U19 EURO: Italy beat Romania in opener

Italy won the opening European Under-19 Championship match, beating Romania 2-1 with goals from Tommaso Baldanzi and Cristian Volpato.

The Azzurrini are missing two of their biggest players going into the tournament, as FC Zurich and Atalanta would not release Willy Gnonto and Giorgio Scalvini respectively after they played for the senior Italy squad in the Nations League this month.

Empoli talent Baldanzi opened the scoring with a sensational solo effort, selling a dummy for a defender before smashing into the top corner from outside the box.

Romania drew level as Doru Andrei’s long-range strike came off the woodwork and into the path of Luca Andronache, who still needed two attempts to beat the goalkeeper.

Robert Popa made several saves to keep Italy out, but was finally beaten when Marco Nasti’s shot bounced off the upright for Roma youth product Volpato’s tap-in.

Elsewhere in the group, France thrashed hosts Slovakia 5-0 and therefore are in top spot.

Italy 2-1 Romania

Baldanzi 47 (I), Andronache 53 (R), Volpato 68 (I)