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Three years later, a look back at one of Italy’s most talented U-21 squads and how each player has fared since finishing as runner-ups at the 2013 U-21 European Championship.

The date was June 18th, 2013. Inside Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, two young and exciting squads marched onto the pitch to contest the Final of the UEFA Under-21 European Championship. On one side, the defending U-21 European champions Spain, La Rojita, managed by Julen Lopetegui and guided by top scorer, Alvaro Morata. On the other, Gli Azzurrini, Italy’s new crop of future stars led by Devis Mangia. Both nations had topped their respective groups and both earned clean sheets against their opponents in the Knockout Round. Italy were appearing in their record 7th U-21 European Final while Spain were attempting to repeat as champions in consecutive Final appearances. Despite fielding their most promising squad in recent years, Italy failed to add to their trophy cabinet and were beaten by a talented Spain set-up, 4-2.

Since its creation in 1978 (having succeeded the U-23 Challenge Cup), Italy have been the competitions most successful nation. They have lifted the trophy a record 5 times of which 3 of those victories were in consecutive years (1992, 1994, 1996). In a tournament known to catapult young stars towards future stardom, it is only normal that expectations were high for players on this Azzurrini squad to make the jump to the Senior squad and lead them for years to come. With the on-going debate of squad depth with the Azzurri under Antonio Conte and the worry about the lack of quality in certain positions within Starting XI, it is surprising that only 4 players from that acclaimed group have regularly received call-ups. However, not all have seen consistent pitch time.

Below is a look at how the careers of each member of Italy’s 2013 Under-21 European Championship squad has turned out since finishing as runners-up at the competition:

 

Starting XI vs Spain

ItalyU21_2013(Bench: Leali, Colombi; Biraghi, Capuano; Bertolacci, Crimi, Marrone, Saponara; Destro, Paloschi, Sansone, Gabbiadini)

Goalkeepers

 

Francesco Bardi

OLOMOUC, CZECH REPUBLIC - JUNE 24: Francesco Bardi of Italy gestures during the UEFA Under21 European Championship match between England and Italy at Andruv Stadium on June 24, 2015 in Olomouc, Czech Republic. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

OLOMOUC, CZECH REPUBLIC – JUNE 24: Francesco Bardi of Italy gestures during the UEFA Under21 European Championship match between England and Italy at Andruv Stadium on June 24, 2015 in Olomouc, Czech Republic. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 37

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Frosinone (on loan from Inter)

Francesco Bardi was the undisputed starter at the 2013 Under-21 European Championships. Having started 6 out 10 games in the qualification round, including both fixtures against Sweden in the playoff round, he was given the nod between the posts for the tournament. Bardi played in all 5 games, guiding his teammates to the Final but was unable to stop Spain from notching four goals on route to defending their European title. It seemed as if Inter had a future number one in their ranks after purchasing the young shot-stopper from his hometown club of Livorno in 2011.

Since then, the now 24-year old Bardi has been loaned out to four different clubs and has yet to play in a league game since May 17th of last year where he completed the full 90 minutes in a 2-0 loss to Torino while playing for Chievo. Bardi is currently backing up his former Azzurrini teammate, Nicola Leali at Frosinone and it is unclear what the future will hold for him with his parent club, Inter.

Nicola Leali

L'AQUILA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 07: Leali Nicola of Italy Under 21 in action during Italy Under 21 Training Session at Castel di Sangro on September 7, 2014 in L'Aquila, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

L’AQUILA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 07: Leali Nicola of Italy Under 21 in action during Italy Under 21 Training Session at Castel di Sangro on September 7, 2014 in L’Aquila, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 1

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Frosinone (on loan from Juventus)

Going into the Under-21 EURO, Nicola Leali would only see playing time if either Bardi were to pick up an injury or suffer a string of bad performances. That was never the case and thus Leali spent the entire tournament as a back-up on the bench. The Castigione delle Stiviere-born ‘keeper was scooped up from Brescia by Juventus back in 2012 and just like Bardi, he has yet to appear for his parent club. Leali is currently on loan at his fourth club, Frosinone after spending time with Lanciano, Spezia and Cesena. Although Leali spent time backing-up Bardi during his tenure with the U-21s, the roles are now reversed at Frosinone as Leali is the club’s starter and Bardi is his back-up.

