Italy equalized at the death against Norway in their final group match of the UEFA Under-21 Championship in Israel on Tuesday to finish ahead of their rivals, as England exited the competition with three defeats.
A goal by Italy midfielder Andrea Bertolacci of Genoa in the fourth minute of stoppage-time cancelled out a 90th-minute penalty by Norway defender Stefan Strandberg to see the Italians finish top of the group, with the Norwegians through as runners-up.
Both had to await the outcome of yesterday’s Group B clash between defending champions Spain and the Netherlands, who have both already qualified, for the semi-final lineups to be known. Germany and Russia, the other two Group B teams, were eliminated.
In Tuesday’s second Group A match, one of the pre-tournament favorites England went home in humiliation after a 1-0 defeat by Israel to leave coach Stuart Pearce’s job in jeopardy.
Despite both teams already being out, more than 22,000 fans turned out in Jerusalem to watch the clash for third place in the group, the best-attended match in the tournament so far.
England were more dominant in the first half and had most of the chances throughout the match, but were let down by some wayward finishing.
They were eventually punished when Ofir Krieff gave Israel the lead in the 80th minute with a powerful left-footed shot from 18m that beat England goalkeeper Jason Steele.