After the disappointing results in South Africa from the senior Italian team, the Italy Under 19s were looking to give the future a winning start at the European championships in France. The U-19 competition is slightly different from the senior level European championships, here’s how the competition works:

  • There are two groups of four teams
  • Each team plays all other teams in its group once
  • First two teams from the groups go to semi-finals
  • U-19 Euros also count as qualification for the U-20 World Cup
  • The first three of both groups qualify for the U-20 World Cup

Here are the two groups:

Group A

France          6

Holland       3

England       3

Austria         0

Group B

Spain        6

Portugal  3

Italy          1

Croatia     1

Already two matches have been played, and Italy were unable to to score in both, losing 2-0 to Portugal, and drawing 0-0 with Croatia. The statistics for Italy’s U-19s are some of the worst I’ve seen, two matches played, one point, two red cards, zero goals. And now that Italy have played Portugal and Croatia, the Azzurini now have to play Spain, the masters of cultivating young talent who have already won three U-19 European championships in the 8 years it’s been around.

The strange thing is that there’s plenty of promising talent in the Italy U-19 team like Caldirola from Inter and Albertazzi from Milan, who both play in defense; Sala and D’Alessandro, both midfielders who play for Chelsea and Grossetto; and in attack there’s Destro from Inter Milan and Borini from Chelsea.

But plenty of misfortune has tainted the Azzurini’s hopes of qualifying for the U-20 World Cup, and Italy needs to win against Spain, and hope that the other match of the favours them. So while things may have gone badly at South Africa 2010, the U-19s might not even qualify for their World Cup.