Nunziata’s Italy continues its march to the U20 World Cup.
“Erasmus” is the Monday column in which we tell you about a sparkling game from the international football weekend. If you missed previous episodes, you can find them here.
“The journey is important, not the destination“. And who are we, explorers of the ballooning globe, to deny it? Sometimes, however, even once break it wouldn’t be so bad. Give yourself time and a way to carve out a routine, a moment and a rhythm to minimize the unexpected. The logistics of Italy during the FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023 mirrors the tachycardia pulsations with which Nunziata’s team fights on the green field.
Group in Mendoza, by far closer to Santiago de Chile than to the Argentine capital; round of 16 against England at theDiego Armando Maradona Unique Stadium of La Plata, which in spite of the name has been transformed along the races of the elimination groups into a rectangle of pampa with four elephantine stands around it, taken directly from the south of the country; quarter-final against Colombia at the Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, where they have just played, with the kick-off just 210 minutes before that of Colombia-Italy the other quarter-final of the day, Israel-Brazil; eventual semi-final and final again at the Estadio Único, in who knows what ground conditions. Mendoza-Buenos Aires-San Juan-Buenos Aires: if you win it’s 3388 km in less than a week, practically a Palermo-Palermo-Genoa-Palermo-Genoa.
After the round played in La Plata la Colombia she is already acclimatised in San Juan, having already won the eighth round 5-1 with Slovakia. An apparently bombastic performance, but which showed all the contradictions of young people coffee growers: a 4-2-3-1 with fragile foundations and a beautifully decorated roof, which captivates at first sight but which, if hit in the right places, can come down in one fell swoop.
San Juan is the third consecutive semifinal for Italy at the U-20 World Cup, while it is the second in history after that of 2003 for Colombia. I’m guysthe late would say Gigi Proiettibut some systemic flaws are shared by both teams: both Colombia and Italy handle negative transitions poorly, struggling to absorb the opponent’s counterattacks and to cover the backs of the often very advanced full-backs with central defenders too slow in slipping and marking in the penalty area. For the show, however, it is only a good thing that Italians and Colombians have the same ambition: attack.
They do it in opposite ways: Italy would like to play in a handkerchiefwith or without the ball at his feet, he would like the back lines and side lines to get a little closer at each pass, as if a giant straw sucked up the green turf; Colombia lives on rips and gusts which allow the athleticism of wingers and attacking midfielders to spur and release the horsepower available in the engine. The association of the blessed blue youth and the wild enthusiasm of the Tricolor.
No surprises for the Colombians, with Ángel taking over from Cabezas Hurtado throughout the tournament. [Parentesi non necessaria: Tomás Ángel è figlio di Juan Pablo Ángel, uno dei Los 4 Fantásticos del River di fine anni ’90 (Saviola, Ortega e Aimar) che forse vi ricorderete all’Aston Villa di inizio Nuovo Millennio] Surprises for Nunziata, because Faticanti takes a seat on the bench to make room for the captain Youngmidfielder at Ascoli and often adapted in the U-20 on the left wing but who for the occasion will repay the Colombian dynamism with the same coin and because whoever limited himself to seeing the first outing of the U-20 cannot fail to be been blinded by the talent of At the bottom but those who have followed the evolution of the tournament know that the tandem with Baldanzi is not sustainable, and therefore the point of support for Ambrosino must be someone else. Today is Espositoat the second chance after the phantasmal eighth with England.
I’m guys, and therefore who knows how they will react to the fact that for the first time in the tournament they will be playing away from home in all respects. Adopted by the Argentine public (but look at that), in the stands of the Bicentenary there are other tricolors in the majority. They are the yellow, blue and red ones, those of a Colombia that approaches the game better. The team of cardenas he directs the match as he would like to do it on paper, transforming every slope into a second ball to attack, with Nunziata who has imagined the double center forward perhaps also for this reason.
“Marquinez’s weak point: high exits! No markings in the penalty area. Dead balls clearly a weak point, a point to insist on”. Notes taken by any observer during Japan-Colombia, let alone if Nunziata’s staff didn’t do it. In the 8th minute the first opportunity to exploit him: Prati evades the pressure with a back-heel to trigger Baldanzi’s exit, contained in a corner from the 4-man line coffee growers; corner to come out of the same number 10, Marquinez in the middle ground between the small area and the arched parabola of the Empoli attacking midfielder and an imperious detachment of the out-of-scale physique of Cesare Casadei, body clearly disproportionate to age and management of the same in relation to muscle fibers. Adult surrounded by 21 children. 0-1.
[Seconda parentesi non necessaria: qualora vi dimenticaste che in fondo so’ ragazzi e i margini di sviluppo sono ampi come non mai e foste rimasti all’incertezza di Marquinez, potreste aver dato un’occhiata alle riserve del portiere colombiano. La distinta mostra un anonimo Alexei Rojas. Ma se anche a voi disturba quella “i” finale nel nome, eccovi alcune info in più su di lui.
