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Italy without the World Cup needs a victory Challenge the English for the group and self-esteem

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Azzurri still in the spotlight after the knockout (5-2) with Germany. Mancini: “Let’s give ourselves a little joy”


The final four of June or the risk of slipping into the Nations League Serie B. The blue crossroads, this time, is unprecedented and brings into play scenarios, but also ambitions and perspectives: we are out of the World Cup at the gates and we are called to strike a shot to feel alive again. England arrive at the San Siro and due to the emotional load that the crossing brings, we could not have challenged a better opponent tonight. The British, or rather, the night of Wembley on 11 July 2021 pushed us to the roof of Europe and, although wounded by Macedonia in March, the collective memory, at least for one evening, must be as long as possible. “England must mean something: having won the European Championship after more than 50 years is a feat that will remain in our history”. Roberto Mancini has almost modesty in remembering what happened unimaginably between Rome, Munich and London, modesty in the light of the World shock, but for a few hours it is right to look the Three Lions in the eye and do it as European champions.

The coach: “Rediscover the spirit”

We have already met England, after the Wembley party, but on 14 June it was a half-way duel: closed doors in Wolverhampton and the Azzurri in full experimental phase. Tonight it will be different for the reasons already mentioned and because the coach Mancini will not do experiments: the faces little seen so far will be due to absences due to unavailability or choice. «What if I’m thinking about changing the module? No, I think of the delicacy of the match: we would like to give ourselves and give a pinch of joy now that, for the others, the World Cup is about to begin in Qatar: if we beat the English and – underlines Mancini – we win, on Monday, in Budapest we can still qualify for the finals at four in June ». The form issue has occupied its space within the work of a national team which, from Monday to today, has lost Verratti, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Politano and Tonali, net of the long list of Azzurri at home due to injury. Mancini shows the way (“We must rediscover our spirit”), Italy is looking for a burst of pride: whether it is 4-3-3, option ahead, or 3-5-2 it doesn’t matter in front of the mission to raise the head.

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The memory of Wembley

San Siro was fatal for us in October: the defeat against Spain in the semifinals of the previous edition of the Nations League broke the world record for unbeaten, which rose to 37 games in a row. San Siro will fill up, but not as happens when Inter or Milan play: if we reach 50 thousand appearances it will be a good goal.

The national team must dodge the most cumbersome danger in order to reconnect the thread with a known discourse: we are back in the spotlight after the knockout (5-2) with Germany, a knockout born also due to an excess of youth. The green line will regain strength in November, in the tests with Albania and Austria, less tonight or Monday: it will not be easy against opponents who are warming up their muscles for Qatar, but our pride is at stake. The memory, for a few hours, is as long as possible. Up to Wembley. –

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