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FIFA Under-20 World Cup 2009


Saturday, 27 June 2009

[Euro U21] Nearly man Motta deals in hard facts

Italy Under-21 captain Marco Motta said that what might have been was no good to the Azzurrini given the harsh reality of their semi-final defeat by Germany in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Marco MottaThe 23-year-old Motta, as much as anybody, could write a hard-luck story about Friday's match in Helsingborg after the right-back threatened the Germany goal with three first-half headers from identikit Sebastian Giovinco corners.

One effort struck the woodwork, another forced opposition keeper Manuel Neuer into a fine low save, while the third whistled centimetres past the far post.

Neuer would prove the Italian nemesis, making eleven stops compared with three by his opposite number Andrea Consigli, as Motta and company won the efforts on goal count by 27 to 12. The end result, though, was a 1-0 defeat.

"We are out and that is the only thing that counts," insisted the Roma defender. "I don't care about us hitting the post, the chances we created or how well we played.

"We are out of the tournament, full stop. Football is not about ifs and buts."

Andreas Beck's 48th-minute goal rendered any artistic merit by Pierluigi Casiraghi's side useless, even if Motta was able to call the overall campaign "a positive experience".

"I had a few chances, I tried to score, we could have been more precise... but we are out and that's all there is to say right now."

Italy's No.10 Giovinco, who glided effortlessly around the Olympia pitch during a particularly dominant first-half display by his team, was more inclined to appeal to Lady Luck.

"I think we have been unlucky throughout the tournament," said the 22-year-old Juventus attacker. "Given the number of chances we created, we deserved to reach the final.

"They had one shot and scored; we had several chances, hit the posts, had balls cleared off the line, but nothing.

"I think it was our destiny in this championship, because we had similar games against Serbia and Belarus in the group where the ball just wouldn't go in."

Giovinco, so light on his feet, was also able to turn and face the future. "We have nothing to regret," he added.

"I am very proud to have played with this group of players and I just hope we will have the chance to do it again in the senior national team. Maybe one day we will even get an opportunity to avenge this defeat."

If a tournament like this is an education in itself, then perhaps Italy's lesson was in learning to lose, however unfair that elimination felt.

"Games like this are strange, but that's also the beauty of football," said striker Mario Balotelli, whose finals statistics showed one goal and one red card for the Inter prodigy.

"You can't say we didn't score because we weren't good enough – it just wasn't our night. However, it was a good tournament and a useful experience."

[UEFA Euro U21 Championships 2009]

Source: UEFA


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