Leali had been touted as the ‘future heir to Buffon’ but as Juventus continue to scout goalkeepers around Europe and youth products such as Emil Audero, Leonardo Vitali and Mattia Del Favero make their mark in the Primavera, he will be facing some stiff competition in the future.

 

Simone Colombi

PADOVA, ITALY - AUGUST 24: Simone Colombi of AC Padova looks on during the Serie B match between AC Padova and Trapani Calcio at Stadio Euganeo on August 24, 2013 in Padova, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

PADOVA, ITALY – AUGUST 24: Simone Colombi of AC Padova looks on during the Serie B match between AC Padova and Trapani Calcio at Stadio Euganeo on August 24, 2013 in Padova, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 2

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Carpi (on loan from Cagliari)

Colombi was in the same boat as Leali at the Under-21 EURO as he did not feature in a single game throughout. At the time of the tournament, Colombi was owned by Atalanta and was sent on numerous loan stints to clubs such as Pergolettese and Padova to name a few. His longest and most successful loan stint was with Juve Stabia, spending a year and half with the club from January 2011 to June 2012, helping the club secure promotion to Serie B from Lega Pro.

The year after the 2013 edition of the tournament, Cagliari purchased Colombi from Atalanta and at the moment, is on loan at Serie A newcomers Carpi. He has yet to step foot onto the pitch with Carpi and although Cagliari have a very good chance at winning promotion back to the top-flight, another loan stint is highly likely for Colombi next season.

 

Defenders

 

Giulio Donati (RB)

Italy's defender Giulio Donati (L) challenges Norway's forward Joshua King during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship group A football match between Norway and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on June 11, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Italy’s defender Giulio Donati (L) challenges Norway’s forward Joshua King during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship group A football match between Norway and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on June 11, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 24

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: FSV Mainz

Donati played every minute of every game at the Under-21 EURO as the Azzurrini‘s starting right-back. He was the only natural right-back selected by Devis Mangia for the tournament. At club level, he rose through the ranks of Inter’s Primavera squad after being plucked from Lucchese at 18-years old however his only appearance for them was in the Coppa Italia during the 2009/2010 season. After making a name for himself at the summer tournament in 2013, Inter sold Donati to Leverkusen in July of that year. The move benefited Donati as he gained invaluable Champions League experience under his belt, appearing 16 times over the last three years in the prestigious competition.

Donati was sold to Mainz during the January transfer window and has made 5 appearances for the club. Against Bayern Munich at the beginning of March, he provided the assist for Jairo Samperio’s opening goal, in a game where Mainz shocked the Bundesliga leaders, 2-1.

 

Luca Caldirola (CB)

England's midfielder Jonjo Shelvey heads the ball with Italy's defender Luca Caldirola (R) during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship group A football match between England and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on June 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

England’s midfielder Jonjo Shelvey heads the ball with Italy’s defender Luca Caldirola (R) during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship group A football match between England and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on June 5, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 31

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: SV Darmstadt 98

Caldirola was the veteran of the squad at 22-years old, captaining the side in all 5 games including the Final. He was also selected as captain during their two-legged U-21 EURO playoff qualifier against Sweden. Another Inter youth product, Caldirola never featured for his parent club in Serie A but did make one appearance during their 2011/2012 Champions League campaign. He never appeared for Inter again and has spent the 2 years in the Bundesliga where he currently plies his trade with SV Darmstadt.

The 25-year old is a regular in the club’s Starting XI, playing in all 27 games so far this season. Since graduating from the U-21 team, Caldirola has yet to receive a call to represent Italy at the Senior level.

 

Matteo Bianchetti (CB)

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JUNE 18: Matteo Bianchetti of Italy tries to tackle Alvaro Morata of Spain during the UEFA European U21 Championships Final match between Spain and Italy at Teddy Stadium on June 18, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – JUNE 18: Matteo Bianchetti of Italy tries to tackle Alvaro Morata of Spain during the UEFA European U21 Championships Final match between Spain and Italy at Teddy Stadium on June 18, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 21

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Hellas Verona

Bianchetti played in 4 out of the 5 games at the 2013 Under-21 EURO and partnered Caldirola at the back in the Final. He would later go on to captain Italy at the 2015 Under-21 EURO in their opening game loss to Sweden, but did not feature in the remaining two group stage games. Bianchetti joins the list of players on this side that were a member of Inter’s Primavera, only to be later sold. Hellas Verona signed the center-back from Inter a few weeks after the 2013 Under-21 EURO. Three years later, Bianchetti is still with Hellas Verona, making 15 appearances for them this season after spending a year on loan at Spezia.

