Under 20 World Cup, Italy beats England and flies to the quarterfinals against Colombia

Goals from Tommaso Baldanzi and Cesare Casadei give Carmine Nunziata’s team a place in the top eight in the world

The dream continues. In one fell swoop, the Under 20 national team qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup by beating England 2-1 and avenging the defeat in the semifinal of the last Under 19 European Championship. At the ‘Diego Armando Maradona’ stadium in La Plata, the goals from Tommaso Baldanzi and Cesare Casadei (the latter from a penalty) gave Carmine Nunziata’s team a place among the top eight in the world: next opponent, Saturday at 11 pm Italian in San Juan, Colombia, who overwhelmed Slovakia 5-1 in their eighth. Out, among others, also the landlords of Argentina, defeated by Nigeria.

“It was a great match, played in front of an audience that cheered on us and that I want to thank – commented Nunziata – We are happy to have taken revenge for last year’s defeat, but above all to move forward in this competition. We not only kept the field, but also played a good game, against a very strong team that arrived here as European champions. Colombia is on Saturday: a formidable opponent, but we beat Brazil and England, so it means that Italy are also a great team”. “We’ll be able to count on Saturday too – added Tommaso Baldanzi, who scored the goal of the advantage -. At this point, we fear no one.”


Nunziata gave Fontanarosa a starting shirt given Ghilardi’s disqualification; in front, bench for Pafundi, with Baldanzi behind Esposito and Ambrosino. In England, on the other hand, debut for Chukwuemeka, who arrived in Argentina after having exhausted his commitments with his club, Chelsea. Italy took the lead after 8 minutes with two individual plays, one more beautiful than the other: assist from Ambrosino and a forward touch from Baldanzi, who took away Cox’s time. Response from England with a diagonal from Joseph blocked by Desplanches. Devine’s attempt in the quarter of an hour was much more dangerous, with the ball kicked with his left foot by the Tottenham player who hit the crossbar. Very inspired by Baldanzi: personal action by the Empoli playmaker (21′) stopped by Cox’s save. Three minutes later the English equalizer arrived: action developed on the left, Scarlett’s cross and Devine’s right-footed volley who anticipated Fontanarosa and beat Desplanches. Up until the interval, the match remained balanced, with a moderate pace and without further opportunities.

A balance that also continued at the beginning of the second half: Casadei finished just wide on an assist from Ambrosino (but the assistant’s flag had gone up) then, in the 61st minute, a very proactive Italy went shooting again with Prati, but the Spal midfielder’s right foot was deflected for a corner. In the 74th minute, Nunziata’s first substitution: Ambrosino out, Montevago in, to try with fresh energy to change the film of a match which was also influenced by the conditions of the pitch. In the 83rd minute, however, here was the decisive episode: Casadei’s left foot from the edge, the referee was called to the monitor by the Var for a hand ball by Quansah and pointed to the spot. Casadei himself grabbed the ball and kicked it past Cox, scoring his fifth goal in four World Cup matches after two braces against Brazil and the Dominican Republic. The maxi-recovery, lasting 11 minutes, was inevitable: Italy grit their teeth, Foster also included Doyle and Edozie, but in the end they rejoiced, and remained in Argentina to pursue a dream.