Preview: Norway vs. Italy

Israel'’s Taleb Twatha duels for the ball with Norway'’s Anders Konradssen during UEFA European U21 Soccer match on June 5, 2013
© AP Photos
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Under-21 European Championship Group A clash between Norway and Italy.

Norway take on Italy in their final Group A fixture in the European Under-21 Championships on Tuesday knowing that a point would secure their position in the semi-finals.

Tor Ole Skullerud's side, who have drawn 2-2 with Israel and beaten England 3-1 in their two matches thus far, need just a point to qualify, while victory would ensure first position in the group.

Italy, meanwhile, have already booked their spot in the semi-finals courtesy of wins over England and Israel, but they need a point to ensure that they top the section.

Norway would also qualify if they lose, unless Israel record three points against England and a six-goal swing goes against them.

The two sides have met four times at this level, with each recording two wins. Norway were victorious in the last competitive clash between the pair, however, with a 1-0 win in 2005.

Italy, who did not qualify in 2011, are the only team to win three successive Under-21 titles at a European Championship and have won it five times in total, which is a record at this level.

Norway cannot boast similar experience at this level, however, with this summer just the second time that they have appeared in the finals of this competition. They were the outsiders to qualify in their playoff clash with France, but a 5-4 aggregate success ensured their spot in Israel.

Norway could continue with the same side that started against England, meaning that former Manchester United midfielder Magnus Eikrem will take his spot in midfield alongside Jo Inge Berget.

They have a slight injury doubt over Semb Berge, who scored and gave away a penalty against England, but the 23-year-old should be fit to start.

Italy could make changes from their 4-0 win over Israel with strikers Fabio Borini and Mattia Destro expected to be given a chance to impress. Marco Capuano should also return to the heart of the defence alongside Cristiano Biraghi.

Recent form:

Norway: LLWDW

Italy: LWWWW

Possible lineups:

Norway: Nyland Haskjold; Rogne, Strandberg, Elabdellaoui, Berge; Singh, Eikrem, Johansen, Beget; Pedersen, Nielsen

Italy: Bardi; Donati, Biraghi, Capuano, Caldirola; Verratti, Florenzi, Bianchetti; Destro, Insigne, Borini

Sports Mole says: 1-1

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