UEFA Euro U-21: Poland beat Italy 1-0 and are one game away from the semi-finals


In the second fixture of Group A, Poland took on Italy with both teams looking to build on their opening wins, hoping to take all three points in order to qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament.

Italy kicked off the game at the Renato D’allAra with both line-ups focused and ready to win the game from the go.

Italy looked strong from the start with Nicolo Barella intercepting a Polish pass and passed it down the wing to Riccardo Orsolini who tried to find a team mate in the box but his cross was too high for anyone to connect with a shot on the Polish goal.

Italy carried on their attacks in the third minute, Chiesa latched onto a pass and struck the ball with his shot going wide of the goal.

The first five minutes were dominated by the Italians with them having nearly all the possession and looking to attack and score early on in the match.

Lovely play from Poland in the tenth minute, Filip Jagiello played a through ball into Dawid Kownacki who crossed the ball into the box and Krystian Bielik’s shot was blocked and went narrowly wide with the resulting corner being cleared away from danger by Italy’s defenders.

The first 15 minutes were mostly Italy attacking but Poland started to regain stability by keeping some possession by some attacking play in Italy’s half that resulted in shots on target that were not converted to goals.

Another Italy attack in the 20th minute, Lorenzo Pellegrini started the attack as he passed the ball to Federico Chiesa who crossed the ball which was cleared away by the Polish defence but the clearance found Pellegrini who struck the loose ball but his shot cannoned wide.

On the half hour mark, Claud Adjapong crossed the ball into the box that found its way to Chiesa who had a chance to score but Kamil Grabara rushed out quickly to meet the forward and saved his shot.

Not long after, immense pressure from Italy saw Pellegrini pass it to Chiesa who’s cross was met by Rolando Mandragora but his shot went narrowly wide of the post.

Italy carried on their pressure with their constant attacks. Chiesa ran down the wing and passed it to the edge of the area with Barella’s shot going over the bar.

In the 38th minute, some great build-up play from Italy’s midfield saw a pass from Federico Dimarco find Barella with his shot yet again going over the bar.

Poland opened the scoring in the 40th minute, Kownacki’s free-kick hit the Italian wall and subsequently it fell to Bielik who volleyed goal-wards with his shot troubling Alex Meret who got a hand to the shot but could not stop it from going in.

An instant response from Italy, Orsolini hit a phenomenal shot that cannoned off the near post and went into the goal to equalise. However, after VAR consultation the goalscorer was ruled offside due to the build-up play for the goal. The disallowed goal meant Poland stayed in-front.

The whistle blew for half-time, Italy looked the more dominant side in the first-half but Poland were a goal in-front from a Bielik strike in the 40th minute.

Italy posed the first threat in the second-half with the ball aimed at Patrick Cutrone but Grabara caught the ball ahead of the Italian striker.

Italy tried their luck yet again, when Barella whipped a vicious cross into the box with Cutrone passing the ball to Pellegrini who saw his shot go over.

A minute later, Italy carried on their pressure with Chiesa getting on the end of a lovely pass with his shot saved by the diving Grabara.

On the hour mark, Italy had a chance to score from the free-kick. Dimarco struck his hot low with Grabara comfortably claiming the ball.

Poland were on the attack again after great combination play Kownacki had a shot on goal but, he shot was weak and easily caught by Meret.

In the 72nd minute, a mid-range shot from Szymon Zurkowski was easily saved by Meret.

Then, Italy raced up the pitch with Moise Kean who completed a brilliant one-two with Chiesa and saw his shot blocked by the Polish defence.

In the 76th minute, Italy carried on to pile on the pressure on the Polish defence with a through ball played by Sandro Tonali to Kean who’s cross was met by Cutrone but his effort went wide.

The Italians were desperate to find a goal in the closing stages with Italy up to the 80th minute had taken 26 shots with most shots not troubling the Polish goalkeeper.

The final whistle blew and after a heroic display from the Polish defence saw them see out their opponents attacks to win 1-0 on the evening.

Starting Line-ups:

Italy: Alex Meret; Claud Adjapong (Nicolo Zaniolo 81′), Gianluca Mancini, Alessandro Bastoni, Federico Dimarco; Nicolò Barella, Rolando Mandragora (c) (Sandro Tonali 57′), Lorenzo Pellegrini; Riccardo Orsolini (Moise Kean 46′), Patrick Cutrone, Federico Chiesa.

Poland: Kamil Grabara; Karol Fila, Mateusz Wieteska, Krystian Bielik, Pawel Bochniewicz, Kamil Pestka; Filip Jagiello (Konrad Michalak 55′), Szymon Zurkowski, Patryk Dziczek, Sebastian Szymanski; Dawid Kownacki (c) (Adam Kusa 76′). 


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