Friday, 3 September 2010

[U21] Nervy Italy keep Euro hopes alive

Italy drew level on points with Group 3 leaders Wales to remain in the play-off hunt thanks to a nervy 1-0 victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina in their penultimate UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying fixture.

Wales can reclaim top spot in the section with a win against Hungary on Saturday but now know that anything less than three points will open the door for Pierluigi Casiraghi's side in the race for an automatic play-off berth.

The Azzurrini, who welcome Wales to Pescara on Tuesday, prevailed against Bosnia-Herzegovina thanks to Roberto Soriano's goal 15 minutes from time, reward for their first-half superiority.

Cristian Pasquato's free-kicks proved particularly threatening in Sarajevo but it was Stefano Okaka who spurned the best chance when he shot wide after Soriano's clever pass.

The visitors were equally dominant in possession after the break but again struggled to find a way through, Ibrahim Sehic smothering Guido Marilungo when the substitute appeared to be in on goal.

The deadlock was finally broken courtesy of an sharp Italy counterattack, Marilungo providing the incisive pass and Soriano the emphatic finish.

Ahead of the Hungary-Wales clash on Saturday, the Welsh lead Italy on goal difference in the Group 3 standings, on 13 points, with Hungary one point behind in third spot.

Casiraghi will hope Wales avoid defeat in Hungary ahead of next Tuesday's final games, to keep play-off qualification in their own hands.

The 10 group winners and four best runners-up will qualify for the play-off stage, with the seven winners joining hosts Denmark in the finals in June 2011.

Group 3 Results
Wednesday 11 August
Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-2 Hungary
Friday 3 September
Bosnia-Herzegovina 0-1 Italy

Group 3 Standings
[1] WAL - PLD: 06 - PTS: 13
[2] ITA - PLD: 07 - PTS: 13
[3] HUN - PLD: 06 - PTS: 12
[4] BOS - PLD: 07 - PTS: 07
[5] LUX - PLD: 08 - PTS: 04

Remaining Group 3 Fixtures
Saturday 4 September
Hungary v Wales (1630)
Tuesday 7 September
Hungary v Bosnia-Herzegovina (1600)
Italy v Wales (1600)

Source: UEFA

1 comment: