England under-19 1-2 Italy under-19: Dimarco brace books Italian spot in the final

England, despite being favourites, were pipped by a staunch defensive effort.

England under-19 1-2 Italy under-19: Dimarco brace books Italian spot in the final
Image credit: UEFA.com
England U19
1 2
Italy U19
England U19: (4-4-2) Woodman; Walker-Peters, Tomori, Oxford, Kenny; Brown, Onomah, Rossiter, Maitland-Niles; Abraham (Ojo 58'), Solanke.
Italy U19: (4-4-2) Meret; Vitturini, Romagna, Coppolaro, Dimarco (Pezzella 75'); Picchi, Barella, Locatelli, Ghiglione; Favilli (Cutrone 80'), Panico (Minelli 58').
SCORE: 0-1, Dimarco 27' PEN. 0-2, Dimarco 60'. 1-2, Picchi OG 84'.
REFEREE: Roi Reinshreiber (ISR). Booked: Oxford (59').

Italy have secured their place in the 2016 UEFA European under-19 Championship final thanks to a 2-1 win over England.

Federico Dimarco was the hero once more, as he scored his third and fourth goals of the tournament.

A late own goal from Alberto Picchi gave England hope, though they just couldn't find a way through the Italians' defence.

Changes aplenty for England, Locatelli returns for Italy

Aidy Boothroyd made five changes to the England side that edged Croatia 2-1 in the final group game. Taylor Moore, Dael Fry, Ryan Ledson, Ademola Lookman and Seyi Ojo dropped out for Fikayo Tomori, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Jordan Rossiter, Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke, as they returned to full strength.

As for Italy, Paolo Vanoli opted for just one change from the draw against Portugal. Manuel Locatelli came in for Simone Pontisso, as expected.

Dimarco delivers

It was a slow start to proceedings in Mannheim, with the rain seemingly hampering the games of teams. It was, however, England who had the better opportunities as they went in search of an early opener. The best of which fell for Izzy Brown after a quick counter, though his effort was deflected into the arms of Alex Meret.

Italy did have a half chance but Dimarco's excellent cross proved just too high for the arriving Giuseppe Panico. England's frustration was beginning to grow, and it resulted in a poor touch and rash challenge inside the box by Tomori on Andrea Favilli. That gave Dimarco his third chance to score from the spot this tournament, and he duly converted.

England were pushing for an equaliser immediately after going behind but had no joy in doing so; the Italian back-line was compact and continue to force mistakes from their opponents. A series of clumsy fouls in the middle of park meant neither side could get anything going behind the break, aside from a well-timed Fredie Woodman clearance.

Late Picchi own goal makes no difference

The second half began with Italy on top and unfortunate not to be further ahead, as a wonderful ball in by Paolo Ghiglione just evaded the desperate efforts of Favilli and Panico. A few moments later and the latter saw his snap-shot shoveled behind by Woodman, in what was a strong and powerful start from the Italians.

That seemed to spark England into life, as a period of real pressure followed. Abraham couldn't sort his feet out quickly enough to convert from Jonjoe Kenny's cross, while Reece Oxford was always struggling to get his header on target from a deep corner. However, just as another head of steam was built up, Italy struck again.

It came from an Oxford handball on the edge of the area, as he charged out to block a shot. 20 yards out, Dimarco lined up his shot and curled it into the corner which Woodman was standing in. Instead, he made the fatal error of guessing the dead-ball was heading up and over the wall.

That effectively killed the game off, though the English did test Meret towards the end of the game. However, while he stood up to everything England had, it was a deflection his own team-mate that saw him beaten for the first team. A corner was cleared but only into Picchi, who knew little about it as the ball cannoned into the net.

Italy did manage to hang on, grabbing another unlikely win thanks largely to their staunch defence and Dimarco's dead-ball delight. England will be wondering where it all went wrong, as they failed to live up to their tag as favourties.