There’s no question that on paper Italy’s toughest test in Group A was its opener against fellow U21 power Spain; a test that Italy passed with flying colors. The Azzurrini got off to a slow start and then turned things on in the last hour, handily beating the Iberians from that point on. It was a statement victory for Luigi Di Biagio’s side, but will mean little if the boys in blue can’t follow it up with another three points on Wednesday.
In its next match, Italy will host Poland. The Poles are current joint top with Italy in Group A after their own come from behind victory over Belgium, 3-2. Poland should pose a much different threat to Di Biagio’s side than the technically gifted Spanish, who Italy were able to frustrate through physical play. Poland is a side that can turn the tables on the Azzurrini from a physical standpoint, something the CT spoke on.
“Tomorrow will be like a last-16 tie. It’ll be a totally different game, a physical one. Poland know how to defend and counter very well. When they seem to be in difficulty, they know how to get out of it and hurt you. We’ll have to make a difference by winning the ball back and attacking with intensity, but we could take a big step forward.”
Italy will look to carry the confidence from the Spain match and the use the home crowd to its advantage on Wednesday. The match is the second in a row at Bologna’s Dell’Ara stadium, which hosted a boisterous crowd on Sunday.
There could be a few changes to the starting line-up from Sunday as Nicolò Zaniolo, Moise Kean, Kevin Bonifazi, and Nicolò Barella all picked up minor knocks. Below is the probable starting XI from calciomercato.com. Check back later for the official lineup.
Italy (4-3-3): Meret; Calabresi, Mancini, Bastoni, Dimarco; Barella, Mandragora, Pellegrini; Orsolini, Cutrone, Chiesa.
Italy U21 vs. Poland U21
Kickoff: 21:00 CET/3:00 EDT
Venue: Stadio Renato Dell’Ara, Bologna
TV: Univision Deportes
Streaming: ESPN3/Watch ESPN