It’s a change that came earlier than expected under coach Roberto Mancini. He found the right mix of younger players and veterans to create optimism for a team that has lost all of its trust.
On this file photo, Italian Andrea Belotti (right) tries to score next to Poland’s Tomasz Kedziora during the UEFA Nations League game between Poland and Italy. AP
Rome: In three years Italy has gone from failing to qualify for the World Cup to a perfect qualifying campaign for the European Championship.
It’s a change that came earlier than expected under coach Roberto Mancini. He found the right mix of younger players and veterans to generate optimism for a team that has lost all its trust.
« There are teams that are one step above us, but we don’t feel inferior to anyone want to surprise, « said veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci.
Italy have currently played 26 unbeaten games – the second longest streak in the team’s history, having only played 30 games under Vittorio Pozzo from 1935 to 1939 – and still have it the honor of hosting the opening game of the tournament against Turkey on June 11th in Rome.
While alternating center strikers Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti are supposed to take care of the goal, Italy’s strength is the large group of small but highly effective wingers and Midfielder.
Left winger Lorenzo Insigne is considered Italy’s most talented player, and his lack of commitment during the failed qualification for di e World Cup 2018 – especially when he sat on a bench during the playoff defeat against Sweden – annoyed the fans without end.
On the other hand is Federico Chiesa, the son of former Italian striker Enrico Chiesa, while Federico Bernardeschi Another strong attack option remains.
There are endless possibilities in midfield: Nicolò Barella, Jorginho, Manuel Locatelli, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Matteo Pessina as well as Marco Verratti and Stefano Sensi, provided the injuries allow.
Captain Giorgio Chiellini and Bonucci are the only members of the team with more than 100 appearances.
Additionally, both Chiellini and Bonucci Starter remain on defense, despite now having reliable backups with cancer survivors Francesco Acerbi, Gianluca Mancini and Alessandro Bastoni who have settled in Lazio, Roma and Inter.
Record goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon retired after the failed World Cup Qualification from international football back. He has been replaced by 22-year-old Gianluigi Donnarumma.
In this file photo, the Italian Ciro Immobile (right) fights for the Northern Irish goalkeeper Bailey Peacock Farrell (below) during the qualifier for the 2022 World Cup between Italy and Northern Ireland Ball. AP
Mancini had to train games remotely in November when he was under quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 despite being asymptomatic.
The newly hired assistant Daniele De Rossi became Hospitalized for more than a month with symptoms of pneumonia after being one of four employees to contract the virus during World Cup qualifiers in March.
Some players are also struggling with COVID-19, in particular Verratti, who tested positive in both January and April. Verratti injured his right knee in early May, but team doctors believe he can return during the tournament.
The 30-year-old striker who led Italy to the Euro 2012 final is playing after a series of problems off the field for Monza in Serie B for Monza.
After years outside the national team, Balotelli was called up when Mancini was first hired in 2018, but then got lost again.
« I was hoping that he would be proud to show that he can be the player he showed he can again, « said Mancini. « Unfortunately Mario didn’t do much to get back to his top level. And that remains a big disappointment. »
Another missing key player is the 21-year-old midfielder Nicolò Zaniolo, who suffered various injuries last year Torn ligaments in both knees and is still recovering.
Italy’s only European championship title came as a four-time world champion in 1968. The Azzurri are not among the top favorites this time, but are likely to enter the knockout round.However, Mancini believes Italy can go for the title, which would be a relief for one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic.
« We want the whole nation to celebrate, » said Mancini, « in particular given what we’ve been through in the past year and a half. «
May 31, 2021 9:20:16 p.m. IST
UEFA banned the Slavia Prague defender from international competition for ten games in April after allegedly racist attacks against Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara during a Europa League match last month.
Ahead of Friday’s friendly with San Marino, Mancini said Paris Saint Germain midfielder Verratti is recovering « faster than expected » from the blow.
Russia’s second city will host seven games in June and July, including a quarter-finals, after the tournament was postponed for a year due to the pandemic.
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