Time test, Mancini’s national team on the field in Tirana in view of the future. On the field Albania and Italy 0-0
Eve. He’s 58, and the number of blue seats is a little less: 56. A lot anyway. Roberto Mancini is about to cross a very important milestone in the blue collective imagination: he catches up with Marcello Lippi, world champion in 2006, and Cesare Prandelli (runner-up in Europe in 2012) in the number of matches spent at the head of the Italian player. Team.
It is true that, as he himself admits, it will be difficult to work alongside a sacred beast like Vittorio Pozzo or Enzo Bearzot, but already “it’s good to join Lippi and Prandelli”. “We hope to extend the line,” said “Manciu,” who, on the eve of the friendly match in Tirana against Albania, and a few days before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, confirmed that this “will be a difficult month.” After all, we already knew that. We feel so bitter not to be in Qatar – his words full of remorse -, I’ve been thinking about it since March.
“The match against Macedonia was a ridiculous match, as can happen every 100 years. Unfortunately it happened to us – Mancini sighed -. This is football too, and after a great relief, a great disappointment arrived. We can no longer do anything. A World Cup without Italy It’s different, we have to work and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
As for tomorrow’s and Sunday’s tests (against Austria), he said, “It will be important to try out some new players,” referring to the various young players who have been called up. First of all, the talented Simone Pafundi from Udinese. “We’ve followed him for several years – he admits – already from the minor national teams and we’ve seen that he has great qualities. We think he can be a great player in the future: he’s young, I called him in June for a training spell. Zaniolo came too. We were very young, Nobody knew him, but after three months, he was another player.”
Upon Federico Chiesa’s return to the Azzurri, the coach admitted, “It’s a pleasure. Now, however, he has to get fit again.”
Returning to the friendly match in Albania, Mancini made it clear that he was in Tirana to “play a good game”. “We know – and he adds – that our opponents are not that weak. The Albanians are all good, otherwise some of them would not have played in Serie A.”
Albania coach Eddie Riga also spoke about Italy’s exclusion from the World Cup. “The failure of the Azzurri to qualify for Qatar disappointed everyone – the words of the Friuli coach – I am very sorry. Fortunately, Mancini decided to stay in his position; with him on the bench the project will continue, and I am convinced that he will do very well – interesting young people.
He is working for the future and I hope he can achieve other goals, because he deserves it.” Who will I cheer for tomorrow? When Italy is not playing Albania, I always support the Azzurri national team. But tomorrow I will not support Italy, it would be against my interests. If it comes out 3-3 or 4-4 that would be great. And expert Riga (Ansa) adds, When I hear the anthem tomorrow, I will surely be moved.”
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