The Belgian under-19 football promises drew 2-2 against Italy in their last European Championship qualifier in group 2 of the elite round on Tuesday. They thus miss European Championship participation. The Young Devils had to win to qualify for the final round of the European Championship.
Norman Bassette, attacker of the French second division Caen, gave the Belgians the lead after eight minutes. The Italians then took matters into their own hands with penalty goals from Sassuolo midfielder Luca D’Andrea (45.+2) and Inter striker Francesco Pio Esposito (51.), Sebastiano’s younger brother, still working for Anderlecht before New Year . The 2-2 of the Belgians, also from the spot, by Anderlecht striker Mario Stroeykens was no longer enough.
Italy held on to the draw in a pressing end and qualified for the European Championship. For the Belgians, the elite round in Bremen, Germany, ends with a 3/9. Earlier this week, the Belgian U19 also played a draw against Slovenia (0-0) and Germany (1-1). They finish third in their group, after Italy (5 points) and Germany (4 points). Slovenia (2 pts) came last.
The 27 teams that made it through the first qualifying round, together with Portugal – who were exempt from the first round as number 1 – were divided into seven groups of four for this elite round. Only the seven group winners qualified for the U19 European Championship, which will be held in Malta from 3 to 16 July. That is automatically qualified as host country.
Belgium has participated in a European U19 European Championship four times in the past, the last time in 2011.