Sunday March 24 2019
Biraghi: 'Dedicated to Astori'

Cristiano Biraghi revealed playing Italy’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Finland was fraught with emotions. “We stayed at the same hotel where we lost Davide Astori.”

The Azzurri opened their qualifying campaign with a 2-0 victory at the Dacia Arena in Udine last night.

“The more time goes on, we understand what the Coach wants and work better together, so it’s just a matter of time,” Fiorentina full-back Biraghi told Rai Sport.

“We’ll try to analyse what went wrong and what we need to improve, so we can better prepare for the next game.”

The goals were scored by youngsters Nicolò Barella and Moise Kean, who are still both available to play at Under-21 level.

“Kean has a good head on his shoulders and immediately put himself at the disposal of the squad. He has quality, knows his strengths and is ready to work hard, so we’re all very happy for him.

“When you are representing your country, the most important thing is the team result. Of course, I’m happy whenever I play, but I am also just happy to be here.

Biraghi confessed playing with Italy in Udine was a harrowing experience, because it was in this city just over a year ago that Fiorentina and Italy defender Astori died.

“It’s a special time being here, always, as a year ago we lost the captain. It’s emotional every time we return to Udine. It comes natural to me to dedicate everything to him.

“It was particularly tough over the last couple of days, because we were based in the same hotel where we lost Davide. It was a real mix of emotions and naturally we dedicate this victory to him.”

Barella also became the first Cagliari player to score in an Italy jersey since Astori at the Confederations Cup in 2013.

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