Italy suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat away to Sweden in their European Under-21 Championship qualifier, their first loss of the group after five clean sheets.
The Azzurrini had won four and drawn one in Group 1, sitting in second place behind the Republic of Ireland with two games in hand.
Coach Paolo Nicolato’s lads hadn’t even conceded a single goal so far, but playing in pre-season against a nation whose campaign is already in full swing proved disastrous.
Sweden scored at their first attempt, as Luca Pellegrini was more focused on attacking than defending, leaving Pontus Almquist unmarked to meet a cross-shot from 12 yards.
Atalanta-owned goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi had to make a save on Jesper Karlsson, but once again Italy were caught on the counter-attack with Almqvist in a two-against-two situation.
Daleho Irandust wasted a glorious opportunity and Patrick Cutrone’s acrobatic overhead kick struck the crossbar, but Sweden made it 3-0 after the break with Gustav Henriksson allowed to meet a corner from point-blank range.
Cutrone threatened again, forcing a save, but Gianluca Scamacca and Andrea Pinamonti failed to find the target.
Italy therefore remain second on 13 points from six games, with Ireland amassing 16 points from seven matches played.
Iceland follow on 12 points and Sweden nine, both after six rounds.
Sweden 3-0 Italy
Almqvist 12, 29 (S), Henriksson 51 (S)
Sweden U21: Dahlberg; Beijmo, Henriksson (Jallow 89), Isherwood, Kahl; Bengtsson, Erlingmark, Ingelsson, Karlsson (Bjorkengren 90); Irandust (Nygren 78), Almqvist (Crona 78)
Italy U21: Carnesecchi; Adjapong (Casale 68), Gabbia, Delprato, Lu Pellegrini (Sala 68); Maleh (Varnier 46), Carraro (Colpani 92), Zanellato; Sottil (Scamacca 46), Pinamonti, Cutrone
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