NEWS
Wednesday November 28 2012
Mangia and Pearce on U-21 draw

Italy Under-21 Coach Devis Mangia and England manager Stuart Pearce comment on their inclusion in the European Championship Group A.

The Azzurrini were paired with England, Norway and hosts Israel, while the clearly tougher Group B has Spain, Germany, Holland and Russia for the tournament in June 2013.

“The eight teams here are all very competitive, so I didn't really have any preferences,” Italy boss Mangia told the official UEFA website.

“What I can say about the other group is that there are teams in it that we know better than the teams that we will face in our group, so now we have to focus on learning things about our opponents.

“People might talk about England and Italy as favourites – for me they have the most experience of such competitions, but there are two sides to that because, as we saw, Norway eliminated France in the play-offs and France were one of the big favourites for this competition.

“Israel are a growing nation and the host team. They will definitely have the crowd on their side.”

England Under-21 manager Pearce agreed with Mangia that Israel are not to be underestimated.

“We're in with the hosts and we've seen from past experience being in with Sweden in 2009 how the home nation buoy up their team.

“If people are perceiving that our group is a slightly easier group, the one thing you do know, if it is the case, whichever teams get out of it will probably have the toughest semi-final, so it counts both ways.

“We feel we have a tough group and we hope to give a good account of ourselves against three really good nations.”

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