FIGC, the Italian Football Federation, has announced that the Under-20 squad will take place of their Under-21 counterparts in a European Championship qualifying game against Ireland, to be played in Pisa.
This decision was taken after an outbreak of Covid-19 within the camp of the Under-21 squad had already forced the calling off a qualifier against Iceland last week, but after three further cases were identified on Monday, the Federation decided to replace the full squad.
Under-20 manager Alberto Bollini has a full squad available and will be allowed by UEFA to call four players from the Under-21s – Patrick Cutrone, Samuele Ricci, Riccardo Sottil and Sandro Tonali. These four had already contracted the virus.
“It’s a big shame,” said Paolo Nicolato, the Under-21 Head Coach. “We’ve looked at every single possibility in what is a very complex situation. I’m proud of my staff and players, their behaviour and sense of responsibility are much more gratifying to me than winning.”
Italy are currently second in the group behind Ireland, who could use this unfortunate situation to make a decisive step in ensuring automatic qualification for the European Championship with a win in Italy.
However, Ireland have also their fair share of troubles, with a number of Under-21 squad players joining the first team who have been hit by withdrawals.