Gigi Di Biagio has work to do, as Italy’s Under-21 side suffered a surprise 2-1 friendly defeat in Romania.
This was the Azzurrini’s chance to warm up for September’s crucial European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Serbia and Cyprus, but did not go as planned.
Federico Bernardeschi of Fiorentina and Cristiano Biraghi went close, but George Puscas was able to put Romania in front with a header from close range on a corner.
Watford midfielder Cristian Battocchio forced a save, but once more Italy’s defender from a corner was woeful and Mihai Balasa nodded in a second.
In first half stoppages Danilo Cataldi curled in a free kick to get one back, but Domenico Berardi, Federico Viviani and Samuele Longo didn’t make the most of chances to avoid defeat. Daniele Rugani saw a header palmed round the post.
Francesco Bardi was forced to tip a Claudiu Bumba effort out from under the bar.
Romania 2-1 Italy
Scorers: Puscas 30 (R), Balasa 44 (R), Cataldi 45 (I)
Romania U21: Buzbuchi; Balasa (Popadiuc 66), Tiru, Boldor, Filip (Tosca 76); Iancu (Putanu 81), Cretu, Nedelcu (Serban 66), Rotariu (Bumba 66); Mitrita (Tanase 46); Puscas (Ivan 73)
Italy U21: Bardi; Zappacosta (Sabelli 65), Bianchetti (Romagnoli 77), Antei (Rugani 46), Biraghi (Dezi 77); Cataldi (Viviani 65), Crisetig (Benassi 65); Bernardeschi (Longo 46), Berardi, Battocchio; Belotti (Trotta 77)