Israel will need to make the most of the backing of a passionate home crowd at the Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv when they take on Italy in the second round of games in UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group A.
• The teams' only past competitive encounters at U21 level came in the play-offs for the 2009 final tournament, when Pierluigi Casiraghi's Italy were 3-1 winners in both the second leg in Tel Aviv and overall.
• The first game, in Ancona on 11 October 2008, ended goalless, but Italy seized control of the tie inside the first half-hour of the Bloomfield Stadium return thanks to two goals from Mario Balotelli (4, 25). Although Toto Tamuz raised hopes of an unlikely home comeback by pulling one back nine minutes into the second period, Ignazio Abate confirmed Italy's progress to the finals in Sweden with a third goal 15 minutes from time.
• The teams in Tel Aviv on 15 October 2008 were:
Israel: Levita, Kende, Chekol, Roash, Gan, Yeini (Natcho 58), Assulin, Cohen, Refaelov (Ben Haim 45), Tamuz, Abuhazira (Avidor 46).
Italy: Consigli, Motta, De Ceglie, Marzoratti, Criscito, Cigarini, Candreva (Bolzoni 60), Morosini, Abate, Lanzafame (Pisano 89), Balotelli (Osvaldo 66).
• Israel midfielder Gai Assulin, who also appeared in the first leg, is the only survivor from the tie.
• Israel's only previous final tournament appearance came six years ago, when a team coached by Guy Levy lost all three fixtures in the Netherlands, against Portugal (0-4), Belgium and the hosts (both 0-1).
• Prior to their first game against Norway, Israel had won three of their last four competitive U21 contests and both their last two having ended their unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the 2011 finals with a 5-0 home win against Montenegro and a 2-1 success in Sweden.
• Italy did not qualify in 2011, the first time they had missed out on the final tournament since 1998. The Azzurrini were champions in 1992, 1994, 1996 – the only team to win three successive U21 titles – 2000 and 2004 and reached the semi-finals on their last appearance four years ago.
• The five-time U21 champions saw off Sweden 4-2 on aggregate in the play-offs and lost only one of their ten qualifiers, winning eight.
• Taleb Twatiha and Dor Micha were in the Israel side that lost 4-3 to Italy in a U16 tournament on 28 April 2008.
• Omri Altman played against Italy in a U19 friendly international on 29 February 2012. The game finished 1-1.
• Italy coach Devis Mangia worked with Israeli international Eran Zahavi, a former member of Israel's U21 squad, during his spell in charge of US Città di Palermo in 2011/12.
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