 

Marco Capuano (CB)

Italy's defender Marco Capuano (R) challenges Norway's midfielder Valon Berisha during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship group A football match between Norway and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on June 11, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Italy’s defender Marco Capuano (R) challenges Norway’s midfielder Valon Berisha during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship group A football match between Norway and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on June 11, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 18

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Cagliari

Capuano played the full 90 minutes in Italy’s final group stage game against Norway which ended up being his final appearance for the U-21 squad. The Pescara native signed with Cagliari during last year’s winter transfer window after playing for his hometown club. Capuano feature in 8 of the club’s first 13 games of the Serie B season but has not been included in the squad since November.

Along with watching his squad from the stands, Capuano is dealing with a more serious matter off the field. The 24 year old has a scheduled court date in September 2016 after being charged for driving under the influence back in January 2014, where he crashed his BMW into a construction site, in Pescara. His alcohol level was said to be double the amount allowed by law. If convicted, he could face up to six months imprisonment, his license risks being suspended up to a year and he could be fined between 800 to 3,200, as reported by Italian publication La Nuova Sardegna. With potential jail time looming over his head, there are no guarantees Capuano remains a part of Cagliari next season.

 

Vasco Regini (LB)

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JUNE 18: Vasco Regini (R) of Italy is challenged by Iker Muniain of Spain during the UEFA European U21 Championship final match between Italy and Spain at Teddy Stadium on June 18, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – JUNE 18: Vasco Regini (R) of Italy is challenged by Iker Muniain of Spain during the UEFA European U21 Championship final match between Italy and Spain at Teddy Stadium on June 18, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 5

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Napoli (on loan from Sampdoria)

Throughout the qualifiers, Vasco Regini did not feature in a single game however he was selected by Devis Mangia for the 2013 Under-21 EURO. He ended up starting in the final group stage game, the Semi-Final and the Final, playing every minute in all three at left-back.

Regini is on his second stint with Sampdoria, the club who purchased him from Cesena in 2009. Prior to returning to Sampdoria in 2013, he helped Empoli survive relegation to Lega Pro in 2011/2012 and played 81 games over two seasons in all competitions. Regini is now on a short-term loan deal at Napoli where he reunited with his former manager, Maurizio Sarri. At the moment, the 25-year old has been unable to displace Ghoulam and Hysaj for the left-back role.

 

Cristiano Biraghi (LB)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JUNE 08: Cristiano Biraghi (L) of Italy is challenged by Ofir Krieff of Israel during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Italy and Israel at Bloomfield Stadium on June 8, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – JUNE 08: Cristiano Biraghi (L) of Italy is challenged by Ofir Krieff of Israel during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Italy and Israel at Bloomfield Stadium on June 8, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 22

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Granada (on loan from Inter)

Biraghi held down the starting left-back role for the first two group stage games but was replaced by Vasco Regini for the rest of the tournament. That same year, he was coming off his best season statistically, playing in 33 games and nothing four assists for then-Serie B side Cittadella. He is another Inter Primavera product who despite making two Champions League appearances in 2010/2011, has failed to wear the jersey in a Serie A game.

La Liga is now the temporary home for Biraghi, on loan at Granada where he has made 25 league appearances and added an assist to his name.

 

Midfielders

 

Marco Verratti (CM/DM)

Italy's midfielder Marco Verratti (R) challenges Spain's midfielder Isco during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship final football match between Italy and Spain at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on June 18, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Italy’s midfielder Marco Verratti (R) challenges Spain’s midfielder Isco during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship final football match between Italy and Spain at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on June 18, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 7

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 15

Current club: Paris Saint-Germain

By the time the Under-21 EURO had kicked-off, Marco Verratti had already been capped three times for the Senior squad (managed then by Cesare Prandelli), won a Serie B title with Pescara and moved to Paris Saint-Germain for 12 million. Quite an impressive resume at the time for a player considered one of the top young midfielders in Europe. At the Under-21 EURO, Verratti featured in 4 out of the 5 games and dazzled with his spectacular passing range and vision. Discipline was not his strong suit as he collected a yellow card in three consecutive games.

