Il Corriere has created a special on the European 2021 with matches, teams, protagonists and results in real time: you can find it here
A perfect field behind the pines of Rome, the ones that life does not break them: for finishing training, Roberto Mancini brought the blues inside the last postcard of the sixties.
Acqua Acetosa, Giulio Onesti center.
Fan palaces on the Parioli hill, seagulls swooping into the Tiber: on the lawn there is Verratti running with the group. He’s fine, recovered. Against Switzerland he could go on the bench, but maybe he ends up in the stands again: we have to see if the coach intends to keep him for Wales. The urgency of the reporters who have to guess the formation for another: understand if on the right, instead of Florenzi, there is confirmation from Di Lorenzo, or if it is up to Toloi.
At dinner time a battery of whatsapp will start, Mancini usually reads them, he should answer. But not said. Swiss chronicler: Crande fubbone Mancio. He always smile.
What then never even a full smile. With that smooth, porcelain face of his, with that quick, all cunning look, the unexpected flashes he had already on the pitch, like a brutal class footballer. Not easy to decipher someone like Mancini. But something, little by little, has been intuited.
Europeans 2021: all the insights
Meanwhile: the Azzurri consider him a competent and fair leader. Being perceived as righteous is essential to lead a football team, but also an office, or a newspaper. The Azzurri acknowledge that the coach was chosen without favoritism or weaknesses.
Before sending PEllegrini and Sensi, had the MRI diagnoses read and re-read, spoke to the boys, how do you feel, what you feel, tell me if you can do it or not. He cut Kean not so much for playing the friendly with San Marino while walking, but rather for how he arrived at breakfast, for the listlessness with which he participated in technical meetings. He waited for Zaniolo as long as it was reasonable to wait for him (we all know that with Zaniolo, starting from the right, or as a fake center forward, we would have had important tactical shocks). Mancini tried, for months, to keep even Balotelli inside: and it was understandable, because a striker with those characteristics would have been very useful. But then Marione, oh well, what a pity, let’s leave it alone.
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The test of the Europeans
These are public clues. Pieces of the story of how Mancini was able to rebuild a national team humiliated by the exclusion of the World Cup in Russia, bringing it up to its debut in this European championship. Then there is the changing room. An always mysterious narrative, full of omert, where you can only imagine. The feeling, however, is clear: the Azzurri know perfectly well that there is no champion among them and therefore the only possible destiny is linked to the coach’s idea of playing.
He says: I want you dominant. Look at them: short lines, many setters, Spinazzola who becomes a winger, an irreplaceable playmaker (Jorginho), a mezzala who joins him, the other who enters vertically (Barella), Insigne who cuts from the left and becomes a playmaker, on the other side Berardi, so full of talent.
But precisely: so far we have only beaten Turkey, and we have not yet met – not even in a friendly – level opponents. So, calm down. Even if Marcello Lippi says: I see the spirit of 2006 again. And Arrigo Sacchi adds: The Azzurri, wonderfully directed by our talented city….
The last time Mancini risked landing wrong was last winter. On Instagram – with hundreds of Covid deaths every day – he shared a silly denial cartoon. On the web many asked for his resignation. Several insulted him.
For a wrong passage it happens to everyone.
Even now, to say: Locatelli’s platter ends up directly in lateral foul. Vialli and Evani, on the sidelines, smile and make a sign of sa Mancini.
There is a nice atmosphere. There is this Roman sky. C ‘that we all continue to have a crazy desire for happiness, porca puta.