After the failure due to the absence in the World Cup in Qatar, the Italian coach Roberto Mancini is in the process of searching for a team before the ‘Azzurra’ start the defense of their continental crown on Thursday (4:45 p.m.) against England, with the start of the qualifying rounds for Euro 2024.
The trajectory of Italy In recent years, he has experienced two resounding failures (the absence in the 2018 and 2022 World Cups) and a surprising success, the Euro 2020 (postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic) against England at Wembley.
The match at the Diego Maradona Stadium in Naples will therefore be a repetition of the last continental final, won by the Italians on penalties.
While the main teams in the world were fighting for the world title in Qatar, Italian football was experiencing another crisis, with Roberto Mancini lamenting the lack of talented youngsters in a country accustomed to training world-class footballers.
Italy has three teams in the quarterfinals of the Champions League (Napoli, Inter and Milan)plus another three in the other two continental tournaments (Rome, Juventus and Fiorentina)being the country with the most representatives in the last rounds of European club competitions.
But far from highlighting this success in Serie A, Mancini is prudent: “(The teams in the Champions League) they have seven or eight Italian players between the three of them… This is the reality and we have to do something different,” he claimed on Monday.
“Italian football has not been reborn… If there were 33 Italians on the pitch maybe… Even half would be enough!”, he added.
The coach particularly regrets the lack of strikers and puts up Leeds United winger Willy Gnonto as an example of talented youngsters being ignored by Calcio teams.
Also read: Three months from the World Cup, the road to Euro 2024 begins
An argument that does not seem to convince the country, which has criticized Mancini for having convened for the first time Mateo Reteguia player born 23 years ago in Argentina and that he has never played in Serie A, being currently a Tigre footballer from the South American country.
The ‘tifosi’ have also been baffled by Mancini’s decision not to summon young players who are standing out in Serie A such as the Udinese defender Destiny Udogiewho will play for Tottenham next season, the Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli or to the Lazio couple Mattia Zaccagni and Nicolo Casale.
Zaccagni, for example, has scored nine goals for Lazio this season, including the winner in the derby against Roma last Sunday, preferring Frederick Chiesa, who barely accumulates 500 minutes with Juventus, in which he scored a goal. The ‘Juve’ striker, however, is out due to injury for the first two games (against England and Malta).
Despite everything, Italy starts with England as the two great favorites to occupy the two qualifying places for the Eurocup in a group E that they complete malt, Ukraine and North Macedoniathe team that eliminated the ‘Azurra’ in the World Cup playoffs.
Know more: Southgate and the challenge of returning to excite England
Despite having more talent, the English coach’s complaints Gareth Southgate They are similar to Mancini’s. Despite the talented youngsters that the coach has brought in in recent years (Foden, Grealish, Saka, Bellingham…), the coach regrets that there aren’t more players in the Premier.
“I would like to have more depth, but we have less choice than other big nations. I am happy with the quality we have, but in some positions we lack selectable players”, he commented.
Southgate goes further and warns that the presence of young people “is rapidly deteriorating in the Premier League.” “It is not something that worries me in a period of 18 months, but four or five years from now. We have to be very careful with this.”