On Saturday, Italy will make its debut under new head coach Luciano Spalletti. The Azzurri will be competing in Euro 2024 qualifying in North Macedonia, and it will be an opportunity for them to exorcise the ghosts of their disastrous World Cup performance.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Italy has been going through something of an identity crisis. The country is uncertain of its place in the international game because it is no longer feared to the same extent as it was in earlier decades.
It was Italy’s opponents in Group C, North Macedonia, who provoked the most recent round of self-reflection by eliminating Italy from the most recent World Cup in the qualification play-offs last year.
Not only did Italy fail to qualify for the World Cup for the second year in a row as a result of the single-goal catastrophe in Palermo, but it also wiped out the great amount of good will acquired from winning at the previous Euro, which had made the team and Spalletti’s predecessor Roberto Mancini national heroes.
Nevertheless, during the presentation press conference, Spalletti asked both his team and fans to put the disappointment of that result behind them and concentrate on what lies ahead.
Gianluigi Donnarumma, the team’s goalkeeper, is in agreement with this assessment, even though he did concede that the players “are still angry” about not being able to compete in the tournament in Qatar.
According to Donnarumma, who was speaking to the media, “it’s not really revenge that drives us, because we want to focus on ourselves,” but “we know how important this match is and what happened the last time we played them,” she said.
Italy will play a match in Skopje, one of two that might determine their qualification for the event that will take place in Germany next summer, where they will be attempting to defend their European Championship title.
Italy will play host to Ukraine at the San Siro on Tuesday evening, and after that encounter they will be hoping to finish second in the group behind England, who are currently running away with the group lead in the automatic Euro spot rankings.
Italy presently lie third on three points, nine behind England who have played two games more and more importantly three away from Ukraine.
And new head coach Spalletti, who was hired after leading Napoli to their first league title since 1990, has been charged with renewing a club that had began to appear jaded long before Mancini left for Saudi Arabia a month ago. Spalletti was brought in after leading Napoli to their first league title since 1990.
“I have the feeling that Italy has found the right man at the right time,” said Gianluigi Buffon, Italy’s new delegation chairman, on Monday. Buffon made these remarks.
“I had the opportunity to spend the last few days with him and his staff, and they talk about ideas, feelings, and values, all of which, in my opinion, are what we need in order to accomplish our goals.”
Leonardo Bonucci, Marco Verratti, and Jorginho were all crucial members of Italy’s championship team in the last European Championship, but Spalletti decided to bench them all.
The 64-year-old coach stated that Jorginho of Arsenal and Marco Verratti of Paris Saint-Germain were not selected because they did not have enough playing experience. However, the coach stated that the break with Bonucci appears to be permanent as the center defender is getting close to the end of his playing career.
Another veteran, Ciro Immobile, will most likely wear the captain’s armband, and the team will be rooting for him to replicate the success he has had in the domestic league on the international scene.
It is a North Macedonia squad in trouble and unlikely to make it to their second European Championship after making it to the 2021 edition. Italy will face Napoli’s Eljif Elmas and former Palermo forward Aleksandar Trajkovski, the man who decided Italy’s fate at the World Cup.
The team coached by Blagoja Milevski is tied with Italy in points despite having played one more game, however they were defeated by England with a score of 7–0 in their most recent match, and they will be without their captain Stefan Ristovski because he declined his call-up.
Ristovski has stated that he will not play for Milevski, and Goran Pandev, the best player in the history of the country’s football team, has openly criticized both the coach for not resigning immediately following the humiliating loss at Wembley in June and the country’s football association for not firing him.
“Everyone expected a change, the people demanded it,” Pandev said in an interview published Wednesday in the Italian daily Corriere Dello Sport. “But the problem is much deeper and involves the people above the coach,” Pandev added.
After the play-offs for the World Cup and the Euro, they have wrecked the best generation of players that we have created in the past three decades.