The day of the (first) truth is approaching for Roberto Mancini’s Italy , who tomorrow must absolutely beat North Macedonia to access the playoff final and, therefore, continue to hope for qualification in key Qatar 2022. After having failed the game. direct access to the World Cup, via the play-offs.
On the other hand, Portugal-Turkey, another race of path C which will define the final scheduled for 29 March. For the Italian national team, therefore, not only North Macedonia to overcome, but possibly also one between the team Cristiano Ronaldo and that of Calhanoglu.
Mancini , on the eve of the challenge scheduled for Thursday evening at the ‘Renzo Barbera’ in Palermo, played the charge:
“There are exciting moments and others of disappointment, maybe we could only win. Just be focused on what we have to do, Italy knows how to play football well and we have to think about the pitch, not about other things.”
Jorginho also saw his spot-kick saved during the UEFA EURO 2020 Final penalty shoot-out against England at Wembley, before Gianluigi Donnarumma ensured Italy took the trophy.
“After the two with Switzerland, he converted the next seven in a row, so he’s got his precision back,”
“It won’t be a problem, if there’s a penalty, we’ll take it.”
Against North Macedonia nothing new compared to the past:
“We didn’t have much time, the guys arrive and they have to recover from their fatigue, their travels. We tried something in the half day yesterday and for this very reason we confirmed the European Championship guys. They know each other well and they know what we have to do” .
Watch out for the frenzy, no rush:
“I don’t think tomorrow’s match should be resolved as soon as possible, we start from 0-0, there is no result to overturn. They defend well and have technical qualities, they won in Germany. We have to remain calm and make the our match “.
Italy ahead of North Macedonia? Not for Mancini:
“No favorite, anything can happen in 90 minutes. We know well that even the most obvious matches must be played because there can be surprises.”
It will be the Palermo field to designate the team that will play the playoff final. In short, it is forbidden to fail.
Giorgio Chiellini insists Italy only need to ‘be ourselves’ in the World Cup play-offs with North Macedonia and either Portugal or Turkey, assuring he is ready to play.
“We were unlucky in the first game with Bulgaria and could’ve done better, but we dominated both matches with Switzerland and didn’t take our chances to win,” said Chiellini in his press conference.
“I don’t think we need anything extraordinary to get us back to the level we saw at Wembley. We need humility, because North Macedonia are not here as a fluke, there are players we know and recognise from their club football.
“We just need to be ourselves, play our football and do it calmly, everything that allowed us to lose very few matches in the last three years.
“Those who experienced the disappointment of four years ago will also have the experience and calm to keep their emotions under control, because that was a very important lesson we learned.”
Leonardo Bonucci is out, but will Chiellini be able to play tomorrow after one half of football for Juventus at the weekend?
“I am fine, I’ve been training well and I had a few doubts, but I’ve actually done alright and am happy to be here.
“There is another training session, the coach will make his choices, but I am available. Considering the last month, training without problems is already an achievement.”
Chiellini won EURO 2020, but also experienced two dreadful World Cup tournaments with Italy, and failed to qualify at all in 2018.
“I don’t need a good World Cup to close my career, but it would be nice to turn the trend! I always had wonderful experiences with the Euros, not so much with the World Cup, but hopefully we can end on a high.
“It’s an important target for all of us, we can all feel the enthusiasm from the fans and we just need to be ourselves.
“We mustn’t go into this with tension or feeling that if we lose it will go down in history. We have to play with belief in ourselves, not fear, even if that means a sprinkle of arrogance. We should enjoy the occasion.”