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Discussion in 'Italy: National Teams' started by Tony Ebola, Sep 2, 2002.
U.S. Under-20s Top Italy 2-1 in Spain
Not to belittle the US' accomplishments or make excuses, but U-20 age group is not emphazied one iota in Italy. It's basically a B version - or lower - of the U-21, which has a European championship and plays in the Olympics.
Not to take issue with your statement, but as I understand it, Italy sent their current crop of U-21s, which almost everyone did in this tournament (the U.S. brought true U-20s which are eligible for next year's FIFA tourney). In essence, the U.S. was playing against OLDER competition in Brazil, Italy, etc.
From the article itself:
"In an afternoon press conference for the tournament, the U.S. was praised – along with Ukraine and Costa Rica – for bringing younger teams to this tournament in preparation for next year’s Under-20 World Championship ... The five other teams brought players (born in 1982) that will be too old for next year’s U-20 world championship ..."
You might be right about their ages, but they were definitely not the top U-21 Italy team. Those players all play for Claudio Gentile's U-21 team which is about to start their European qualifying campaign. The Italy team was coached by somebody else. Most of Gentile's players were in training with their (mostly-Serie A) club teams and not at this tournament.
Francesco Rocca's team that lost to the US:
1-Vitangelo Spadavecchia; 2-Daniele Gastadello, 5-Domenico Creanza, 6-Cristiano Del Grosso, 19-Mauro Vargiu (16-Salvatore Ferraro, 50); 7-Pasquale Berardi, 8-Alberto Quadri (9-Saverio Guarinello, 47), 5-Biagio Pagano (20-Simone Pepe, 63), 18-Nicola Beati; 10-Emanuele Calaio (captain), 11-Francesco Ruopolo.
Subs not used: 3-Matteo Abbate, 4-Felice Piccolo, 12-Francesco Scotti, 13-Daniele De Rossi, 14-Paolo Zanetti, 17-Vittorio Micolucci
And the U-21 team that has been called up by Claudio Gentile for this Friday's Euro2004 qualifier:
Federico Agliardi e Maurizio Lanzaro (Cosenza), Marco Amelia (Livorno), Federico Balzaretti (Torino), Marco Borriello e Samuele Dalla Bona (Milan), Matteo Brighi e Emiliano Moretti (Juventus), Paolo Cannavaro e Massimo Donati (Parma), Andrea Caracciolo (Perugia), Antonio Cassano (Roma), Gaetano D'Agostino (Bari), Michele Ferri (Triestina), Alessandro Gamberino e Cristian Zaccardo (Bologna), Fabio Gatti (Catania), Giovanni Pasquale (Inter), Christian Maggio e Paolo Zanetti (Vicenza), Giampiero Pinzi (Udinese).
Yes, of course, the deadline birthdate for these guys is no earlier than 1981. But I gurantee you some of these guys are younger than that. Age is not the only difference between this team and the one listed above.
It's simply that Italy doesn't care about the U-20 age group (have they ever even been to the U-20 World Cup? Or the U-17?). It's all about the U-21 there. They're almost always among the top U-21 teams in Europe and hence, always go to the Olympics. But there, they struggle, because it's a U-23 competition, not U-21! Of course, perhaps they SHOULD start thinking about different age groups, given the recent performances of the Azzurri.
You gotta consider it progress that we won, for there once was a time when merely scoring a goal against a true soccer nation was considered a triumph for a U.S. team at any level! I would not belittle this by any means.
Sue, do you know which teams any of these guys play for?
Well, I was about to post the results of some research, but my session core dumped. Erg.
Here's what I can remember;
From the list of Serie B players at www.lega-calcio.it, Spadavecchia and Berardi are with Bari. Zanetti is with Vicenza. I couldn't find a complete list of C1 players. A web search showed Creanza is with Lanciano and Del Grosso is with Giulianova. Vargiu actually spent some time with Dundee United in Scotland but is back in Italy now, although I was just trying to figure out where he is now when the crash happened.
Aha, gold mine. www.calciatori.com had most of them. Surprising to me how many of them have ties to Serie A teams. Not surprisingly, most are on loan or barely made any first-team appearances last season. Probably mostly on primavera squads.
Spadaveccia - Bari - 11/25/82
Beati - Inter - 2/13/83
Creanza - Lanciano - 6/13/83 (loan from Bari)
Del Grosso - Giulianova - 3/24/83
Ferraro - Inter - 8/9/83
Pagano - Atalanta - 1/29/83
Pepe - Teramo - 8/30/83 (loan from Roma)
Calaio - Torino - 1/8/82
Ruopolo - Sassuolo (C2) - 2/18/81
Scotti - Cittadella (loan from Lazio) - 1/8/83
De Rossi -
Zanetti - Vicenza - 12/16/82
Micolucci - Pescara (loan from Udinese) - 8/14/83
So what. It's still an Italian national team. It's not like they sent a bar team from Florence or something.
I'm sure the US has players that are eligible that weren't there too. Convey for example. Even Donovan and Beasley are under 21.
only player i've ever heard of in that group is Simone Beati,and that happened this summer in pre-season friendlies
the rest are completely unknown to me; btw,i wonder if they ever played together before this tournament
As I said, I wasn't attempting to belittle the US team. I'm a FAN of the US team. Somebody made a point of posting the result here in the Italy forum, and I thought I'd point out that Italy doesn't emphasize it's U-20 program and these were not Italy's top youth players by any stretch of the imagination. Of course, they're not pure crap, since many of them ARE affiliated with Serie A clubs.
Given the apparent nastiness of that game (Italy's coach expelled, yellow cards galore), it's quite clear the Italians that WERE there were not happy to be losing to the US.