Too strong to be true. Roberto Mancini will forgive me, but if exactly seven days before his debut with Turkey, Italy beats the Czech Republic 4-0 and collects the eighth consecutive victory without conceding goals, perhaps there is something wrong. As I write this, I realize how paradoxical my speech is, but perhaps it is because Italy has always done well when it had approached the big competitions badly, or when it had even started them in a disappointing, not to say frustrating, way.
There are two problems: the European Championship starts in a week and Italy is in shape now; Turkey, for me, is stronger than Switzerland and, of course, the Czech Republic so I am very cautious in saying that the games to come will be a walk in the park.
On the contrary, I think that everything that has been achieved so far must rightly be internalized, but not exalted. Rome’s debut will be a whole other story and I’m old enough to remember that before the 1966 World Cup, the one in which we were eliminated by Korea, we had won all the friendlies. of preparation and also in the first game we had collected two points. Then the victory was worth so and, to tell of an excess, there was not even a substitution due to injury against five now.
Another world and another football. But the Italians, according to the cliché that something must be traced back to, give their all or the best when their backs to the wall and everything, absolutely everything – see Calciopoli before the 2006 World Cup – seems lost.
Now I hope that in the left-handed palingenesis there is also this, that is the elimination of the cliché and that the national football team knows and can give its best even in the most favorable conditions, three games at the Olimpico, for example, which mean home and a team that is already competitive now, scores and plays which is a pleasure, treats all opponents the same way and has a bench absolutely equal to those who play.
Cut Sensi (I would not have brought him badly, but I was absolutely against his call, in all cases good luck), Mancini finds himself with Pessina and, above all, with Raspadori who made his debut in blue. The happy note, however, is not him (there will be time even if it is not Paolo Rossi), but the attacking trident formed by Immobile, Insigne and Berardi all on target with a goal, to which Barella’s marking must be added.. If in the first (Immobile) and in the second goal (Barella) there were two significant deviations (Brabec in one case, Boric in the other), the markings of Insigne, an assist from Immobile, and that of Berardi, an assist from Insigne, are stay clean and uplifting.
Italy sided with the squad that, ninety percent, will be starting against Turkey. That is with Donnarumma in goal, Florenzi and Spinazzola low exteriors, Bonucci and Chiellini central defense. Barella, Jorginho and Locatelli (waiting for Verratti) in midfield, Berardi (preferred to Chiesa), Immobile and Insigne in front.
Great football was not played, especially in the first twenty minutes, and the pace was low too. However, the substance was there and has been seen. It is not just a question of goals scored and not conceded, but of a proactive attitude, of risks reduced to a minimum, of complete and never mannered phrasing. The goals were placed in the middle of the first half (22 ‘, Immobile’s right-footed shot from inside the area, “fouled” by Brabec), at the end of the first half (41’, Barella’s shot from the edge deflected by Boric), mid-second half (Insigne on the unmarking assists of Immobile) and a quarter of an hour from the end (73 ‘, touched under by Berardi, after feint and sublime serve by Immobile).
The 4-0 was the most beautiful because the action was born from the blue collective pressing and developed through the central streets from where Insigne caught Berardi with a pass that split the opponent’s area.
Shortly before the third and fourth goals, or in the 63rd minute, Mancini brought out Jorginho, Chiellini and Spinazzola for Cristante, Acerbi and Emerson. Then, at 77 ‘, Raspadori and Chiesa for Immobile and Berardi. Finally at 86 ‘Toloi for Florenzi, demonstrating that the Atalantino can also play the right winger.
Italy likes and entertains, scores and dreams. The important thing is, between now and Friday, to cancel everything and get ready for a whole other competition. It wouldn’t be called European and it would not be a story to be discovered and lived. One certainty: however it goes we are no longer a surprise.