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Italy have history on their side against Dutch

Group A winners Italy can take heart from not just the strongest pedigree at the finals but also a recent win over the Netherlands when the sides meet in the Petah Tikva semi-final.

Ciro Immobile was a scorer when Italy beat the Netherlands in August
Ciro Immobile was a scorer when Italy beat the Netherlands in August ©Getty Images

Italy will take on the Netherlands in Saturday's second UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-final at Ha Moshava Stadium.

• Unbeaten Italy reached the last four by winning Group A and now find the Netherlands, Group B runners-up, barring their path to a record seventh final.

Past meetings
• Daniel de Ridder scored the only goal after 74 minutes when the Netherlands beat Italy 1-0 in Aveiro in the group stage of the 2006 final tournament. That Dutch victory secured qualification for the semi-finals at the Azzurrini's expense and Foppe de Haan's side went on to lift the trophy.

• Italy won the nations' most recent U21 friendly 3-0 in Leeuwarden in what was coach Devis Mangia's debut at the helm on 15 August last year. Lorenzo Insigne scored in the first minute and by half-time Italy had the game wrapped up after further goals by Ciro Immobile and Alessandro Florenzi.

• The lineups at the Sportpark Cambuur Stadium were:
Netherlands: Zoet, Kappelhof (Dijks 46), Blind, Van Dijk, Van Aanholt, Bacuna, Wildschut (Van la Parra 46), Fer (Van Haaren 65), De Jong (Foor 65), Van Ginkel, John (Zeefuik 65).
Italy: Bardi; Donati, Capuano, Caldirola (Masi 62), Frascatore (Romagnoli 80), Florenzi (Laribi 70), Marrone (Rossi 46), Viviani (Crimi 46), Insigne (Sala 46); Immobile, De Luca (Longo 62).

Match background
• Italy have a better pedigree than any other team in the competition with an unmatched five U21 titles to their name, while the Netherlands were twice winners, in 2006 and 2007.

• Italy's semi-final record in the U21 tournament is P9 W5 L4. They last reached this stage in 2009 in Sweden, succumbing 1-0 to eventual champions Germany.

• The Netherlands have contested only four semi-finals previously. When they got to the last four for the second time in 1998 – losing to Greece – the other semi was between Spain and Norway, just like this year.

• The winning side will face the winners of the Spain v Norway semi-final in the final on 18 June at Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium.

Team ties
• Marco Verratti came off the bench to score his first goal for Italy's senior side, a stoppage-time equaliser, in the 1-1 friendly draw with the Netherlands on 6 February. Alessandro Florenzi also appeared as a substitute while Kevin Strootman, Stefan de Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi, Jordy Clasie, Adam Maher and debutants Daley Blind and Ola John all started for the Dutch. Ricardo van Rhijn featured as an Oranje substitute.

• Strootman played in PSV Eindhoven's 3-0 home victory over Insigne's SSC Napoli in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League group stage, with Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum both unused substitutes. The latter pair played – with Strootman a spectator – in PSV's 3-1 win in the return in Naples.

• Cristiano Biraghi made his first-team debut for FC Internazionale Milano as a last-minute substitute in a 1-0 UEFA Champions League success over an FC Twente team including Luuk de Jong in the 2010/11 group stage. John was on the bench.

• Blind's father Danny captained AFC Ajax in their 1995 UEFA Champions League final triumph against AC Milan.

• Netherlands coach Cor Pot was assistant boss of the FC Zenit St Petersburg side whose reign as UEFA Cup holders ended with a 2-1 aggregate loss to Udinese Calcio in the 2008/09 round of 16.

Penalty shoot-outs
• Italy have won one past semi-final on penalties, beating France 5-3 after a goalless draw in 1994. The Azzurrini also ousted Spain 4-2 in a final shoot-out in 1996 and overcame Portugal 4-3 in an Olympic play-off in 2007. However, they did lose 3-0 to Spain on penalties in the two-legged 1986 final.

• The Netherlands' only shoot-out in the latter stages brought a 13-12 victory over England in the 2007 semi-finals.

Italy news
• Coach Mangia is hopeful of having Insigne back from the ankle injury he sustained in the second game against Israel.

• The squad's most serious casualty to date, Luca Marrone, has stayed on to support his team-mates in the semi-final after his club, Juventus, responded positively to his request to remain in Israel.

• Mangia has reiterated his desire to win in a certain style. "Playing good football is essential," he said. "Based on how we started to think since I took over, we've always said it's important to win, but it's even more important the manner in which you win."

Netherlands news
• Bram Nuytinck was ruled out of the remainder of the championship on Thursday after an MRI scan confirmed a problem with his left knee, which flared up during the previous evening's match against Spain. The RSC Anderlecht defender returned to his club straight away for treatment.

• Strootman and De Vrij are both training fully and available for selection following very minor niggles.

• The Netherlands underwent a gentle recovery session at the team hotel on Thursday morning before recreational time and interviews on the beach. Pot's men had a closed training session on Thursday evening prior to going to a restaurant for dinner.

• Van Rhijn celebrated his 22nd birthday on Thursday with a cake and balloons.

• If he figures in the semi-final, Leroy Fer will equal Arnold Bruggink's record as the Netherlands' most-capped player at U21 level, with 31 appearances.

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