Spalletti from Italy: It’s not much, but it’s something
What the national team’s two games against Macedonia and Ukraine told us.
The moment the ball kicked by Bardhi landed in the net, bringing us level on Macedonian soil, the good Istrian Malvasia I was drinking went sideways. And certainly not just because of the 14 degrees or the fact that I had placed a fairly generous bet on the Italians winning, but above all because I, like many Italians, thought that it would be another stumble against the Carneadi, that condemned us to watching the World Cup from the couch for the second year in a row was simply impossible.
A lot has been said about the game in Skopje. It is sacrosanct to display disappointment, it is not very intelligent to make unimpeachable judgments. These are the facts. Spalletti, recently named the country’s savior, has fielded a national team with an average age of 27.5 yearsFor Transfer market The total value of our children was 388 million, compared to 43 for the Macedonians. The first half went at a relatively good pace, there were attempts at attack that deserved more luck, but the number of goals scored remained zero. The break was a dark interlude full of doubt and fear. A feeling reinforced by the appearance of ancient blue glories on the screens, from a Del Piero who speaks sincerely of the benefits of potassium and magnesium to a Toni now addicted to unbridled gambling addiction.
Nevertheless, the goal from Immobile, who was promoted to captain, seemed to be the promise of a stabilized evening and a secured qualification. But after the advantage on the unworthy Skopje pitch, the frugality, the inattention, those small serial errors that are unbearable for an elite national team, especially against a team with which the unfinished business was enormous, resurfaced. It’s up to Zaniolo, now newly anointed bad boy of the tricolor ball, committing the foul that leads to Bardhi’s fatal free kick. The contributions of Gnonto and Raspadori will only be useful in highlighting the notable technical and experiential limitations of each and in overcoming them first doubts about Spalletti’s ability to make call-ups, make changes, be a club coach and therefore unsuitable for the role of mere selection player.
From Palermo to Skopje, Italy managed to score just one goal and concede two against the Macedonians. With qualification dependent on the obligatory three points against the Ukrainians, these were not peaceful days in Coverciano. We don’t know what buttons Spalletti touched on his players, but being an intelligent man, in the press conference the day before, when answering a question about Donnarumma, he was guilty of conceding a goal out of his post, what a goalkeeper absolutely was avoidable of his caliber, he replied like this: “He will not be forgiven for being a child prodigy. He enjoys attacking natural talents and waiting for them to show their mistakes,” he says tensely, chewing on his pen and admitting: “I, too, carried out such attacks on talents many years ago.” I’m from them regional students left Empoli to arrive in paradise. Nice, but how much effort.”
We have to get used to resentment for those who by nature do things that cost ordinary mortals enormous sacrifices. But the most interesting point of the topic is that “Talent, when you have it, must be respected.” Efforts are needed to improve donated funds. This makes it harder for those who want to beat you. By not trivializing your daily work, you will be more respected. Otherwise it is just a guess.” In short: talent cannot trivialize commitment. With this speech, Spalletti was certainly not just talking about Donnarumma, but about the entire team. He knows with farm intelligence that those who show they know how to work are more appreciated by colleagues, by critics and by the public. And you get the impression that that was exactly the button he pressed most forcefully between the two races.
Italy lined up in front of the 55,000 spectators at San Siro a team with an average age of 25 years, two years younger than that of Skopje. Missing: Mancini, Tonali, Cristante, Immobile, Politano. In Scalvini, Locatelli, Frattesi, Zaniolo and Raspadori. The result was a perfect, compact, aggressive Italy for 40 minutes, with a good turn of the ball and a Frattesi coached Gerrard which makes up for a 2-0 spoiled by the Ukrainian goal shortly before half-time. There is great doubt in the minds of millions of Italians: will they react or will they melt away? After a normal start, the second half ended with countless missed opportunities. And when in the 81st minute Ukraine was awarded a free kick from the same position as Macedonia, with Gnonto playing the crocodile, the whole nation held its breath.
Amen, it was important to win and we won even though we played well, even though Ukraine was very weak compared to the team that drew with England. This time too, a goal was conceded, but the defense seemed more coordinated than in Skopje. Unfortunately, the dramatic difficulty of hitting the goal remains. 21 shots, two goals. Spalletti attributed some missed calls, especially Scamacca, to the lack of playing time. The impression is that the trust in some (Immobile, Cristante) does not last, that others (Retegui, Orsolini) do not meet the needs of the coach, that others (Politano, Raspadori) live on the income of previous experiences with Spalletti and that still others (Zaniolo, Gnonto) are stubborn bets from whom progress in personality and technique is expected.
A single call-up round and two games, which were also played in a sometimes dramatic context, do not give rise to significant considerations. We will know more after Malta and England. But we can draw important clues from the spirit that Spalletti, as a good winemaker, tries to cultivate in the fields of Coverciano. At the opening conference, he explained with emotion that as a child he had asked his mother to sew him a giant tricolor after the Azteca semi-final. He talked about the happiness the players must feel when they wear the blue jersey, but he also remembered how
“It’s a very important jersey Not everyone can dress.
We put the club jersey over it, the blue one always stays on us, we never take it off. In a world where the Italian Post delivers everything to our homes, it seems easy to achieve everything, but that is not the case with the national team jersey.” He reiterated that he would not make exorbitant decisions in terms of numbers and that the pace of the game must definitely be taken into account. In summary, The days of the last confusing period of Mancini’s management and cruel Pafundi-style summonses already seem far away. The last point of these days for the Azzurri was brought by Spalletti by answering another question about Donnarumma, this time in connection with the whistles with which the Meazza greeted the goalkeeper, the captain of the Azzurri, on the occasion.
“Sometimes you can react with attitude, sometimes with words.” Sometimes we stay calm and work even better. And I’m not happy with those who react with little phrases on social media. We have a duty to behave like professionals, not like spoiled children. You stay calm».
The message from someone who has coached demanding and hysterical teams (Roma, Inter, Milan) and managed the egos of stodgy players like Totti and Icardi should be loud and clear. The national team is a landing place and deserves to be honored with the utmost commitment. To say that those who have had the honor of wearing the tricolor on their chest in the recent history of the Italian national team have not always carried out this task with complete self-denial is an understatement. But there is a feeling that such failures in the energy sector will not go unpunished from now on. On October 17th we will carry out another test at Wembley Stadium to find out whether and to what extent the message has been received by the crew.
At the moment we can say that there is a message, it is very clear and touches the head and soul of a person certainly not a poor group as people like to portray them, but extremely fragile. Spalletti’s job is to show the path that leads to finding the strength within oneself, but it is the duty of his players to take that path and follow it. Together in search of a strong destiny, a destiny worthy of a national team like Italy’s. And compared to a few months ago, that alone is a huge step forward.
Cover photo: Italian national team (Twitter)