Cesare Casadei netted his fifth goal of the Under-20 World Cup and it was a big one to send Italy through to the quarter-finals courtesy of a 2-1 win over England.
Casadei once again captained the Italians and there were three Chelsea players in the England line-up at La Plate Stadium. Harvey Vale was skipper, Bashir Humphreys continued in defence and there was a first appearance at the tournament for Carney Chukwuemeka, who arrived in Argentina after our season finished on Sunday.
Chukwuemeka had a loud shout for a penalty waved away early on before the Italians went ahead in the eighth minute, Tommaso Baldanzi poking home after England’s defence had been split open by a stunning pass.
In response Chukwuemeka set up a chance for Alfie Devine, who rattled the woodwork, but Devine wouldn’t be denied for much longer. He equalised on 24 minutes with a near-post volley from Dane Scarlett’s left-wing cross.
In a tight encounter on a poor pitch, good chances were at a premium thereafter. Casadei had one threatening strike blocked and Devine missed a good opportunity, while Chukwuemeka had another good shout for a penalty.
However, it was a spot-kick at the other end which would settle this heavyweight round-of-16 encounter. Five minutes remained when Italy were awarded a penalty after VAR recommended the on-pitch referee check the monitor, a long-range Casadei shot having hit the arm of Jarell Quansah as he turned away from the ball.
It looked a little harsh, but nonetheless penalty was the verdict, and Casadei expertly despatched his effort into the top left-hand corner. He leads the goalscoring charts in the tournament.
Three minutes plus 11 more of stoppage time remained, but that was not enough time for the Young Lions to draw level again, bowing out at the last-16 stage.
Italy will meet Colombia in the quarter-finals in San Juan on Saturday.