A year ago, Antonio Di Salvo took over as coach of the U21s. Eight games and seven wins later, he wants to test the quality of his team against France and England at the start of the European Championship season.
Wolfsburg/Magdeburg – On the anniversary, Antonio Di Salvo can look forward to two special evenings with his U21s. The successor of the successful coach Stefan Kuntz sees the start of the European Championship season against elite opponents as an important positioning on the way to the finals.
“After successfully qualifying for the European Championship, we want to use the international competition to measure ourselves against the best. France and England are ideal for that,” said Di Salvo. On Friday (6.15 pm) his selection will meet France in Magdeburg, on Tuesday (8.45 pm / both ProSiebenMaxx) an exciting match against England will take place in Sheffield.
Di Salvo: “The second year will be important”
After Kuntz switched to the Turkish national team a year ago, the German Football Association gave Di Salvo his long-time assistant as the most important youth coach. Under his leadership, the last European champion booked a ticket for the European finals from June 9 to July 2, 2023 in Romania and Georgia, despite a bitter November evening in 0: 4 against Poland. Di Salvo’s record is seven wins in eight games.
“The second year will be important. It is about the defensive process, about allowing less chances to score. But also about the offense, to get more danger in front of the opponent’s goal and create chances,” said Di Salvo.
According to their statement, the transition from Kuntz to him is not a big change for the players. “He has developed further as a coach. He looks for dialogue, everyone contacts him. It is not easy when you meet every two or three months, but he is doing very well,” said Augsburg’s Maximilian Bauer. Kilian Fischer praised the coach’s “very communicative” nature. “You always know where you stand with him and what he wants from you. I’m really grateful,” said the man from Wolfsburg.
The goal is to qualify for the Olympics.
As an assistant coach, Di Salvo played a key role in the success of Kuntz’s tenure with three finals and the European Championship in 2017 and 2021. In one year, he should now extend the success of this series. In addition, the team should qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris in the finals of the European Championship. France was confirmed as an Olympic starter, and the three best teams in European competition were allowed to go to the summer games. “It’s still not long, but it’s clear that we have a big goal to get back to the Olympics,” Di Salvo said.
Di Salvo is working in a team that is expected to continue the success of the European champions. For international matches with the top teams of France and England, he mostly trusts the players who bought EM tickets. The only newcomer is Bayern goalkeeper Christian Früchtl (Austria Wien). Reda Khadra (Sheffield United) and Frederik Jäkel have already been called up but are still awaiting their debuts. Captain Jonathan Burkardt (FSV Mainz 05) and Josha Vagnoman (VfB Stuttgart) are injured. Armel Bella Kotchap (FC Southampton) gets a taste of the senior team.
“This is good news for us too, because it is our job to train players for the senior national team,” said Di Salvo. It will be especially important for the next few months on the road to the European Championship how the performance of the competition that young footballers receive. “It’s always exciting to see players develop all the time with the U21s in their second year, especially as they mature and play more and more. I’m enjoying every minute of playing. Time is at a premium,” said Di Salvo.