Unfortunately for the “Azzurrini”, this summer’s U-19 European final in Germany ended quite differently than the France v.s. Italy final in 2006. Les Bleus brought the European trophy home after defeating Italy 4-0 on Sunday.
Paris St. Germain youngster Jean-Kevin Augustine opened the scoring in the sixth minute, literally spinning through two defenders, faking-out Italy keeper Alex Meret, and, finally, sliding the ball past the fallen keeper. Ludovic Blas, Lucas Tousart, and Issa Diop scored the following three goals. Diop’s header found the back of the net late in stoppage time, fueling the French celebrations before the final whistle.
Though the Azzurini had an impressive tournament, knocking out both Germany and England, they were second favorites going into the match on Sunday. Coach Paolo Vanoli stated in a press conference, “We know we’re facing a tough team; France have players who play in the top division and they have more experience than us. This season they’ve scored thirty goals and let in six.”
Despite the devastating loss, Italian football fans can look forward to a rising class of talent; Locatelli and Barella are two of the many promising Italian starlets.
As for the French, their dominant showing was a bandage for the heartbreak they experienced watching their senior team bow out to Portugal this summer. They too can look forward to a generation full of talent to succeed their current senior squad.
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