Italy defeat not enough for Austria
Monday, December 2, 2013
Italy 0-1 Austria
Enrico Sbardella's Group A winners lost to a valiant Austria side who were nonetheless eliminated as England progressed.
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Barbara Dunst's 36th-minute goal gave Austria a 1-0 win – but this victory was not enough for them to accompany Italy into the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship semi-finals.
Enrico Sbardella's side, already confirmed as semi-finalists and Group A winners after beating England and Portugal in the last six days, succumbed to Dunst's powerful header four minutes before the interval. However, Austria not only required their first win in any UEFA women's final tournament, but also needed England to lose to Portugal; instead the hosts prevailed 6-1 to secure second place.
Initially, Italy looked the sharper team here. Annamaria Serturini's strike elicited a fingertip save from Carolin Grössinger, Gloria Marinelli headed over and Valery Vigliucci powered in a shot. Gradually, though, Austria took control. Viktoria Pinther managed to get past goalkeeper Alessia Piazza, though not a posse of retreating defenders, as panic briefly beset the Italian back line. Pinther also blazed over from Katharina Naschenweng's corner as Austria settled to the task.
Their qualification mission assumed added urgency with England scoring against Portugal, so Dominik Thalhammer's charges could have done with Pinther outwitting Piazza in a one-on-one. In the 36th minute, though, Austria's attacking promise finally delivered a goal as skipper Dunst nodded in Naschenweng's corner.
Italy felt compelled to make a half-time change, yet still the traffic flowed towards their goal, albeit now at the opposite end of a well-attended stadium. Pinther trickled a shot agonisingly wide and then saw a header fumbled – somehow – to safety by Piazza. Such was Austria's attacking desire that they allowed the opposition space for a three-on-two counter that concluded with Marinelli's hasty strike.
However, not even Serturini's audacious late lob could deny the Austrians their consolation victory. Italy, though, move on to a semi-final against Germany on Thursday.