Tuesday February 8 2011
U-21s: Italy 1-0 England

Federico Macheda scored a late penalty to give Italy an unexpected 1-0 win over England in Empoli.

Despite being quite raw in comparison with the visitors, Italy never really looked out of their depth.

By the same token, England also had 11 players out, although in terms of top flight experience, they were slightly favoured.

Stuart Pearce's side suffered a blow early on when Everton's Jack Rodwell, playing in defence, suffered a groin injury and had to be replaced.

Gianvito Misuraca had the first real chance of the game after 10 minutes when he chested down a pass from central midfield and hit a low shot to the left just outside of the box.

His effort forced England goalkeeper Frank Fielding to stretch and earned a corner, which ultimately came to nothing.

Italy looked the more likely to break the deadlock, even though England had more possession.

Alessandro Crescenzi whipped in a dangerous cross around the half-hour mark, which created confusion in the opposition's penalty area.

However the ball didn't fall to either Federico Macheda or Roberto Soriano.

England were mostly restricted to shots from distance until just before half-time when a fine move initiated by Henri Lansbury saw James Vaughan through on goal.

The Crystal Palace striker couldn't compose himself and fired wide of the mark, but even if he had scored, it wouldn't have counted as the linesman adjudged Vaughan to be offside.

Ferrara made one change during the interval, replacing his talented No 10 Diego Fabbrini with Giulio Donati.

England started the second half brightly with Josh McEachran playing a wonderful disguised pass through to Albrighton who fluffed his lines.

But again, Italy offered more of a threat with Macheda working his way into the box and sending a fierce shot into the side-netting.

Both sides made a flurry of changes on the hour-mark and for a moment it looked like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would make the difference.

The Southampton youngster beat his man and played a ball across the box but no one was there to meet it and a chance went begging.

A few minutes later it was Oxlade-Chamberlain who was on the end of a through ball from McEachran, but instead of taking it on into the box, he struck a weak shot, which Pinsoglio had no problem collecting.

Gradually, England's quality made itself felt and on 82 minutes they should have taken the lead when Scott Sinclair was played through via a great pass that left Crescenzi helpless.

The Swansea hitman bore down on goal, but Italy goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio made himself big and saw off the danger. He made another save from Sinclair just minutes later to keep the scores level.

Just when the momentum looked to be swinging England's way, Leicester defender Ben Mee fouled Niccolo Giannetti in the box and gave away a penalty with just two minutes remaining.

Whilst Mee received his marching orders, Macheda stepped up and placed his penalty into the top left-hand corner of Fielding's goal to seal a 1-0 victory.