Europeans, on the eve of his debut against Turkey the coach does not hide his emotion and dreams of imitating Valcareggi who triumphed in 1968
ROME. “It will be impossible not to get excited.” Roberto Mancini is sincere, 24 hours after the debut of the European Championship with Italy-Turkey. The coach hopes not to sleep until the Wembley final, because after a year and a half of suffering, Italy and all of Europe are also restarting in the name of football, and they really want to stay awake. People are hoping to relive magical nights full of football and national pride. This time, it is the general hope, the flags on balconies and windows and that “everything will be fine” will refer only to football and the blue dream.
«Let’s think about reaching the final, and then let’s see ..», the promise of the coach who admits to being «confident from the beginning, and today even more». The rebirth is in the sign of Italy-Turkey, the inaugural match of Euro 2020, in Rome and 53 years after the Olimpico illuminated by torches made with newspaper to celebrate the triumph of Italy, which remained the only one at the European Championships. Mancini hopes to do like Ferruccio Valcareggi, and dreams of the top step of the podium because the desire to “play with carefree, to have fun and entertain the people” is great, as is the desire to go all the way.
A confidence so strong that it led the coach, before the Uefa conference, to write an open letter to the Italians, via Instagram. “Let’s forget the pandemic together.” The coach believes in it: «I was confident three years ago – he underlines -, I am even more so today. We worked well, and I have good players. There is an excellent group, and we have been together for a long time, we had fun and we would like to continue to do so and, in the end, if we manage to get to London, we will talk about it again ».
He regrets that the health situation does not yet allow a full house in the stadiums. «Too bad the Olimpico isn’t full, the public would have given us an extra boost. Instead it will be almost like playing on a neutral field – says Mancini -, because there will also be Turkish supporters and that’s right. In any case, sixteen thousand spectators are a first step ». It takes “respect for Turkey, which is a very talented team”, but the important thing is to have fun and entertain, a concept that Mancini repeats several times.
For this reason he also wrote, on social media, a letter to the Italians, which explains to those who ask him for an account: «now that the situation in the country is turning for the best, it is time to return to give satisfaction. We will try to do our best, the first race is the most difficult, but as we have already said we will have to be free mentally. My letter on social media was for sportsmen, and for Italians: the whole country, even those who do not know football, are following such a tournament. We will all be involved ». Also because, and it is a basic concept around 11 July and London, “if we do what we know how to do, with confidence, we can do it”.
There will be no Sensi and Pellegrini, who forfeited the last one, and «sorry for them, they would have deserved the European». Absences that do not change the ideas of the coach for the first time, with a midfield composed of Barella-Jorginho-Locatelli, while Verratti should recover for Switzerland
Captain Giorgio Chiellini agrees on the confidence expressed by Mancini, but adds his own. “Our coach is right when he says that we must play with carefree – Chiellini’s opinion -, but I say that to try to do something in this type of event it will also take a pinch of madness”. “We are ready – he adds -, we have prepared ourselves in the best possible way”. But for him, who is a veteran of the double Italy-Sweden challenge that sanctioned the exclusion of Italy from the 2018 World Cup, there is an extra stimulus.
«The desire to make up for it, to relive a tournament, a competition as protagonists, is great – says Chiellini -. Milan’s defeat with Sweden is something that remains with us, we will never be able to cancel it. But in recent years we have transformed that disappointment into enthusiasm and desire to do well. This feeling is not only in us, but in all the fans of this national team. You do not know how many, this week, are galvanizing themselves in anticipation of this race that has been missing for 5 years. We can’t wait to take the field and experience these emotions ». With the 16 thousand present at the Olimpico and millions of Italians in front of the TV. (HANDLE).