Russia completed their Group 5 Elite Round campaign with their first victory against section winners Italy, but it was not enough to seal a place in the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals.
With two wins from their first two games against the Czech Republic and Nothern Ireland, Italy were already assured of top spot and a place in France in July.
Hosts Russia came into the match with a pair of draws and though they signed off on a winning note thanks to goals from Irakli Logua, Maksim Kanunnikov and substitute Evgeni Bashkirov, they were only able to finish second, a point behind the Azzurrini.
Italy coach Massimo Piscedda made five changes to his side and left out striker Mattia Destro who had scored three times in the previous two matches.
Russia quickly seized the initiative with Logua opening the scoring after only five minutes when he pounced on an error in the Italy defence, before Kanunnikov doubled the lead two minutes after the restart.
Captain Fabio Borini brought Italy back into the game with a long-range strike after 62 minutes, but just three minutes after that Russia restored their two-goal cushion when Bashkirov shot past Mattia Perin after being put through by Arseni Logashov.
Russia's afternoon ended on a sour note when Aleksandr Kokorin was shown a straight red card in the 85th minute.
Italy join Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Croatia and hosts France in this summer's eight-team finals, which will also be used to determine Europe's representatives at the 2011 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Colombia.
Piscedda's side had qualified for this Elite Round of the competition after topping their Qualifying Round group last Novemeber, beating Albania, San Marino and the Republic of Ireland in Group 1.
The eight finalists will be separated into two groups of four at the finals draw, which takes place in Caen on 4 June.
2009-10 UEFA EUROPEAN UNDER-19 CHAMPIONSHIPS
> Qualifying Round Group 1 (in San Marino)
13 to 18 November 2009.
Italy 5-0 Albania, Republic of Ireland 5-0 San Marino, Republic of Ireland 2-0 Albania, San Marino 0-4 Italy, Italy 2-0 Republic of Ireland, Albania 4-1 San Marino.
> Elite Round Group 5 (in Russia)
21 to 26 May 2010.
Italy 2-0 Czech Republic, Russia 2-2 Northern Ireland, Czech Republic 3-3 Russia, Italy 3-2 Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland 1-3 Czech Republic, Russia 3-1 Italy.
> Final Tournament (in France)
18 to 30 July 2010.
> FIFA Under-19 World Cup 2011 (in Colombia)