Mateo and Wilfried have injected the national team with youth and liveliness. Coach Mancini: «The road to qualifying is still long but in the second half I saw a great team again»
It is the Italy of young people which amplifies the regret, that of the second half widely dominated with two terrible boys, Matthew Retegui and Wilfried Gnonto, who have rhythm, desire and leg. The Azzurri light up an exciting and difficult evening, making it special in spite of everything. The defeat against England (the Lions’ anthem was booed at Maradona amid abundant social criticism: it’s not done) burns, but Mancini has identified the way, the future belongs to those kids that Italian football needs so badly. The coach asks for time: «The road to qualification is still long, in the second half I saw a great national team again: a sign that gives me hope. Now? We roll up our sleeves, we have some uphill ahead of us, we hope to find the descent after that too». The Retegui graft? «He’s just arrived, he needs to get to know his teammates and Italian football».
Mateo, with a single «t», comes out when everything is already compromised. We are two goals behind, Pellegrini serves him and the diagonal is perfect. Pickford does not get to take the ball, the eyes of the Argentine from the Tiger that light up and the exultation with his arms wide says that yes, Retegui, he is about to take flight. «For me and my family it means a lot to represent these colors. Everyone welcomed me and treated me well, I already feel part of the group, of course we need to get to know each other better. It was nice to score but it would have been nicer to win».
57′ minutes have passed and Italy finally comes out of the apnea, taken by the hand of a 24-year-old boy, arrived here for five days, who did four training sessions (including yesterday morning’s finishing) and before the flicker he was wandering around the field desperately looking for a playable ball. With the mad desire to dance his tango. Mateo thus took the limelight in the stadium of the legendary Maradona. The Diego of his land, the one who, like him, played for Boca but has never seen except in football almanacs. However, he has to see Henry Kane who condemns Italy from the penalty spot in Maradona’s temple, detaches Rooney and becomes the best English scorer in history.
Young and promising, Retegui like Gnonto who enters the second half and offers lively plays that open the heart to hope, finally making the national team’s show fun. An Italy that believes in it. «With a little luck it would have ended differently – Gnonto is sure -. We have to win against Malta on Sunday. Me in the Premier League? I’m happy, I proved to be a good player.” The first blue night without Luca Vialli is a mix of emotions, it’s a moving night, a blow to the stomach when Luca’s images scroll by. The blue LEDs light up the pitch at the start: Vialli’s name written in green, the color of the youth, the message of hope.
March 24, 2023 (change March 24, 2023 | 07:41)
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