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If DODDS Europe is looking to save money, it might just start staging the Division II boys portion of the European Soccer Championships in Rome. And not send any other teams to Italy to contest it.

Rome rivals Marymount International and American Overseas School of Rome will play for the title Thursday after semifinal victories on Wednesday. It’s the third time the two schools have met in the championship game the last four years - and their semifinal victories assured that the title would stay in Rome for a fourth straight season.

Marymount, the two-time defending champion, won the teams’ regular-season meeting in Italy 3-1 on April 13. The Lions defeated Black Forest Academy in last year’s title game after wresting the title away from AOSR in 2011.

Marymount 7, SHAPE 2: Bigger, faster and ultimately better, the defending champions outclassed a solid Spartans team to earn a return trip to the title game.

The goals came in quick succession for a hyper-aggressive MMI squad that saw several early open-field opportunities canceled by offsides flags. But the Lions got off and put in plenty of shots on goal in building a 4-0 halftime lead and cruising to the win.

Senior Giovanni Formilli Fendi was particularly dominant for the Lions, repeatedly dribbling cleanly through the Spartan defense and depositing four goals.

SHAPE dodged a shutout in the second half thanks to two goals by sophomore Adrian Domijan.

AOSR 3, AFNORTH 2: It wasn’t the prettiest game to watch, but there was nonetheless a nail-biting aspect to AFNORTH and AOSR’s matchup.

Both sides played a frenzied style of offense that left no room for calm, orderly charges. What the game turned into was a shootout filled with long balls and hard sprints.

AOSR’s Christiaan Caanan rose from the mayhem to score three goals, the last of which was key to earning his side a trip to the finals after AFNORTH equalized at 2-2 early in the second half.

“I’m a defensive midfielder,” Caanan said. “So normally I lay the passes.”

But he’s also the guy with the trusty leg, the guy the team calls on to take free kicks and penalties. That’s how he got his first goal of the day. His second he pounded in from about 30 yards out. The last he took off a bounce after a missed penalty kick by a teammate.

“It was a tough game. A very tough game. They play a different style from what we’re used to,” AOSR coach Niall Boyle said. “They play the long ball, they got in our faces. They played fair, but tough.”

He was surprised by the goal his keeper conceded to open the second half, and equally surprised by Caanan’s third. “Both were lucky in a way,” Boyle said. “But that’s what happens in soccer games.”

“I’m quietly confident for tomorrow.”

broome.gregory@stripes.com; millham.matt@stripes.com


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