Five steps to heaven for Italy

Coach Devis Mangia said Italy "still have five steps to go" to realise their dream after a 3-2 success in Sweden secured their passage to next summer's finals in Israel.

Italy's Ciro Immobile (L) and Sweden's Oscar Hiljemark fight for the ball
Italy's Ciro Immobile (L) and Sweden's Oscar Hiljemark fight for the ball ©AFP/Getty Images

Coach Devis Mangia hinted that Italy already have an eye on next summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship final following their play-off success against Sweden, whose boss Hakan Ericson felt his side let themselves down a little in the 3-2 home defeat that cost them a trip to Israel.

Devis Mangia, Italy coach
I'm happy that our team came to Sweden to play and not to sit back. We knew that Sweden are a good team. We came here to take the initiative, not to wait for them to do so. We were the stronger side mentally. We showed personality, created good chances and gave a top performance. The finals? We'll see. We'll go there to play with this mentality. One month ago we started with a dream; now we still have five steps to go and achieve it.

Alessandro Florenzi, Italy midfielder
I scored an important goal, that's true, but I have to be honest and say that much of the credit goes to the great assist [Luca] Marrone gave me – he is the one who gave me that great chance to score. At the beginning of the game we were too impatient, especially up front, but we were lucky enough to break the deadlock in the second half through [Lorenzo] Insigne. We did well at the end and we were able to defend the result.

Luca Marrone, Italy midfielder
We are extremely happy. We are definitely satisfied with the result we got tonight. This was our first target to reach and we managed to qualify. Now we will play in the finals and we will give our all. Who knows what will happen? I think it's not impossible for us to make our dream come true.

Hakan Ericson, Sweden coach
I'm not happy with our first-half performance. The game was generally good and we lost to a better team. We could have been more direct, but these modern boys want it short, short, short. We should have found more of a balance. We won our group. Slovenia and especially Ukraine are very strong teams, so I'm proud of my side. I'm happy with the whole qualification campaign but not the play-off. We reached our absolute maximum but we should have stayed there longer.