Verratti scored his first goal in an Azzurri jersey, a 91st minute equalizer versus Netherlands in an official friendly a month before the Under-21 EURO and continued to rack up Senior appearances on the International level afterwards. With Paris Saint-Germain, he has become an indispensable part of their midfield and will be completing his fourth season with the club. Verratti’s trophy cabinet is also getting pretty full these days, having won four Ligue 1 titles, two Coupe de la Ligue titles, a Coupe de France and two French Supercups. Expect Verratti to add to his 15 Senior caps as his career continues to blossom and could feature for Italy at the EURO in France this summer should Antonio Conte select him for his final squad.

 

Fausto Rossi (CM)

Italy's midfielder Fausto Rossi (L) challenges Spain's midfielder Koke during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship final football match between Italy and Spain at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on June 18, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Italy’s midfielder Fausto Rossi (L) challenges Spain’s midfielder Koke during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship final football match between Italy and Spain at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on June 18, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 25

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Pro Vercelli (on loan from Juventus)

Fausto Rossi occupied the central midfield alongside Marco Verratti throughout the tournament in Israel. The Juventus youth product had the honor of being a part of their Primavera squad which won two straight Viareggio titles in 2009 and 2010. Upon moving up from the Primavera, Rossi was sent out on loan to Serie B club Brescia during the 2013 season. A year later, Rossi would secure a famous win for his new club, Real Valladolid, scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 win against Barcelona. It would end up being his only goal in 31 league appearances for them.

The midfielder is on his fourth loan stint from Juventus, playing for Pro Vercelli in Serie B, where he has a goal and an assist in 16 games. Rossi’s hopes of one day receiving a call-up for the Senior side are very slim.

 

Andrea Bertolacci (CM)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JUNE 11: Andrea Bertolacci (L) of Italy is challenged by Anders Konradssen of Norway during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Norway and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium on June 11, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – JUNE 11: Andrea Bertolacci (L) of Italy is challenged by Anders Konradssen of Norway during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Norway and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium on June 11, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 7

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 5

Current club: A.C. Milan

Bertolacci made only a single appearance in the Under-21 European Championships but it was a memorable one. In the 94th minute against Norway in the Group Stage, Bertolacci, who was subbed on in place of Riccardo Saponara at the interval, left a lasting impression as he scored a last-gasp equalizer to end the game at 1-1. Giulio Donati crossed in a swerving ball which Norwegian goalkeeper Arild Ostbo failed to connect with as he rushed off his line and Bertolacci made him pay with a magnificent back-to-goal flick, looping over everyone and into the net. Despite the highlight reel goal, he was not called upon again for the remainder of the competition.

Although it was his final outing as a U-21 player, he would return to the National Team set-up the following year as current Azzurri manager, Antonio Conte, gave him his first Senior cap in a friendly against Albania in November 2014. Bertolacci would go on to feature in three 2016 EURO qualifiers but has yet to add to his five International caps at the Senior level since his last appearance in a friendly against Norway. The midfielder now calls Milan home following his time at Genoa and Roma.

 

Luca Marrone (DM)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JUNE 05: Luca Marronei of Italy in action with Jonjo Shelvey (R) of England during the UEFA European U21 Championships, Group A match between England and Italy at the Bloomfield Stadium on June 5, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – JUNE 05: Luca Marronei of Italy in action with Jonjo Shelvey (R) of England during the UEFA European U21 Championships, Group A match between England and Italy at the Bloomfield Stadium on June 5, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 31

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Hellas Verona (on loan from Juventus)

Marrone had an unfortunate time at the Under-21 EURO. Despite playing in the first group stage agame against England, an injury kept him out of the next two fixtures and was left on the bench for the final two games of the competition. He was one of the most capped U-21 players on the squad at the time with 31, having also featured in the Azzurrini‘s 2011 Under-21 EURO qualification campaign, which they lost out to Belarus in the two-legged playoff.

The defensive midfielder went into the tournament coming off a Scudetto-winning season with Juventus. He would go on to collect more silverwear as a Bianconero including two more Scudetti. Marrone is on his second loan in six months, joining Hellas Verona after an early season spell at Carpi.

