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Chiesa and Żurkowski shine in opening U21 Euro matches

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Maybe Fiorentina’s future isn’t so bleak after all.

NurPhoto via Getty Images

We’re all a hopeful but anxious about Fiorentina’s next season, what with the shakeup surrounding everything. While the fans alternately cheer and gnaw their fingernails as Rocco Commisso and company get to work, though, a number of Viola players are doing what they do on pitches all over the world. And youngsters Szymon Żurkowski and Federico Chiesa are doing their best to remind us that there’s plenty of quality in the team for next year as they star in the U21 Euros.

We’ll start with Żurkowski, who led Poland to an upset 2-3 win over Belgium. Playing more as a number 10 than as a regista (we’ve been told he’s more of the latter than the former), he scored his country’s first with a banger off his “weaker” left foot. He then set up the third with a lovely off-ball run through the right channel, a burst of pace and then a show of strength to leave a defender behind, and a perfect pass that handed Sebastian Szymański an empty net to fire into for an assist.

Chiesa, on the other hand, bagged himself a brace against Spain, a team many pundits had picked to win the whole thing. After Toni Ceballos opened the scoring with an early wonderstrike, Fede burst down the left, leaving pacy fullback Martín Aguirregabiria gasping in his wake, and cleverly fired home at the near post past highly-rated goalkeeper Unai Simón, who was clearly anticipating a cross. His second was a bit more routine: after Patrick Cutrone caused some mayhem in the box, drawing the entire defense to him, the AC Milan striker laid it off for Chiesa, who made no mistake with a close range finish to take the lead.

This was just the opening round of matches, so both these players (as well as Nikola Milenković of Serbia and Jacob Rasmussen of Denmark, whose teams play today) will have plenty more chances to wow us and remind us that, for all the doom and gloom, there’s a lot to like about Fiorentina next year.