Italy looks to stay perfect in the European Under-21 Championship when they take on Israel on Saturday.
This is the second match for each country in the group stage. One team will be looking to secure its place in the next round, while the other will be looking to get to the top and put itself in prime position to advance.
With hosts Israel involved, this match should have a nice atmosphere, or at least as good as you could expect with a tournament involving U-21 sides. If you're a fan of football, you should be watching this match and the rest of the tournament because you can see some of the best emerging talent across Europe.
Here's a quick preview for Saturday's Italy-Israel match.
When: Saturday, June 8, at 2:15 p.m. ET
Where: Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, Israel
Live Stream: ESPN3
What's at Stake
The Italians are sitting pretty right now. With their 1-0 win over England, Italy is firming atop Group A on three points. A win will mean they finish top of the group and have nothing to play for against Norway on June 11 and can rest their stars for the knockout stage. A draw will all but see them through as well.
That's not to say Devis Mangia will be happy with just a draw. His squad put in a good performance, but it wasn't flawless against England. Italy has some areas they'll need to improve upon in this tournament if they have hopes of winning it. This match presents a nice opportunity to iron out those flaws.
Hosts Israel aren't quite as well-off, but they're not hurting, either. By drawing with Norway, Israel got themselves into a tie for second in the table. Beating Italy could see them go top, while a draw wouldn't be the worst of scenarios. A lot will depend on the result of England vs. Norway earlier in the day.
Losing this match wouldn't doom Israel to elimination, but it would leave them a lot of work to do against England in the final match.
Italy Player to Watch: Lorenzo Insigne
If you missed Italy's match against England, you missed a fantastic performance from Lorenzo Insigne. Coming into the tournament, he was one of the players to watch, and he's duly delivered so far. His free kick against England was a thing of beauty.
His strong performance against England was nothing new for the fans who have been watching Insigne all season and following Italian football over the last couple of years.
Only 22 years old, Insigne is headed for a breakout. He scored five goals and recorded seven assists for Napoli this year, his first in Serie A. With the rumors about Edinson Cavani's departure swirling, Insigne's role at the club is only bound to grow.
Looking at the young Italian strike force that compliments Insigne, you can't help but to be envious.
Israel Player to Watch: Boris Kleyman
Israel's best hope to get anything from this match will be to keep the score as low as possible. They can't afford to let this match turn into a shootout. More than likely, Boris Kleyman will be called upon on multiple occasions.
It's up to the 22-year-old goalkeeper to make sure he's at his best.
Goalkeepers can't change games in the way that goaltenders can in hockey, but they can still have a major impact.
Along with keeping his side in the match in terms of the score, Kleyman's saves could also have a major effect on his teammates. With each save, they'll start growing more and more confident they can get a result. Conversely, the Italians may start to question whether or not they would have enough to win the match.
Italy is going to pick up the win. It's just a matter of how much they'll win by.
Israel are very good, as evidenced by their draw with Norway. Unfortunately, they simply don't have the players who can handle the stars in Italy's attack. Along with Insigne, Italy can call upon Ciro Immobile, Mattia Destro and Fabio Borini.
The Italians should be plenty motivated as well. They were good, not great against England. They're not going to look past Israel. Expect Italy to attack early and attack often.
It's going to be up to the Israeli defense to keep this score low. The longer it goes scoreless, the more belief Israel will get, and the more frustrating Italy will become as well.
Italy will get up to a 2-0 lead, with Israel hitting them on the break to make things interesting. This should be a comfortable win for the Italians, though.
Italy 2, Israel 1
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