Italy U21-Netherlands U21 Preview: Azzurrini tackle Jong Oranje in last four
Devis Mangia's young guns have been arguably the form team so far in the junior tournament, but lying in their wake are the Dutch who must bounce back from a heavy defeat to Spain
By Livio Caferoglu
Donati, Bianchetti, Caldirola, Regini
Saponara, Florenzi, Verratti, Sansone
Van Rhijn, Martins Indi, De Vrij, Blind
Strootman, Fer, Van Ginkel
Wijnaldum, De Jong, John
Italy ended their group campaign with a 1-1 draw against Norway, but it was rather an opportunity to test fringe players after they had already secured qualification in their first two matches.
Nonetheless, coach Devis Mangia will not be able to call back Lorenzo Insigne into the side against Netherlands, although the ankle-injury victim could make an appearance from the substitutes' bench.
In his absence will be Nicola Sansone, fresh off the back of an impressive performance midweek, while Empoli's Vasco Regini is expected to edge out first-choice left-back Cristiano Biraghi.
Meanwhile for Netherlands, defender Bram Nuytinck has been ruled out for the rest of the European U21 Championship following the recurrence of an injury in his left knee.
The knock only rubbed more salt in the wounds of a 3-0 defeat to Spain, but up to 10 changes will be made by boss Cor Pot, with Kevin Strootman and Stefan De Vrij notably passing fitness tests to feature.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Italy are the most successful country in the European U21 Championship, having won the competition six times.
- They have also featured in the final a record 17 times, and are on course to do so again this year - providing they beat Netherlands.
- The Azzurrini are unbeaten in their last five matches; they have also lost just three times since November 2009.
- Netherlands, meanwhile, are one of the new superpowers at U21 level - their two successes in the tournament came in 2006 and 2007.
- However, their run of seven straight victories was ended on Tuesday when they were stunned 3-0 by Spain to finish second in Group B.
- Leroy Fer will equal Arnold Bruggink's record as the Netherlands' most-capped player at U21 level, with 31 appearances, if he features against Italy.
- The first and last time these two sides met was back in May 2006, when a lone Daniel De Ridder goal was enough to tilt the scales in Netherlands' favour.
The winners will face that of Spain-Norway in the final on June 18 at Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium.
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Top 3 Predictions
Italy Under 21 1-2 Netherlands Under 21
- 17.5 %
Italy Under 21 2-1 Netherlands Under 21
- 16.36 %
Italy Under 21 1-3 Netherlands Under 21
- 8.68 %
|UEFA European U21 Championship (EU21)||Jun 16, 2013||Italy Under 21 1 - Netherlands Under 21 0|
|Italy Under 21|
|Nov 20, 2013||Serbia Under 21 1 - Italy Under 21 0||EU21|
|Nov 15, 2013||Italy Under 21 3 - North. Ireland U21 0||EU21|
|Oct 15, 2013||Belgium Under 21 0 - Italy Under 21 1||EU21|
|Sep 9, 2013||Cyprus Under 21 0 - Italy Under 21 2||EU21|
|Sep 6, 2013||Italy Under 21 1 - Belgium Under 21 3||EU21|
|Netherlands Under 21|
|Nov 15, 2013||Slovakia Under 21 2 - Netherlands Under 21 2||EU21|
|Oct 10, 2013||Georgia U21 0 - Netherlands Under 21 6||EU21|
|Sep 10, 2013||Luxembourg U21 0 - Netherlands Under 21 1||EU21|
|Sep 6, 2013||Netherlands Under 21 4 - Scotland Under 21 0||EU21|
|Jun 16, 2013||Italy Under 21 1 - Netherlands Under 21 0||EU21|
|-||Ricardo van Rhijn|
|-||Stefan de Vrij||Defender|
|-||Bruno Martins Indi||Defender|
|-||Marco van Ginkel|
|-||Luuk de Jong|
|-||Mike van der Hoorn|
|-||Patrick van Aanholt||Defender|
Times In SGT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed