Catania on Sunday, headed home Antonino Barilla's corner to level the scores.

Italy stayed on level terms until midway through the second period when Ramsey, who has also been on the mark for Arsenal already this season, controlled with aplomb and fired a superb half-volley beyond visiting goalkeeper Vincenzo Fiorillo.

Wales were unfortunate not to be in Sweden for the 2009 U21 Championship after losing to England in the play-offs, but victory over Italy leaves them in good shape to win a place in Denmark in two years' time.

They are top of Group 3 – four points clear of Hungary having played four games to their three – while Pierluigi Casiraghi's Italy - semi-finalists in 2009 - are second from bottom just one fixture into their campaign.

Group 3 Results
Friday 27 March
Luxembourg 0-0 Wales
Tuesday 31 March
Wales 5-1 Luxembourg
Saturday 6 June
Hungary 3-0 Luxembourg
Wednesday 10 June
Luxembourg 0-1 Hungary
Wednesday 12 August
Wales 4-1 Hungary
Friday 4 September
Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-1 Luxembourg
Wales 2-1 Italy

Group 3 Standings
[1] WAL - PLD: 04 - PTS: 10
[2] HUN - PLD: 03 - PTS: 06
[3] LUX - PLD: 05 - PTS: 04
[4] ITA - PLD: 01 - PTS: 00
[5] BOS - PLD: 01 - PTS: 00

Next Group 3 Fixtures
Tuesday 8 September
Italy v Luxembourg

Source: UEFA


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