No, this Italy is different: it does not leave the ball to the opponents. Almost always, however, he pursues them thanks to a speed that stuns them. “I want young people to always dare, if they are wrong, patience”, Mancini said at the beginning of the adventure, when the rubble still had to be cleared away. “If we are in the lead, the boys have to attack to recover the affection of the fans,” reiterated the coach who had also understood another thing: that the world of football was changing. That wearing a blue shirt was no longer enough to have the support of the fans. That world was over, that pact with the Italians as well. If you deserve it, our love, we give it to you. Otherwise, patience, we will follow some other sport, some other national team.
The game is there
«Europe rewards a football of possession, domination, intensity. And we have to adapt even at the cost of losing a few games », Mancini replied when his ideas were not understood. Thus, in two years, in addition to the European qualification and the long unbeaten run, the blue coach managed to create a kind of miracle: to give Italy a precise game. A game made up of high rhythms, of fast triangulations, of high pressure. Even with some missteps, like those who return to racing after an injury, Italy has acquired its own identity, becoming a winning model also for the club teams, which have begun to imitate it. We think of Milan, Atalanta, Sassuolo.
The winning axiom is that it is not enough to win a game in some way, we must instead find our own path, a physiognomy that does not stop at the result. In part it seems to be affected by Arrigo Sacchi, but this national team, at least so far, has moved in an atmosphere of greater lightness and serenity. There is no Sacchian anxiety that led to exasperation and the annihilation of individualities. In this group everyone knows that there are no irreplaceable stars, and that the game and the synchronicities are the basis of the project. They know, of course. But in an atmosphere of cheerful optimism, not a dark fear of making a mistake. In this sense Mancini, and his twin Gianluca Vialli, have been able to bring a more relaxed, friendly and professional style at the same time. It is true that when things go well, they are all good and nice, but so far almost everything has worked properly.
A team devoted to attack
Even the game, that 4-3–3 that brings five men in the attack phase and four in the passive phase, is a key that opens many doors. Like the idea of the “double director” (Jorgihno and Verratti) with Insigne turning on the light in the final phase. Like the intensity of Barella, the tears of Berardi and Chiesa, the strength of the defense built on the Bonucci-Chiellini axis. With Donnarumma, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, then the circle is closed.
Concerns remain for the attack. So far neither Immobile nor Belotti have fully convinced. It starts with Immobile, killer center-forward in Lazio but never fully realized in the blue jersey. Let’s hope it’s the right time. Now, however, we go to the point. With the Turks, it is better to be careful, even if we have never lost with them so far. It is a very young team, with many men playing in major European club teams. Calhanoglu, a Milan talent, is the most charismatic guide. But then there is Yilmaz, Lille center forward, who has made havoc in France. Turkey does not let play, it closes the spaces. It makes you nervous.