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1992: Italy savour first taste of success

1992: Italy savour first taste of success
Demetrio Albertini was the star name in the victorious Italy team ©Getty Images

1992: Italy savour first taste of success

Italy 2-0 Sweden
(Buso 69, Sordo 76)
Sweden 1-0 Italy
(Simpson 56)
(agg: 2-1 to Italy)

Italy claimed the first of three consecutive UEFA European Under-21 Championship titles in 1992, defeating Sweden in what was the last final decided over two legs, before the tournament switched to a new format for 1994. It proved a remarkable comeback as the odds on the Azzurrini completing a maiden triumph had looked slim earlier on in their campaign when they slumped to a 6-0 defeat against Norway during the group stage.

Huge jolt
Italy, who included a maturing Demetrio Albertini in their ranks, avenged that loss with a 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture that saw them progress at Norway's expense. Alessandro Melli scored both goals in Avellino that day and he added two more in the quarter-finals to set his team on course for a comfortable 4-1 aggregate victory against Czechoslovakia. A last-four tie with Denmark was their reward and goals from Renato Buso (two) and Roberto Muzzi over two legs saw them cruise into the final against yet another Scandinavian team.

Sweden cruise
Sweden's path to the final was far smoother than that of their opponents. Patrick Andersson and Thomas Brolin helped inspire a 5-0 opening-day victory against Greece in the group stage and it set the tone for a dominant qualifying campaign. Sweden were given a much harder test in the quarter-finals against the Netherlands. They slipped to a 2-1 defeat in the first leg and looked to be on the way out until 15 minutes from time in the return when Pascal Simpson sealed a 1-0 victory that took them through on the away-goals' rule.

Albertini prominent
A single goal against Scotland was enough to take Sweden through to the final, but their momentum was slowed when late strikes from Buso and Gianluca Sordo saw Italy open up a two-goal advantage in the first leg. The following week over 6,000 fans filed into the Värendsvallen stadium dreaming of a recovery and hopes were raised when Simpson reduced the deficit soon after half-time, but Italy held on to secure a 2-1 aggregate win.

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=1992/overview/index.html#1992+italy+savour+first+taste+success

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