Italy won a fascinating game against hosts, The Czech Republic this evening, to reach the last four and top Group B of the Euro 2008 Under-19 Championships.
Fabio Zamblera – on Italy’s bench tonight
Italy finally finished their group ahead of the Czech Republic, despite twice surrendering their lead in a thrilling game this evening.
England, who have been disappointing in the tournament (when was the last time you heard that?)Â finally found their scoring touch, and scored their first goals of the tournament, and easily beat Greece 3-0, but were still eliminated.
Before the final games tonight England were bottom of Group B with just 1 point and Greece were tied with Italy on 2 points, with the Czechs leading the group with 4 points. The top two advance to the semi-finals, from each group.
An England win and an Italy win saw the Italians and Czechs progress into the last four.
England finally got their scoring touch, but only in the second half, when they scored threeÂ through Ben Mee, a Freddie Sears penalty and a Daniel Sturridge goal.
Newcastle’s 18 year-old Fabio Zamblera started on the bench again for Italy, as he had in the previous game against England.
The Italy-Czech game was tied 1-1 at half time, and then 2-2 after 58 minutes, but then Italy scored two goals to go into a 4-2 lead after 79 minutes.
But at 3-2 and after 75 minutes Mazzarani of Italy was sent off, to make it all a little more interesting.
The Czechs got one back with just 4 minutes remaining to set up a frantic finish, but they were unable to get the equalizing goal.
However, by finishing second the hosts still qualify for the last four. In Group A, Germany won the group with 3 wins and Hungary were second on 6 points, and two wins.
England finished on the same points total as the Czechs, but the Czechs had beaten England 2-0 in their first game, and so advance on head to head competition.
It’s a pity that Newcastle’s Tamaz Kadar is unable to participate in this tournament, because of injury.
Fabio Zamblera did not make it into the game tonight, but he will have another chance in the semi finals, when Italy take on Hungary on Wednesday evening, and the Czechs are up against Germany, who are the hot favorites to win it all.
Seems like the Under-19 tournament is taking on the tone of the full European Championships, in terms of excitement.