The 2012/13 league season may have drawn to a close, but a long summer of international fixtures is just on the horizon. The European Under 21 tournament in Israel is first to kick off proceedings before the Confederations Cup and World Cup qualifiers for Brazil 2014 then take centre stage.
Italy have been placed in Group A, which also features Norway, England and hosts Israel. The first round begins today at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield stadium where Luca Marrone’s Azzurri will lock horns with the Three Lions at 8.30pm (CET).
Groups of four provide no room for error and so Devis Mangia’s side will be looking to hit the ground running tonight before then facing the Scandinavians on Saturday 8 and the Israelis on Tuesday 11. The top two teams will earn a place in the semi-final on Saturday 15 and play for a spot in the grand final, scheduled to be contested on Tuesday 18 June.
In addition to Marrone, four other Bianconeri youngsters, all of whom spent the 2012/13 campaign gaining vital first-team experience on loan, have also been named in the squad. These are goalkeeper Nicola Leali (Lanciano), midfielder Fausto Rossi (Brescia) and forwards Manolo Gabbiadini (Bologna) and Ciro Immobile (Genoa).