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Luzon wants better despite Italian strength

Published: Friday 7 June 2013, 18.46CET
Israel coach Guy Luzon believes Group A leaders Italy have been as good as any team so far, yet he is still hopeful of an improved display by the hosts against the Azzurrini.
by Simon Hart & Alessandro Massimo
from Tel Aviv
Luzon wants better despite Italian strength
Guy Luzon wants to see an improved performance from his Israel side ©Sportsfile
Published: Friday 7 June 2013, 18.46CET

Luzon wants better despite Italian strength

Israel coach Guy Luzon believes Group A leaders Italy have been as good as any team so far, yet he is still hopeful of an improved display by the hosts against the Azzurrini.

Israel coach Guy Luzon believes his team will be up against one of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship's most impressive teams so far but is still promising a better display against Group A leaders Italy than the hosts managed in their opening draw with ten-man Norway. "I know for sure we will play better football," said Luzon whose counterpart Devis Mangia spoke with confidence about his own team's strengths.

Devis Mangia, Italy coach
I am grateful for the compliment but tomorrow is another day and we have to think about what we have to do against Israel, which will be a tough game. I've watched the DVD once and there are two or three things we've spoken about – we know they are organised, compact, don't take risks, and are good on the counterattack, and we have to be attentive to this. Other aspects are even more important but I'll keep that between me and my team.

Tomorrow our best team will go out to play. I don't like talking about rotation – there are 23 players who've earned their places in this squad. I'm lucky enough to have 23 players who are intelligent and have great technical qualities. We have a lot of respect for our opponents but we have always had the strength of concentrating more on ourselves than on others. Fear and timidity are not words that belong to us – the strength of this team is we focus on our own strong points.

Matchday one result
England 0-1 Italy (Insigne 79)
Bardi; Donati, Bianchetti, Caldirola, Biraghi; Florenzi, Marrone (Rossi 87), Verratti, Insigne; Borini (Destro 78), Immobile (Gabbiadini 60).

• Italy ended England's nine-game winning streak and breached their defence for the first time in 889 minutes thanks to Lorenzo Insigne's free-kick.

Team news
Luca Marrone was ruled out of the tournament after straining a hamstring late on against England. Mangia admitted that Marrone had first struggled with the problem last month, adding: "I am really sorry for him, he deserves a lot better." Otherwise Italy have a clean bill of health.

Guy Luzon, Israel coach
I was highly impressed by Italy in the game against England. They absolutely dominated and they deserved the win. I think up until now Italy have been the most impressive team of the tournament along with the Netherlands. They're a very strong, fast and skilful team. I was highly impressed by [Lorenzo] Insigne, [Marco] Verratti and [Fabio] Borini.

The players and I weren't happy with the way we played but we cannot forget that we still got a historic point and goals in that game. The gap between us and Italy is very big but we are not coming to make up the numbers. I'm positive that we will look a lot better against Italy because you can be caught up in the excitement only one time, not twice. This point we got gives us a chance of being in the qualifying picture until the last game.

Even if you told me we could get another draw but play like in the game against Norway I wouldn't take it. I know for sure we will play better football – I want football that will be joyful and fun, like this team knows how to play.

Matchday one result
Israel 2-2 Norway (Biton 16pen, Turgeman 71; Pedersen 24, Singh 90+1)

Kleyman, Dasa, Gotlib, Ben Harush, Twatha; Kalibat, Kabha (Krieff 38), Biton (Zaguri 75), Golasa; Barouch (Turgeman 57), Dabbur.

• The hosts twice took the lead against a Norway side reduced to ten men when Vegar Hedenstad was sent off just before half-time, but they were forced to settle for a point.

Team news
Marwan Kabha will not play owing to a stomach injury suffered against Norway, though it is thought he will be fit to face England. Captain Nir Biton will be available, however, despite leaving the action early on Wednesday with a knock to his right leg.

Match fact
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.

Did you know?
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.

Last updated: 07/06/13 19.02CET

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