MOENCHENGLADBACH. Five goals from Germany sank the timid signs of optimism from Italy. The 5-2 scored by Roberto Mancini’s national team in Moenchengladbach, in the last match of the season, is a historic defeat, both by score and by opponent, which makes the Italian fans of Germany cry of humiliation and throws Italian football back into the depths.
Against the historic European opponent, the Azzurri had lost so heavily only in a friendly match and to find wider passives you have to scroll through the annals until ’57 (6-1 from Yugoslavia) or even 24 ‘(7-1 from Hungary) ). The fact is that the five slaps thrown by Flick’s Germany (with the two Azzurri goals arriving only in the final) bring the Azzurri back to a very hard present: Donnarumma’s mistakes, the disappeared maneuver, the lightness of the tips, the defensive suffering, in short, everything went as it shouldn’t have. But the picture is even clearer than the debacle with Argentina two weeks ago: that of the best national teams is another football. And it matters little that with Hungary’s victory in England (4-0), the Azzurri slip from first to third place in the Nations League group.
The goal is to rebuild, the German evening only says that Mancini is still at the foundations. It is the last appointment of the season, Mancini faces him with the offensive trident Politano-Raspadori-Gnonto, but the “lightness” of the attack combined with the efforts of the midfield line of 4-3-3 will soon cause difficulties in the face of rapid dribbling some Germans, who often alternate positions, change games, widen the field with the outsiders.
The game begins with a couple of minutes late, much less than the 25 accumulated by the blue bus to get to the Moenchengladbach stadium. The two teams show that they are in a hurry immediately. Only 6 minutes pass and Sanè has a good ball from the edge, but on the right that is not his foot and the ball goes wide. The first dangerous opportunity is for the Azzurri: at 8 ‘Politano from the right enters the field and cuts with his left in the center, Raspadori has the right time but the touch is weak because Neuer with open wings is unable to stop him. The German pressure, right or left, is constant, at 10 ‘the advantage on the defense’s “sleep” arrives. Muller unloads to the left on Raum, his ball in the center of the area is prey to Kimmich who enters without opposition, tows with his right and puts in an easy goal with his left. Italy struggles to contain Germany’s thrust and above all to get out of the ball, Cristante tries with his head (21 ‘) as a free kick.
The most active blue is Donnarumma. Around half an hour save on Hoffman in the area, at 39 ‘he rejects the strong and central left foot of Sanè launched by an assist from Muller. Another minute only, and on a counterattack born from a mistake by Calabria, the German 4 against 3 brings Werner to the shot, on Donnarumma. In the middle, only a descent from the Milan full-back who puts back for the waste of Barella, high. Mancini, angry at the Azzurri’s inability to contain, changes form in the final: inside Luis Felipe for Politano, he moves on to 3-5-2. Bastoni risks going out due to injury, then in the 3 ‘of recovery combines the mess by landing Hoffmann in the area on a now harmless cross: penalty, and Gundogan’s doubling, to sanction a German domination that is gradually becoming clearer.
Upon returning, space for Scalvini and Caprari for Raspadori and Frattesi: they are rookies number 49 and 50, respectively in the role of central midfield and center forward. In three minutes the Azzurri tried to shake themselves: Cristante touches the left post, Scalvini heads on the corner but is wide, Barella is blocked in the area. The shock instead gives Mueller in the 6 minute, scoring the 3-0 rebound on a ball at the limit culpably escaped the blue defense. In short, it is not the evening, as confirmed by Barella’s missed goal (also offside) a few seconds later. Caprari tries again, in the semi-reverse, but the ease of play of the Flick national team is too much and Italy gives the impression of wanting only to avoid the embarkation, which arrives with two goals from Werner between 23 ‘and 24’, with 5-0 caused by a wrong pass by Donnarumma. The goal from Gnonto, the youngest scorer in Italian history, and that of Bastoni on a corner in recovery, are not enough to alleviate the blue injuries. It takes deep care.
Niccolo Barella, at Raisport, admits the debacle with Germany: «Shame on you? It’s a big word, but we’re really sorry for the Italian fans who were present at the stadium », he comments. «In the first leg we played better, here we paid the duty against a stronger team – continued the midfielder – As Mancini said, in a path like ours unfortunately there are positive moments and dark moments. Of course, when the opponent scores at the first mistake ».