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Saponara hails Italy's 'beautiful football'

Published: Sunday 9 June 2013, 0.15CET
Riccardo Saponara called Italy's football "beautiful" as he looked forward to the semi-finals while Israel's players were disappointed to have "let down our fans" after the 4-0 loss.
by Alessandro Massimo & Boaz Goren
from Bloomfield Stadium
 

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Published: Sunday 9 June 2013, 0.15CET

Saponara hails Italy's 'beautiful football'

Riccardo Saponara called Italy's football "beautiful" as he looked forward to the semi-finals while Israel's players were disappointed to have "let down our fans" after the 4-0 loss.

After scoring four goals that were notably easy on the eye, Italy's players are now combining "beautiful football" with good results according to the scorer of their opener against Israel, Riccardo Saponara. The 4-0 win in their second UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group B game put the Azzurrini in the semi-finals which was "the most important thing" for Manolo Gabbiadini, who struck twice at Bloomfield. For Israel pair Eliazer Dasa and Israel Zaguri there was regret that the tournament hosts let down their fans and had not been able to test themselves with 11 men against Italy for the whole 90 minutes.

I could only watch the last game [against England], so I had an incredible desire to play
Riccardo Saponara
Its painful that we let our fans down like that but we must not forget we played against a very strong team
Israel Zaguri

Riccardo Saponara, Italy forward
I'm very happy, because I only arrived here on Monday. I have to say thanks to my team-mates and my coach who allowed me to play in the final of the [Serie B] play-offs on Sunday. Unfortunately I could only watch the last game [against England], so I had an incredible desire to play. Today I showed all my passion and we performed very well as a team. We showed once again that we are a fantastic group. This unity and this team strength will take us far.

We have players with quality in attack, we create good movements that can lead to very beautiful goals. The first goal today is an example. We always try and play beautiful football and this allows us to get results. The really good part starts now we meet a team from the other group. All four teams [in Group B] are very strong. We'll try to be ready; we must focus on ourselves and prepare. If we stay determined then we can go far.

Manolo Gabbiadini, Italy forward
Qualification was the most important thing because it was a very difficult match for us. On paper it could look easy, but it wasn't. We played the game in a good fashion and in the end we deserved to win. [Being the star] is not important for me. The most crucial thing is to win because we are a great group. I don't care about the goals. If I score I'm happy, but also if my team-mates score. The most important thing is to win.

[We will face Norway] in the same way we approached these two games, always as if it were a final. This is the way to play.

Eliazer Dasa, Israel defender
I think that after the game against Norway we realised that if we play with no fear and go for it, we could do it. In the first 30 minutes we proved that, but Italy are a superior side and after the red card our game plan was torn up. It's a nightmare for footballers to play 60 minutes with ten men against a team at a very high level. It's disappointing because we came close in the first few minutes and had a foothold in the contest. It's such a shame.

It's a very good experience to play against such great players. You see how you do against them and I felt good. [Lorenzo] Insigne is a great player and I think I marked him well on the right flank before he went off injured.

Israel Zaguri, Israel midfielder
I think there is great disappointment because we started so well, but we cannot think about it, we just need to look forward and think about the next match. Although we played with ten men this score hurts. Our big crowd came and expected better. We played very well in the opening minutes but it's a shame.

Its painful that we let our fans down like that but we must not forget we played against a very strong team, one of the strongest in the tournament with players that play at the highest level. We hope to fix things in the next game.

I'd rather not think of myself as we play as a team and it's a bad thing that we lost. We have to give 100% in the next game and not think too much – just play football.

Last updated: 25/09/14 3.19CET

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