 

Marco Crimi (CM)

Norway's midfielder Valon Berisha (L) challenges Italy's midfielder Marco Crimi during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship group A football match between Norway and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on June 11, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Norway’s midfielder Valon Berisha (L) challenges Italy’s midfielder Marco Crimi during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship group A football match between Norway and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on June 11, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 12

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Carpi (on loan from Bologna)

With Marco Verratti already on a yellow card in the final and Italy down by two goals, Devis Mangia made the call to Marco Crimi as a late-game sub for Verratti. Crimi played three games, including the Final, all in a defensive midfield role. The tournament would also be the curtain call on his career with the U-21 team, graduating from it after the competition.

Crimi came up through the system of his hometown club Messina before transferring to Bari in 2009. At the time of the tournament, Crimi was playing for Grosseto in Serie B but was sold a year later to Latina. Bologna signed the midfielder for their return to the top flight, only to loan him out to Carpi six months later. He has made 13 appearances this season and collected one assist.

 

Riccardo Saponara (AM)

Israel's goalkeeper Boris Kleyman (L) concedes a goal to Italy's forward Riccardo Saponara during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship group A football match between Italy and Israel at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel’s goalkeeper Boris Kleyman (L) concedes a goal to Italy’s forward Riccardo Saponara during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship group A football match between Italy and Israel at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv on June 8, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 22

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Empoli

Although accustomed to playing as an attacking midfielder, Riccardo Saponara was deployed as a right winger by Devis Mangia for the tournament. Against Israel in the group stage, he had scored his third International goal at the u-21 level.

When in his preferred attacking midfield role, Saponara is a constant threat. Before the start of the Under-21 EURO, he had closed out a fantastic campaign with Empli in Serie B, scoring 13 goals and collecting 15 assists, a career high on both ends. It would earn him an upgraded move to one of the most prestigious clubs in Italy, A.C. Milan for the 2013/2014 season. However, he would only appear 8 times for Milan in a year and a half which caused an uproar among calcio fans due to the club under-utilizing him. A loan back to Empoli in the second half of the 2014/2015 season led to 7 goals and four assists in 17 games for his former club. The result afterwards? He was sold back to Empoli this past summer and has not looked back since. With 5 goals and 8 assists this season, there are cries from supporters that it is time for Saponara to get a call to the Azzurri at the Senior level.

 

Attackers

Alessandro Florenzi (RW)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JUNE 08: Alessandro Florenzi (front) of Italy is challenged by Eyal Golasa of Israel during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Italy and Israel at Bloomfield Stadium on June 8, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – JUNE 08: Alessandro Florenzi (front) of Italy is challenged by Eyal Golasa of Israel during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Italy and Israel at Bloomfield Stadium on June 8, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 18

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 15

Current club: Roma

In a span of 4 months, Florenzi was competing in the 2013 Under-21 EURO and playing with the Senior side in a World Cup qualifier. He already had two Senior caps while helping the Azzurrini during their EURO qualification campaign. At the tournament, Florenzi was slotted on the right side of Devis Mangia’s 4-4-2 and once as a central midfielder against Israel, where he scored his only goal of the tournament. During the final, Florenzi tallied 58 minutes before being subbed off for Riccardo Saponara.

Since then, Florenzi is still taking the field on a weekly basis for Roma. He made his debut with Roma in the 2010/2011 season but exploded onto the scene in 2013, scoring 3 goals and picking up 5 assists in 36 games following a loan stint at Crotone. Florenzi is now a familiar face in Roma’s Starting XI, accumulating 137 domestic and 14 Champions League appearances to date. It is very likely Florenzi will be returning to a EURO this summer, this time as a member of Antonio Conte’s Azzurri squad.

 

Lorenzo Insigne (LW)

Spain's defender Martin Montoya (L) and midfielder Isco challenge Italy's forward Lorenzo Insigne (R) during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship final football match between Spain and Italy at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on June 18, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Spain’s defender Martin Montoya (L) and midfielder Isco challenge Italy’s forward Lorenzo Insigne (R) during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship final football match between Spain and Italy at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on June 18, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 15

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 8

Current club: Napoli

Insigne wad destined to shine with the U-21s and shine he did. In his first International U-21 cap, he scored two goals and assisted twice in a 7-2 crushing of Liechtenstein during Italy’s U-21 EURO qualifying campaign. By the time the competition began, he had 6 goals and 3 assists in 10 appearances. In the opening game of the group stage, he added to his numbers by scoring the lone goal in their 1-0 win against England. He would later sign his name on the score-sheet in the Final in a losing effort to Spain.

