After Davide Frattesi scored a brace to get the Azzurri’s Euro 2024 qualification campaign back on track with a 2-1 win over Ukraine on Tuesday, Luciano Spalletti expressed that he is “in heaven” in his new role as Italy’s coach.
After Spalletti’s first win in his home debut, Italy currently sits in the second of two automatic qualifying places in Group C. This victory was achieved at the San Siro courtesy to two goals scored by Inter Milan midfielder Frattesi within the first half an hour of play.
The 22-year-old player, who started in place of the injured Sandro Tonali, blasted in two low finishes to bring Italy level on points with Ukraine and North Macedonia. Ukraine’s goal was scored by captain Andriy Yarmolenko four minutes before halftime. North Macedonia’s goal was scored by Stojan Stojanovic.
In the following month, Italy will play Malta in Bari, and then they will travel to Wembley, where they won a stunning victory at the previous European Championship, to play England, who are currently in first place in that trio with six points.
“I’ve adjusted to my new surroundings extremely well. “It’s amazing to be here; it makes me feel as though I’m in heaven, encircled by blue,” Spalletti said to the reporters.
“Like everyone else, we are facing challenges, but in addition to those, we are obligated to fulfill certain responsibilities. And when we are in a bind, we need to be able to respond appropriately.”
Even though Italy’s victory on Tuesday had a rather close scoreline, there were some hopeful indicators that the team was beginning to adopt some of Spalletti’s strategies.
Italy dominated the encounter with a flowing form of football that was reminiscent of the Napoli club that Spalletti led to a historic Serie A triumph last season, with the exception of a brief period after the halftime break.
Italy easily could have won by a larger margin if they hadn’t been without a number of first-choice players, including Juventus attacker Federico Chiesa.
In a performance that was light years removed from the miserable 1-1 draw they played against North Macedonia on Saturday, they squandered a multitude of opportunities and had one shot on goal, which was taken by Manuel Locatelli.
It was difficult for us to play so soon following our match versus England (which took place over the weekend). According to the coach of the Ukraine team, Serhiy Rebrov, “Italy played with real intensity, and it was difficult for us to keep up with them.”
“However, I do believe that we still have a chance to qualify.”
After playing to a draw in Skopje, Italy came into this match knowing that only a victory would do. They attacked Ukraine aggressively from the opening whistle and had a chance to take the lead within the first three minutes, but Locatelli’s shot from the edge of the penalty area went over the crossbar.
And Giacomo Raspadori was left holding his head in his hands in the tenth minute after he had stumbled his way onto the goal but then shot the ball into the spectators’ section instead of the net.
However, two minutes later Italy took the lead thanks to a gift from Ukraine. Georgiy Sudakov lost possession of the ball outside of his own penalty area, which allowed Mattia Zaccagni to rush in and pass the ball across to Frattesi, who then scored the game’s first goal.
Raspadori blasted Frattesi’s knockdown over the crossbar as Italy kept up their pressure and chances creation, and they were deservingly up by two goals in the 29th minute.
Inter player had the wherewithal to poke home Italy’s second goal, which was granted after a VAR check for offside. The goal was given after Nicolo Zaniolo’s clumsy low shot bobbled between Frattesi and Raspadori before falling to the Inter man.
Yarmolenko cut the score in half just before halftime, making it appear as though Italy was going to have little trouble winning.
Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was booed all night by AC Milan fans still upset at his move to Paris Saint-Germain, palmed away Artem Dovbyk’s close-range shot, only for Federico Dimarco to give the rebound back to the opposition skipper. Yarmolenko pushed the ball into an empty net after Federico Dimarco passed the rebound straight to the opposing skipper.
Georgiy Bushchan, the goalkeeper for Ukraine, had to be at his absolute best in order to deny Raspadori a goal after Zaniolo’s backheel had done an outstanding job of putting the forward in a position to score. Ukraine’s confidence had been restored, and they posed a threat on the break.
when that, the lively Zaniolo had a shot that was excellently stopped by Bushchan in the 67th minute, and then moments later, Locatelli whirled and smashed a shot off the crossbar when there was pandemonium in the area of the Ukraine.
And despite the fact that Yukhym Konoplya wasted a golden opportunity by heading the ball wide with five minutes remaining while Wilfried Gnonto was on the ground, Italy was able to hold on for a significant victory.