The difficult reconstruction of the Squadra Azzurra

Roberto Mancini in the 5-2 defeat to Germany. INA FASSBENDER / AFP

Not qualified for the next World Cup in Qatar, the Italian team begins its reconstruction. Several players were called up by Roberto Mancini for the League of Nations and discovered the selection even before Serie A. A great story that tells a lot about the work he expects at the Nazionale to regain the heights.

New faces and questions

The League of Nations campaign ended last Tuesday with a humiliation for the Nazionale. Germany beat 5-2 at 4e Roberto Mancini’s men are third in their group behind the Hungarian surprise and the Nationalmannschaft. Absent from the 2018 World Cup and not qualified for the next World Cup in Qatar, Squadra Azzurra is living a very complicated decade. No doubt the Italians won the last European Championship, but their repeated absences from the international stage reflect the difficulties inherent in their own championship that the coach has to face.

In this June rally, Roberto Mancini had to deal with the absences of Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile, Federico Bernardeschi and Marco Verratti, among others. Several players have paid tribute to their first selection under the Italian colors. Among these newly selected players, three of them play in the Italian Serie B Championship and have never played a game in the highest category. SPAL midfielder Salvatore Esposito, Frosinone defender Federico Gatti and attacking teammate Alessio Zerbin are all playing in the Serie A anteroom. We could also add Wilfried Gnonto who left Napoli free played not a single game to join Switzerland and FC. Zurich. This phenomenon is not new on the other side of the Alps. In August 2018, Mancini had called Zaniolo when he had not yet played a single minute as a professional. Marco Verratti had been selected by Cesare Prandelli in August 2012 when he played for Brescia in Serie B. But the number of Serie B players has continued to rise in recent years and reflects a fundamental problem in the Italian league.

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The Italian championship as a glass ceiling

The young Italian shoots are struggling to hatch at the highest level in their own championship. Where France excels, Italy disappoints. The glorious Italian past now seems a long way off. If AS Roma won the Europa League Conference this season, the last European trophy of an Italian team back in the Champions League won in 2010 by Inter Milan of a certain José Mourinho . An eternity. Arrigo Sacchi, the great Italian coach of AC Milan in the late 80’s, testified for the Gazzetta dello Sport after the defeat of the Nazionale against Northern Macedonia ” What happened against Macedonia ten years ago is happening with our clubs. No one has won in Europe since Mourinho’s Inter. The euro was an exception. We continue to buy foreign players, even on our youth teams. In search of their glorious past, Italian clubs favor the purchase of young or experienced foreign players when their own national nuggets come out. This is allowed, above all, thanks to the law “Decreto Crescita” approved in 2019 which allows Italian clubs to recruit foreign players while guaranteeing their payroll. This law allows players who join Serie A to reduce their tax contribution by 30%, thus offering clubs the possibility of lowering players’ salaries. Thus, the big weapons of the championship are mainly aimed at confirmed foreign players or nuggets from around the world.

This direction taken by the elite of transalpine football now has obvious consequences for the results of the Squadra Azzurra which is starting a big change after two consecutive non-qualifiers for the World Cup. His teeth are starting to spin and Roberto Mancini didn’t hide it before he faced Germany in the League of Nations. ” In football, to win, you have to score. We have to find attackers who, unfortunately, do not exist in Italy. The hope is that those who play in Serie B will be able to play and score quickly in Serie A. “ With limited resources and a whole system to review, Roberto Mancini, a very good coach, is facing a complex situation and pressured by time. Nazionale fans may not accept a third consecutive failure in qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

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