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Italy hold out against lively England

England 0-0 Italy
Brian Eastick's team troubled the Azzurri but failed to score, keeping the last four within reach of both sides.

Daniel Sturridge charges past Matteao Gentili
Daniel Sturridge charges past Matteao Gentili ©Sportsfile

There was no way through for either England or Italy as the two sides played out the second goalless draw of the day in Group B.

The first-half pressure applied by England gave no indication of the stalemate to come, but Italy looked better able to handle their opponents in the second period when they might have scored themselves. The result left both countries in contention to qualify for the UEFA European U19 Championship semi-finals ahead of Sunday's third round of matches.

England pressure
England made the early running. Daniel Sturridge had the first of a series of first-half chances for Brian Eastick's team, before Freddie Sears ruffled the side-netting from Sturridge's cross. Then Victor Moses's shot deflected off the back of Italy captain Massimiliano Tagliani and into the path of Kieran Gibbs whose angled attempt was blocked first by the leg of goalkeeper Vincenzo Fiorillo, then by the post.

Near misses
Francesco Rocca's side finally upped their sphere of operations to provide an opening for recalled forward Stefano Okaka Chuka, but his strike rolled harmlessly wide. There was greater menace in the low cross delivered by Sears which somehow eluded both Sturridge and Moses. Sears went close again, yet England's inability to convert territorial superiority into a lead nearly cost them minutes before half-time. Okaka Chuka broke clear of his markers and was just about to shoot when James Tomkins slid in to save his team.

Key change
The Azzurri dealt better with the English forward movement after the break. Coach Rocca introduced holding midfielder Silvano Raggio, who like Okaka Chuka had been suspended for the first game. This helped to restrict the front running of Sears, Moses and Danny Rose in support of Sturridge. Gibbs failed to take advantage of time and space in the area, before Moses let fly from 20 metres with a shot that Fiorillo saved well.

Parity reigns
With the earlier Group B fixture finishing 0-0 between Czech Republic and Greece, the opportunity was there for either side to make an impact on the section in Jablonec. Italy threatened to do it late on when Okaka Chuka drove at the England centre-backs before playing in Fernando Martin Forestieri. However, Krystian Pearce made a vital interception as the No10 shaped to shoot. There was no ending the deadlock.