Hopeless? Italy left in limbo despite beating Belgium

first_imgNow, we wait.We wait to see if Italy, the host of the 2019 European Under-21 Championship, will fall at the first hurdle.The Azzurrini did what they had to do in Saturday’s must-win meeting with Belgium in Reggio Emilia, triumphing 3-1 with goals from Nicolo Barella, Patrick Cutrone and, almost inevitably, Federico Chiesa, but it wasn’t sufficient to secure top spot in Group A. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? That honour goes to Spain, who routed Poland 5-0 in Bologna to secure their place in the semi-finals by virtue of the fact that they had the better goal difference in a three-way tie for top spot with their vanquished opponents and the Azzurrini.Italy had needed La Rojita to defeat the Poles – who had won both of their previous games – but not by more than two goals.As it stands, the Azzurrini, with their tally of six points and a goal difference of +3, now need results to go their way elsewhere so that they can progress as the best runner-up across all three groups.The wait will be agonising and might not end well for the hosts, given France and Romania need only draw their final game on Monday night to ensure both progress to the knockout stage with seven points apiece.Italian football fans have bitter memories of the ‘biscotto’, with an unlikely 2-2 draw between Sweden and Denmark at Euro 2004 having eliminated the senior squad and allowed both Scandinavian sides to progress.However, there was never any evidence anything untoward went on in Porto and besides, Italy, just like their Under-21 counterparts now, only have themselves to blame for even being in this position.Belgium Italy Euro U21Luigi Di Biagio and his side have essentially consigned themselves to possibly two days in purgatory for losing to a Poland team that Spain routed.Elimination would, thus, be hellish, particularly having overwhelmed La Rojita in their tournament opener in Bologna last weekend.To their credit, they also played with a similar intensity against the hapless Belgians.Crucially, they rediscovered the goalscoring touch which so frustratingly abandoned them against Poland.It took a while, though. Several chances were squandered before Barella atoned for the worst miss of all – an unmarked diving header from a central position – when he lashed in left-footed at the second attempt just moments before the break.Cutrone then doubled the Azzurrini’s advantage with a fine, glancing header from a Lorenzo Pellegrini cross eight minutes into the second half.Knowing that goal difference would be crucial to their hopes of securing the best runners-up place, the hosts continued to charge forward in charge of a third.Unfortunately for them, it was Belgian who struck next, with Yari Verschaeren finding the top right corner of Alex Meret’s goal with a sumptuous curling strike from outside the area.Italy kept coming, though, and deservedly restored their two-goal advantage when Chiesa cut inside from the left flank and whipped the ball home into the top corner with just over a minute of normal time remaining.The goal was originally disallowed for offside but VAR intervened. The wait was excruciating.But nothing compared to what now awaits the Azzurrini and their coach, Di Biagio, who will come under serious pressure to step down if such a talented squad fails to even make the knockout stage of a tournament staged on home soil.In fairness to the former midfielder, his cause was hardly helped by Nicolo Zaniolo and Moise Kean turning up late for a team meeting on the day of the game.Zaniolo wouldn’t have played anyway, as he was suspended, but Di Biagio had already confirmed that Kean would start, so it was a big call for the coach to omit his star player for a game of such importance.The Juventus sensation could have aided the Azzurrini’s bid to boost their goal difference, certainly late on.As it was, though, Kean’s absence didn’t make a difference in terms of determining the outcome of the group.Captain Roland Mandragora said beforehand, “We need a victory and then, we can only hope for the best.”They got their victory in Reggio Emilia. It wasn’t enough to take spot. And is unlikely to earn them a place in the last four.Hope really is all they have left now.last_img read more

One killed two sent to hospital in Burlington crash

A fatal crash in Burlington has claimed the life of a 58 year-old woman and left a 19 year-old with life altering injuries.Police say around 10 o’clock this morning they received several calls about a man driving a vehicle erratically down Fairview street. Tonight there are still markers on the curb and grass tracking the path of the SUV as it left the roadway, that’s when tragedy struck.The vehicle mounted the curb, striking two pedestrians.Police say the 73 year-old man driving this vehicle first struck a teen who was walking on the sidewalk. The man was airlifted to the Hamilton General Hospital in serious conditionHalton Police say the 19 year-old man suffered life altering injuries. His leg was amputated below the knee by the impact from the collision.One man saw the air ambulance land, and paramedics helping the victim who was laying here in this area.“I assumed he was severely hurt just by the way they were working on him and how they put him on the stretcher.”Then a short distance down the street from where the man was struck police say a 58 year-old woman walking by the former restaurant, Chaps when she was hit. She died at the scene.Those who live nearby are shaken.“Its shocking to hear that people lost their lives here.”“This is almost like a QEW accident, the damage, the doors flown off, one person passed away I just wonder what happened.”Police suspect that the 73 year-old man driving this SUV may have suffered a medical emergency which caused him to drive erratically, but they’re still investigating all other possibilities.Investigators were on scene trying to trace the vehicles tracks and they took pictures of the badly damaged vehicle, that also hit a hydro poll and smashed into this restaurant patio.“Aside from the property damage, anytime there is a serious injury or loss of life, you cant get more serious than that.”The mayor of Burlington, Rick Goldring, tweeted his concern saying: “All of Burlington’s thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families affected by the tragic motor vehicle/pedestrian accident that occurred earlier today on Fairview. Thanks to all our first responders for providing professional and caring service.”The driver of the vehicle suffered head injuries from hitting the patio, he is also in hospital recovering. Police say it is too early in the investigation to say whether charges will be laid, they are suspecting that the driver was in medical distress when this happened.CHCH has been told that the driver’s family is with him in the hospital.Police also say the family of the 19 year-old who lost his leg are by his side in the hospital. They are still trying to notify next of kin of the 58 year-old woman who was killed, her identity has not been released. read more