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FIFA Under-20 World Cup 2009


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

[U21] Euro 2009 Draw

Italy have been drawn in Group A alongside hosts Sweden, Belarus and Serbia for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship Finals next summer.

Casiraghi and his Group A counterpartsThe five-time European champions qualified for the tournament by topping Group 1 ahead of Croatia before advancing to the finals with a 3-1 aggregate win over Israel in the play-offs.

Pierluigi Casiraghi, who was at the ceremony in Gothenburg, will see his side debut aginst Serbia - a repeat of an opening 1-0 defeat from 2007 - in their first match in Helsingborg on 16 June.

Group B is made up of Spain, England, Germany and Finland and will kick off the tournament on 15 June with heavyweights Spain facing Germany.

Italy, who will play all their group games in Helsingborg, take on the hosts in their second match on 19 June, before their final group encounter with Belarus on 23 June.

The top two teams from each group will go through to the semi-finals scheduled for 26 June. The Final is in Malmo on 29 June.

Four venues along the south-west coast of Sweden - Gothenburg, Halmstad, Helsingborg and Malmo - will host all 15 matches in the tournament.

"It will be very difficult as it is a very tough group," Casiraghi said after the draw. "In our group we might not necessarily have the big names, but this absolutely does not mean it will be any easier.

"Given our mentality, it's more difficult to play teams like this than facing top countries. This looks like the easier group, but it only looks like that. Maybe I would have preferred to be in the other group, which seems more difficult. It might have been better for us to face the likes of Spain, Germany and England."

Casiraghi will be under severe pressure to deliver success in Sweden after his side failed to get past the group stages in the 2007 tournament in the Netherlands and got knocked out in the quarter finals at the 2008 Olympic Games in China and knows his side have to get off to a good start.

"We lost against Serbia in our first game at the previous tournament and it was the game that somehow prevented us from making it to the next round," Casiraghi said.

"I hope this will be a bit of revenge for us. In particular, because in such a tournament the first match is always the most important one."

Italy's senior side will also be in action in the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa between June 14-28 and Casiraghi hopes he'll have a strong squad.

"The tournament clashes with the Confederations Cup but the Under-21 Championship is a very important tournament for us so we hope to have our best players available."

Group A
Belarus, Italy, Serbia & Sweden.

Group B
England, Finland, Germany & Spain.

Group Fixtures
Monday 15 June
Halmstad - England 2-1 Finland (1715)
Gothenburg - Spain 0-0 Germany (1945)
Tuesday 16 June
Malmo - Sweden 5-1 Belarus (1715)
Helsingborg - Italy 0-0 Serbia (1945)
Thursday 18 June
Halmstad - Germany 2-0 Finland (1715)
Gothenburg - Spain 0-2 England (1945)
Friday 19 June
Helsingborg - Sweden 1-2 Italy (1500)
Malmo - Belarus 0-0 Serbia (1715)
Monday 22 June
Gothenburg - Finland 0-2 Spain (1945)
Halmstad - Germany 1-1 England (1945)
Tuesday 23 June
Malmo - Serbia 1-3 Sweden (1945)
Helsingborg - Belarus 1-2 Italy (1945)

Semi-Final Fixtures
Friday 26 June
Gothenburg - England p3-3 Sweden AET (1700)
Helsingborg - Italy 0-1 Germany (1945)

Monday 29 June
Malmo - Germany 4-0 England (1945)

* All kick off times stated are UK time. +1hr for Italy, CET and local Swedish time. Sky Sports (UK) and Rai (Italy) will cover the full tournament live.

Source: UEFA


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