The former Udinese midfielder emphasizes the lack of strikers: “In my day there were Vieri, Inzaghi, Del Piero, Totti, Chiesa and Montella”
The play-off nightmare after four years still weighs on Italy’s shoulders. To go to the Qatar 2022 World Cup we will have to overcome the obstacles of the March playoffs.
Giuliano Giannichedda, what happened to our national team?
«We are a team in difficulty, the problem is both head and physical. We arrived at the decisive matches without having the best men at 100% and with those of greater personality, Chiellini and Verratti, unavailable. We are without a great first striker, the only match is Immobile who is criticized when he plays ».
At the European Championship we were an outsider, is it possible that in the qualifiers we felt the weight of the favors of the prediction?
“Yes, and for that very reason we paid for the lack of personality. At the European Championship Mancini made a miracle but from the quarter-finals onwards we went out on the pitch carefree, with our heads free. Now that the ball was hot, we needed personality ».
His former coach Alberto Zaccheroni on Sunday highlighted that in the great Italian teams there is no Italian striker.
“This is a problem. the victory of the European Championship only temporarily hid some problems. There are too many foreigners in our league. Lippi emphasized this. When he won the World Cup, the Italians in Serie A were 65%, today this percentage has overturned. I can’t think that the Swedish and Norwegian players who come to play in Italy are better than the Italians ».
The problem is above all ahead.
“It seems obvious to me. When I was called up for the first time in the national team for a match against Switzerland in Udine, I found myself in the team with Vieri, Inzaghi, Del Piero, Totti, Chiesa and Montella. I don’t know if I get the idea right. Today we cling to Immobile which among other things is over thirty. The clubs must let young people play ».
And if in a mini league of ten games you draw four and in the two head-to-head matches you miss two penalties, everything becomes more complicated.
“We hurt ourselves a little bit. If you then consider that in September we drew at home with Bulgaria and that we did not manage to score against Ireland, it is also right to go to the play-offs. Italy is a team that needs to have everyone at 100% to aim high ».
Did we also lack some luck?
«Certainly yes, but football gives you and takes you away. Lady luck had given us a hand at the European Championship, but not in the world qualifiers ».
It aroused curiosity to discover that Mancini, as soon as the match was over, postponed the interview on the sidelines because he wanted to speak with the team. What do you think he meant to the players?
«The same concepts that he then repeated in front of the cameras. He will have wanted to instill positivity. Now what has been has been, it is useless to break down further, the first to know that they have played badly are the players themselves. Mancini will certainly have heartened them ».
So far Mancini’s experience as coach has been all roses and flowers. How will you face this first difficult moment?
«He does not lack experience, the problem is that between now and March he will no longer see the players and he will not be able to work on their heads. Now they will go back to thinking about the championship, the European cups, then in a few days he will have to prepare the two play-off matches ».
In this regard, which are, in your opinion, the opponents to avoid?
«Definitely Portugal, Sweden and Austria, two good teams and Russia. With the draw there is the risk of playing away from home in a straight match in the second round and Russia is an opponent to be avoided in my opinion ». –
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