FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019

FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019

23 May - 15 June

FIFA U-20 World Cup

Matchday Preview: Italy and Ecuador battle for bronze

Andrea Pinamonti of Italy celebrates after scoring his team's first goal
© Getty Images
  • Italy and Ecuador go head to head for third place
  • Gli Azzurrini beat the South Americans in Group B
  • Leonardo Campana hoping to open his Poland account

Poland 2019 semi-finalists Italy and Ecuador will meet in Friday’s play-off for third place in Gdynia, at the stadium where the Italians' title hopes faltered against Ukraine. Runners-up at the 2018 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, Italy will be looking to bounce back against an Ecuador side that is also aiming to end on a high note.

The reigning South American champions were dreaming of joining Brazil and Argentina as competition winners only to come up against a resolute Korea Republic in the last four. La Tricolor have nevertheless broken new ground at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, having never previously advanced beyond the Round of 16.

Friday’s match will be the second between the teams at this year’s tournament, following Italy’s 1-0 win in Group B. The European side should not read too much into that result, given the fact that Ecuador dominated the game but were unable to find a way past an inspired Alessandro Plizzari in the Azzurrini goal.

The game

Friday 14 June
Italy-Ecuador (Gdynia, 20:30 local time)

What you need to know

Italy have racked up a number of top-three finishes in European Championships and World Cups at the youth level in recent years, including third place at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, when they beat Uruguay on penalties after a match that ended goalless.

“I don’t like to see my players in that state. They were devastated. They’ve no reason to be hard on themselves though. We’ve all done our best. We need to concentrate on this match now and achieve something significant.”
Ecuador coach Jorge Celico

Players to watch

Leonardo Campana (Ecuador)
Though it might seem hard to believe for the leading scorer at the South American qualifying competition, Campana has yet to find the back of the net in Poland. The Ecuador No9, who has been denied time and again by some in-form goalkeepers, will be anxious to return home with a goal or two as well as a bronze medal.

Gianluca Scamacca (Italy)
The Italy forward has yet to score at Poland 2019 either, though he thought he had struck a stunning stoppage-time equaliser against Ukraine in the semi-final only for the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to disallow the goal due to a foul. That effort nevertheless showed what the 6’5 (1.95m) Italian can do aside from being a target man and holding the ball up in attack.

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