Italy through after ending Netherlands hopes
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
Netherlands 1-1 Italy
Federico Giraudo's second-half own goal gave the Jong Oranje hope, but Italy's hold on a top-two spot was never really in doubt.
Article top media content
• Italy earn a point to book a place in the last eight at the Netherlands' expense
• AC Milan's Patrick Cutrone scores the opener after six minutes
• Federico Giraudo's own goal gives hope to the Netherlands
• Italy will face Group C winners France in the quarter-finals on Saturday
Italy are through to the UEFA European Under-17 Championship quarter-finals after an early goal from Patrick Cutrone helped them to a draw that sealed progress at the Netherlands' expense.
Bruno Tedino's side made an excellent start to the game and took the lead after just six minutes. Left-back Federico Giraudo made one of his trademark runs on the flank and crossed perfectly for Cutrone to finish from ten metres.
Maarten Stekelenburg's charges, last year's runners-up, gradually began to take the initiative, with the lively Rashaan Fernandes – who impressed on both wings – denied by Gianluigi Donnarumma on 23 minutes. Filippo Melegoni then spurned a chance to double Italy's advantage after another fine run by Giraudo. Cutrone was also culpable of profligacy in the second half.
Italy were made to pay just after the hour, Giraudo inadvertently turning into his own net on 63 minutes. The Jong Oranje subsequently poured forward in search of a winner that would have taken them through, but were unable to score a second.
Maarten Stekelenburg, Netherlands coach
Of course, it is hard to depart undefeated. We started very slowly and didn't win a single challenge until Italy's goal. We were not at the same pace as Italy in the opening exchanges. Then it becomes very hard because Italy know how to defend. But we were more balanced after the break, the own goal gave us a huge boost and we threw everything in attack. The belief was back and we chased the winner, but it did not come.
Now, looking back after three draws, we regret the missed chances in the opening game against the Republic of Ireland. We created so much but did not score and now that costs us everything. We were a little unlucky to meet them in the first match, when they were fresh, but you have to deal with these things and take your opportunities.
Bruno Tedino, Italy coach
We played really well first half and we managed to score, although we also missed a good chance. We approached the second half with a bigger focus on defence. Then we conceded the own goal at a very unfortunate moment and from there we had to be extremely careful, but we defended really well and also tried to remain dangerous in the counter. I want to congratulate all my players on their performance and their character.