Before representing his native Napoli on the grand stage of Serie A, Insigne was lighting up the fields in the lower leagues of Italian football. 19 goals for Foggia in the 2009/2010 Lega Pro season and the year later, 18 goals and 14 assists for Zeman’s high-flying Pescara side in Serie B. Insigne was a part of the three-headed production machine which included his U-21 teammates, Ciro Immobile and Marco Verratti. For the Senior side, he only has 8 caps under his belt, a surprising statistic when you take into account his performances for Napoli. He did not feature in Italy’s EURO 2016 qualification campaign due to both injury and not being selected. However, two eye-opening outings versus Spain and Germany in recent friendlies has the Italian football community begging for Antonio Conte to put him on the plane to France.

 

Nicola Sansone (LW)

CAIRATE, ITALY - MAY 28: Nicola Sansone of Italy looks on during an Italy training session at Milanello on May 28, 2013 in Cairate, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

CAIRATE, ITALY – MAY 28: Nicola Sansone of Italy looks on during an Italy training session at Milanello on May 28, 2013 in Cairate, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 8

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 1

Current club: Sassuolo

A former Bayern Munich youth product, Nicola Sansone appeared in two group stage games and in the Semi-Final against Netherlands. Although he was not chosen for the qualifiers, his performances in the friendlies prior to the competition caught the eye of Devis Mangia, enough for him to take the winger to Israel that summer.

The German-born Italian transferred for free to Parma from Bayern’s B team in 2011. Parma would later sell Sansone to Sassuolo where at the moment, is having his best season statistically. The winger is sitting on 6 goals and 5 assists in 29 games played. Antonio Conte rewarded Sansone with two call-ups to the Azzurri but he only appeared once to an earn an official International cap against Portugal in a 2015 friendly. It is very doubtful that Sansone gets another phone call by Conte as he has not been selected since that day.

 

Fabio Borini (CF)

PETAH TIQWA, ISRAEL - JUNE 15: Fabio Borini of Italy celebrates scoring the first goal during the UEFA European U21 Championships, Semi- Final match between Italy and the Netherlands at Ha Moshava Stadium on June 15, 2013 in Petah Tiqwa, Israel. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

PETAH TIQWA, ISRAEL – JUNE 15: Fabio Borini of Italy celebrates scoring the first goal during the UEFA European U21 Championships, Semi- Final match between Italy and the Netherlands at Ha Moshava Stadium on June 15, 2013 in Petah Tiqwa, Israel. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 18

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 1

Current club: Sunderland

Borini entered the tournament ready to supply the goals after dealing with injuries during the tail-end of the qualification campaign and pre-tournament friendlies. He would end up scoring on two occasions. The game-winner against Netherlands in the Semi-Final and a consolation goal in the Final against Spain.

At the time of the tournament, Borini had completed his first full season in the EPL with Liverpool. It has been an uphill climb since for the striker. Since scoring 9 goals in 24 games with Roma in 2011/2012, he has only gotten close to that goal tally once, back in 2013/2014 when on loan to Sunderland from Liverpool. He was sold to Sunderland over the summer and has appeared in 20 games thus far, scoring three times. Cesare Prandelli gave him his first International cap at a Senior level during a 2012 friendly against the United States. It would be his only cap to date.

 

Alberto Paloschi (CF)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JUNE 11: Alberto Paloschi (L) of Italy is challenged by Markus Henriksen of Norway during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Norway and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium on June 11, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – JUNE 11: Alberto Paloschi (L) of Italy is challenged by Markus Henriksen of Norway during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Norway and Italy at Bloomfield Stadium on June 11, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 29

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 0

Current club: Swansea

The former Chievo marksman had been with the U-21 for five years and was playing in his 2nd Under-21 European Championship. One 90 minute appearance in a group stage game against Norway was all he got, failing to add to his nine career U-21 goals.

Despite coming out of Milan’s youth system, he never got a shot to show his true potential with the Rossoneri. After a long-term loan then a permanent sale, Chievo is where Paloschi made his mark. The season following the Under-21 EURO, he hit a career-high 13 goals. A consistent goalscorer for Chievo, Paloschi however never managed to catch the eye of Italy’s Senior side. A transfer to Swansea in January of this year sent him on a new challenge in England but it is clear he will not be suiting up for the Azzurri under Antonio Conte.

