MX23RW : Wednesday, July 28 07:56:37| >> :600:1013690:1013690:
Mar 23, 2019 at 7.45pm UK
Attendance: 24,000
Italy
2-0
Finland
Barella (7'), Kean (74')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Roberto Mancini excited for Moise Kean's "enormous potential"

Roberto Mancini excited for Moise Kean's
© Reuters
Kean and Nicolo Barella secured a 2-0 victory.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini hailed teenage goalscorer Moise Kean's "enormous potential" after his side's 2-0 win against Finland.

The Azzurri launched their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with victory thanks to Nicolo Barella and Kean, who scored their first goals for their country in either half at the Friuli Stadium in Udine.

Mancini was rewarded for turning to youth as Cagliari midfielder Barella, 22, and Juventus forward Kean, 19, ensured Italy scored more than one goal in a competitive game for the first time in almost two years.

"Kean has quality, enormous potential and it all depends on him," said Mancini, who also handed late teenage substitute Nicolo Zaniolo, of Roma, his senior debut.

"It's not difficult to see talent in Kean and Nicolo Zaniolo, so it's not a risk to pick them.

"There's plenty of quality among our young players. It's not difficult to understand that."

Mancini told Rai Sport that Italy's Group J rivals Finland, promoted from the third tier of the UEFA Nations League last year, proved useful opponents.

"It wasn't easy, as Finland clammed up straight away with five defenders, so it was difficult to break them down," Mancini said.

"We made a few mistakes early on, but did far better in the second half and created many more scoring opportunities."

Mancini backed Ciro Immobile to end his goal drought as the Lazio striker has now failed to score in his last 10 appearances for Italy.

Immobile did lay on an assist for Kean though and Mancini added: "When a striker seeks the goal, it doesn't arrive, but it will happen.

"It wasn't easy for Immobile, as he always has five or six players surrounding him. If anything, we should have spread the play better to create spaces."

Finland coach Markku Kanerva was impressed by Italy, but does not think Mancini's side will have it all their own way in the group.

"Italy are certainly the strongest team in the group, but Greece and Bosnia can also have a say," Kanerva was quoted on UEFA.com.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed with the result. It's a pity, especially for the first goal, because it came through a deflection."

Norwich striker Teemu Pukki squandered Finland's best chance when he mis-directed Robin Lod's cross early in the second half.

"We came close to equalising and maybe the result would have been completely different if we had scored that goal," Kanerva added. "Still, I think the result reflected what we saw on the pitch."

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Italy's Nicolo Barella in action during a Nations League match with Portugal in November 2018
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JapanJapan114520
United StatesUnited States1010929
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Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

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