- All’anagrafe Alexei Rojas Fedorushchenko, la madre, Yulia Fedorushchenko, analista dei rischi nel settore delle energie rinnovabili, è originaria di Čeljabinsk, Siberia occidentale. Il padre, Fernando Rojas, impiegato nel settore immobiliare internazionale, è nato a Bogotà e cresciuto nelle pianure orientali di Villavicencio. Non è dato sapere come si siano conosciuti;
- Col fratellino Romeo in casa si parla inglese, russo, spagnolo. E anche greco, casomai non venisse in mente come dire quel termine;
- Nato a Basildon, città natale dei Depeche Mode nell’Essex meridionale, inizia a giocare nel Boreham Wood a 5 anni. Viene notato dagli scout del Chelsea a 11 anni per poi trasferirsi all’Arsenal. Come idolo di infanzia ha Petr Cech, coincidentalmente portiere della prima squadra che segue il suo stesso percorso nel finale di carriera negli stessi anni;
- All’Arsenal sono bastate 4 settimane di prova, rispetto alle canoniche 8, per includere Alexei nell’U-15. Il 9 novembre 2021 Mikel Arteta lo ha chiamato per un allenamento in prima squadra. Ora è nella rosa dell’U-18 allenata da Jack Wilshere;
- Si definisce un portiere moderno che spicca per le capacità comunicative coi compagni di reparto. Altezza riportata in rete: 183 cm su un sito, 184 su un altro, 186 su un altro ancora, qualcuno azzarda addirittura un 190 cm;
- Chiamato dall’U-15 dell’Inghilterra è stato chiamato da Héctor Cárdenas, allora mister dell’U-17, in virtù del passaporto del padre. La cittadinanza della madre, oltre ad attirare le attuali attenzioni del Krasnodar, gli ha permesso una chiamata anche per la Russia U-17. La decisione definitiva pare però sorridere ai Cafeteros: Alexei dichiara di preferire la Colombia per “la cultura del padre e lo stile di gioco del calcio colombiano: più istinto, più entusiasmo, più cuore”;
- Il suo piatto preferito, di cui va ghiotto soprattutto a colazione, sono le arepas, delle sorta di tigelle. Sembrano molto buone.
Fine parentesi quadra.]
I’m guys, but those of Nunziata are not Baldanza. They are sure of their own quality. They insist on wound of Colombia, dead balls and aerial play. The man-marking of captain Puerta, on loan to Nuremberg from Bayer Leverkusen, who held any role connecting midfield and attack between the group and the round of 16, tickles Casadei: for the first time in the right-wing midfielder tournament, the last heir of the “face-to-slap-but-how-strong-he-is” line of the Inter youth sector manipulates him like a puppeteer with his puppet. Prati doesn’t miss a posture, Giovane and Turicchia have the dynamic technique to impact on the left wing. Time 5′ and Colombia shut down.
I’m guysbut if the above globe explorer marked himself during Colombia-Senegal “Moments of total disconnection between right back and right central defender. If you attack them decently there, which is even our strong side, we pass safely. Manyoma has huge finishing problems!” and around the half hour you notice these same things in a couple of consecutive actions, the previous incipit is valid again. Asprilla does what you’d expect from someone with already 37 Championship games in his pocket but Ghilardi sacrifices some sperm for the cause, rejecting the left-handed with a soft belly.
In the 38th minute, however, the pattern repeats itself: density around the ball taking advantage of Ambrosino’s associations after the deep attack, a cross on which Casadei towers and has the lucidity not to force the detachment, Baldanzi who forgets that he is an albatross, as if when shooting he suddenly realizes the tremendous weight of his wings and fatigue appears, and scores the 0-2. Less dribbling than usual, more forward defense from Ghilardi and Guarino to stop time a Yaser Asprilla e Cortés (which you still have time to fall in love with) and long balls to ensnare the Colombian man-oriented pressure. End of first half. You begin to anticipate the “But how do you play on a field like that?” that will be heard in the stands of La Plata.
In every game of the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina Colombia have scored in the second half. Precisely scored after the 3 goals in 5′ with which Colombia opened the can with Slovakia. Fear of the explorer of the balloon globe. Luna and Tanton enter to change the connotations of a right wing abused in football by Italy, and a little apprehension comes naturally.
The second half begins and Ambrosino comes close to 0-3 with a dynamic that he perhaps imagined seeing the goal by Gundogan in the FA Cup Final with United. Marquinez confirms himself a cat between the posts, with a crazy flexibility in the lower part of the body, and you understand why the Colombian-Russian-Englishman sits on the bench. I’m guys, and therefore everything and its opposite can be expected within a couple of days. And so Esposito, bordering on unpresentable with England, decides to light up the sunset in San Juan with the 0-3 goal.
You must have already understood this when you asked “Does Ambrosino play with the others?” during Nigeria, landed a couple of days after the end of the B with the Citadel, and 3 days later dominated the Dominican Republic and justified the status of irremovable owner of Nunziata’s 11. And instead i know guys, and they never cease to amaze. Not even when Torres (Jhojan name cla-mo-ro-so) decides to give a further flash of Football with F with the trajectory of the immediate 1-3.
Not even when Casadei delights with the umpteenth header in tow®now a trademark of the house, and only the right post denies him a personal brace.
The rest of the second half leaves room for imagination and questions. How apt is “Not all heroes wear a Mantilla” when the Colombian centre-back ditches Ambrosino on the edge of the area? How mature and aware can a national team of teenagers already be, which adapts to the opponent’s characteristics with a nonchalance which was only seen during Euro2021 in the major one? How come two quarter-finals are played in the same stadium and on the same day but the two winners will not meet in the semi-final, creating a competitive imbalance with the opponents who will have one day less rest? What he did Young?
How significant it is that Italy does not suffer even for an instant in the second half, not even giving us the opportunity to ask ourselves why it was decided that the decisions of the VAR be announced with an acoustic that recalls Piazza Venezia in a certain twenty years of the twentieth century? How many of these blues will be from the A national team, how many from Serie A or B and how many from some minor league appearances and a future as an accountant? How did Prati manage to play in Serie D until last summer?
I’m guys. No need to expect answers now. It’s enough to be surprised, because “The journey is important, not the destination”, after all, is not such an abstract saying. Italy in the semifinals, and that’s it. From Palermo we return to Genoa.