 

Mattia Destro (CF)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JUNE 08: Mattia Destro (R) of Italy is challenged by Omri Ben Harush of Israel during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Italy and Israel at Bloomfield Stadium on June 8, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – JUNE 08: Mattia Destro (R) of Italy is challenged by Omri Ben Harush of Israel during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Italy and Israel at Bloomfield Stadium on June 8, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 17

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 8

Current club: Bologna

Having featured throughout the group stage, Destro did not take the pitch in the Semi-Final nor in the Final. He was unable to get on the score-sheet during the tournament. Prior to the Under-21 EURO, Destro was earning caps with the Senior side as he participated in their 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign, scoring once versus Malta.

Destro had a massive impact with Roma in the Serie A season following the Under-21 EURO. He missed the first 12 gmes of the 2013/2014 season with a knee injury but rebounded with an incredible 13 goals in 20 games. Despite his string of impressive performances, Destro was not selected for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Roma sold Destro to newly-promoted Bologna this past summer. In a similar scenario to his time at Roma, he began the year in a drought but kicked it into high gear, scoring 8 goals in his next 13 games. In 27 games with Bologna, he is on 8 goals and 3 assists. Yet to be called upon by Antonio Conte, he will have to wait and see if a future Azzurri will consider the Ascoli-born striker in their plans.

 

Manolo Gabbiadini (CF)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - JUNE 08: Taleb Twatha (front) of Israel is challenged by Manolo Gabbiadini of Italy during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Italy and Israel at Bloomfield Stadium on June 8, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – JUNE 08: Taleb Twatha (front) of Israel is challenged by Manolo Gabbiadini of Italy during the UEFA European U21 Championship Group A match between Italy and Israel at Bloomfield Stadium on June 8, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 24

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 6

Current club: Napoli

The left-footed wonder appeared in all five games and scored twice, including a stinging free-kick against Israel. His scoring rate was also quite impressive throughout his U-21 career, notching 12 goals in 24 caps.

That year, Gabbiadini had completed his loan at Bologna, scoring 6 goals in 30 appearances and returned to Juventus before the tournament. He never stepped foot on the pitch in a Bianconero, instead 50% of his rights were sold to Sampdoria the same summer. He now calls Napoli home after being sold for around 13 million in 2014/2015. Gabbiadini mostly saw the field this season via a substitute role however in the Europa League, he exploded with 4 goals in 6 games. With Higuain serving a 4-game suspension, he now has a golden opportunity to stake his claim for a spot in the Starting XI. On an International level, Gabbiadini has earned 6 caps with the Azzurri, most of those coming under Antonio Conte.

 

Ciro Immobile (CF)

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JUNE 18: Ciro Immobile of Italy celebrates scoring a goal during the UEFA European U21 Championships Final match between Spain and Italy at Teddy Stadium on June 18, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – JUNE 18: Ciro Immobile of Italy celebrates scoring a goal during the UEFA European U21 Championships Final match between Spain and Italy at Teddy Stadium on June 18, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Number of caps with Italy U-21: 16

Number of caps with Italy Senior NT: 12

Current club: Torino

Immobile entered the tournament as one of Italy main strikers up front in their 4-4-2 formation. After scoring 5 goals in his last 8 game leading up to the EURO, expectations were high on him to find the back of the net. His only goal however, came in the Final against Spain, nullifying Thiago’s opener to tie the game at 1-1. He did collect two assists in Italy’s 4-0 romp of Israel in the Group Stage.

The Torre Annunziata native had his fair share of success since the tournament. 12 months following it, he was crowned capocannoniere as Serie A’s top striker with 22 goals, appeared in the 2014 World Cup and earned a big money move to Borussia Dortmund. However, it was not all sunshine and rainbows for Immobile after moving to Germany. Failing to settle in and struggling to adapt to Klopp’s system, he could not replicate his goal-scoring form from the previous season Torino. All it took was one season for the German club to ship Immobile out on loan, sending him to Sevilla for 6 months. Once again, Immobile could not break into the Starting XI. It took an emotional return to Torino for him to revive his career, hitting form almost immediately by scoring in his first game back. With 5 goals in 12 games, Immobile also hopes to reinsert himself back into the International picture and convince Antonio Conte to give him a look for his final 2016 EURO squad.

 

 

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