Italy and Norway put friendships aside
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
Italy coach Corrado Corradini and Norway counterpart Jarl Torske are thick as thieves off the pitch but they stress their sides' semi-final meeting on Wednesday "will be no friendly".
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These sides meet in the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship for the first time since the 2008 final, when Alice Parisi's second-half strike earned Italy their first title and denied Norway theirs. This time around the tournament hosts advanced from Group A with a 100% record while eight goals in two games took Norway through following an opening day loss to Germany.
What the coaches say
• Corrado Corradini, Italy
We are two different teams, two different mentalities but tomorrow we seek the same goal. I wanted to meet my friend, Jarl, in the final but that's life. We've got the [FIFA U-20 Women's] World Cup place by getting to the semis and we want to put on a show for our fans – it will be no friendly. Although we're at home they have the advantage with all this wind and rain – it's Norwegian weather. I can't predict what will happen but I forgot to prepare for penalties so hopefully we won't need them. I was cautious going into the group stage because I didn't know how good we were but I'm pretty satisfied.
• Jarl Torske, Norway
We had a tough start against Germany and I'm really pleased with how we've come back – the Spain win was one of our best performances at this level. They're always fascinating games between Norway and Italy and I've lots of respect for them. I'm sure it will be a tight match. Italy have shown a lot of commitment, I've been impressed by the strength of their defence and they also have some pretty good forwards too. The only real continuation from 2008 is Corrado and me [even if Azzurrine skipper Martina Rosucci is still there]. I would of course like revenge for defeat but it is not dominating my thoughts.
Route to semi-finals
Italy: 2-1 Russia, 1-0 Switzerland, 3-1 Belgium
Norway: 1-3 Germany, 3-0 Netherlands, 5-1 Spain
Last three meetings
03/03/10: Italy 0-0 Norway – friendly; La Manga, Spain
13/03/09: Italy 4-4 Norway – friendly; La Manga, Spain
19/07/08: Italy 1-0 Norway – final, Tours, France
• Claudia Mauri/Michela Franco, Italy
The midfield terriers (Franco is nicknamed Gattuso) have underpinned the Azzurrine's success. A disciplined presence in front of the back four, their tactical awareness allows Italy to attack without ever losing their shape.
• Melissa Bjånesøy, Norway
Quick, strong and with exquisite movement, the IL Sandviken striker has already added five goals to the seven she contributed in qualifying. Many believe it will not be long before she is gracing the senior national team.
UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship pedigree
Italy – winners, 2008
Norway – runners-up, 2003, 2008