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Under-19 final preview: France v Italy

France coach Ludovic Batelli is expecting a final of "contrasting styles" while Paolo Vanoli wants Italy to make their unified approach pay off one more time.

Italy coach Paolo Vanoli (left) with France's Ludovic Batelli and the Under-19 trophy
Italy coach Paolo Vanoli (left) with France's Ludovic Batelli and the Under-19 trophy ©Sportsfile
  • France and Italy meet in Sinsheim looking to win another Under-19 title
  • France were champions in 2005 and 2010; Italy in 2003
  • Les Petits Bleus lost to Serbia in 2013, their last final appearance
  • Italy not been in showpiece since going to Germany in 2008
  • Azzurrini unbeaten in this season's competition; France have won more games

Possible line-ups
France: Bernardoni; Michelin, Diop, Onguene, Maouassa; Tousart, Poha; Blas, Harit, Mbappé; Augustin.
Italy: Meret; Vitturini, Romagna, Coppolaro, Dimarco; Picchi, Barellia, Locatelli, Ghiglione; Favilli, Panico.

Ludovic Batelli, France coach
Italy have a great defence and they break quickly – that's their game. They have a system which is very efficient and which works very well for them. They'll play 4-4-2 and it will be a nice meeting of styles; one teams which defends very, very well and another which attacks and looks to score goals.

We've had this team for more than two years; when we took over they were just out of U17s and now most are professionals. In that time, we've seen a real development – a real maturing of players. The big moment for this team was the elite round game with Serbia in March; then we knew we could do something at this tournament.

We've had three targets for this tournament and we've already met two of them [getting out of the group and qualifying for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup]. Our third objective is to get this cup. This is an extraordinary chance for this generation; everyone has worked so hard for two years, on and off the pitch, to give the players the best chance of success.

Winning a national trophy is always tough – you don't get many chances. For the players, it's the only one. As a staff, we don't know if we'll see that again either, so it's really important for our careers and our lives. We must make sure we have smiles on our faces at the end. That would be beautiful.

Paolo Vanoli, Italy coach
It's incredible what we've done so far. It's been a dream, one that all the group achieved, all together. We know we're facing a tough team; France have players who play in the top division and they have more experience than us. This season, they've scored 30 goals and let in six, so it will be a hard match.

We had some goals to achieve and we've done that step by step. Two years' work and we're seeing the results of that. I'm glad the players have followed me; they've responded so well to everything I've asked of them. They've made big sacrifices for that – and now they're here in this European final.

This is a fantastic lesson for Italian soccer, that young players have great value and are worthy of first-team chances with their clubs. I hope the players will maintain the emotion they had in the last few matches – that emotion is good and, mixed with concentration, brings good results.

We always work on our set-plays but they're the result of group actions. You get the set plays if the group creates those opportunities. Two of the penalties we've had would probably have been goals. [Federico] Dimarco is at the service of the group.

Semi-final highlights: Portugal 1-3 France
Semi-final highlights: Portugal 1-3 France

Road to the final
France
Qualifying round: Group 10 winners
Elite round: Group 7 winners

Final tournament
Group B runners-up
Semi-final: 3-1 v Portugal

Italy
Qualifying round: Group 4 runners-up
Elite round: Group 2 winners

Final tournament
Group A runners-up
Semi-final: 2-1 v England

Semi-final highlights: England 1-2 Italy
Semi-final highlights: England 1-2 Italy

Form guide
France: WWDWWWLWWW
Italy: DWDWWDWDDW

Reporter's view: Andrew Haslam (@UEFAcomAndrewH)
This final promises a contrast of styles, with France looking to take the initiative and force the issue while Italy soak up the pressure and look to hit on the break. The approaches have served each well; France have scored more goals than anyone else, both this season overall and in Germany, while all five of Italy's goals at the tournament have come from set pieces (three penalties, two free-kicks). Can Italy hold out and take their chances again, or will France's firepower prove too much?

Did you know?
Italy's victorious 2003 side included Giorgio Chiellini, Alberto Aquilani and Giampaolo Pazzini. Hugo Lloris, Yohan Cabaye, Yoann Gourcuff (2005) and Antoine Griezmann and Alexandre Lacazette (2010) are among the players to lift the trophy for France.

©Sportsfile
©Sportsfile
©Sportsfile
©Sportsfile