Never has any national team, after winning a great tournament, had to face such decisive matches for the future. We want to win the Nations League at home and to do so Mancini has reconfirmed the block of the European Championships, postponing the attempt to solve the offensive problems we have had for some time to the next engagements.
In history, only one had ever happened National, after having won a great international tournament, he had to restart strong immediately because some decisive commitments were pressing for the future path. National football has changed a lot, especially in this, that is, in the greater importance that each match has for the various tournaments that are springing up like mushrooms (we speak with insistence of the World Cup every two years). A little more than a month after the victory of the Wembley European Championships, the Azzurri had to face a triptych of decisive matches for the race towards the Qatar World Cup 2022.
After the draw against Bulgaria, also due to a physical condition from the beginning of the season, came a good match and a draw, however, that moved little against Switzerland. The consequent draw of the Swiss then in Northern Ireland and our 5-0 victory against Lithuania has practically postponed everything to November, when we will have the home game with “the crusaders” who will decide the first of the group (the second goes to the playoffs and we have a very bad memory very fresh).
If the qualifying commitments were already decisive in order not to have to go through the maze of the play-offs, in October we even play a tournament, the Nations League, to be played at home and even more targeted as a goal to make a bulletin board and continue to win. This need to be ready immediately, just after winning a major tournament, has brought with it a series of consequences that did not occur in past years.
In the first place Mancini has very little touched his basic structure and the players with whom he won the continental tournament. Before the injuries of the Atalantines fool e Pessina, the only new face of Mancini’s call-ups compared to the Europeans was Lorenzo Pellegrini. This obviously took away the possibility of testing new names that are emerging in our league (Dimarco, Lucca, Zaniolo, Tonali, even if the Milan midfielder returned after Pessina’s injury) and thus insert them into fluid mechanisms to work on for a long time. Like any national team, we always need new players who may not be immediately useful in the campaign towards Qatar, but who would be better prepared for a possible turnover in some roles if and when we reach the World Cup.
Mancini he taught us this by not throwing away the generation that had lost Russia 2018: constructions that are too hasty and impetuous never make sense and never lead to anything good. You need to plan step by step and insert many new players in even decisive games, so as to get them ready for the big date. If we are on the safe side, also because by playing the Nations League at home we want to make the most beautiful possible figure, our opponents would like to do some experiments. There Spain, our opponent in the semifinal, wants even more to exasperate the ball possession, maybe making it coexist Sergio Busquets e Rodri and asking a Mikel merino of Real Sociedad to give strength and continue to manage the ball in midfield.
The France wants to start from its strengths, Pogba, Mbappé, Early, but start giving responsibility to the various Upamecano, Jules Koundé, Theo Hernandez, players who must demonstrate today that they can claim ownership in Qatar and finally the Belgium which changes little because it does not have a large tank behind it, even if the idea of testing at great levels Alexis Saelemaekers e Charles De Ketelaere it is the sign that a change of pace a team in the descending phase wants to make.
It will be a very interesting tournament in the future, but also to understand what football to follow in the near future. Luis Enrique does not ask for half measures. If at the Europeans his highly technical tourbillon was carried forward without retreating in the face of pressing internal criticism, today, with the reason for his part for a European semi-final achieved and played very well, the Spanish technician tries to go even one step further. there and propose a football of complete possession just when the great clubs of Spain seem lost and are no longer the privileged label of contemporary football.
Belgium cannot fail to have the 1-1 position as the center of everything Kevin de Bruyne e Romelu Lukaku. They are two footballers who determine every action of any team they play for. We have to start from there, but the brawl will be on the outside because both Hazard and Mertens now seem to be in a downward phase and finding heirs is not so easy. France does not move from the attack Benzema–Mbappé, with Griezmann behind (and who would move?) but must find midfielders running and quick in triggering the offensive game. In this sense, the Veretout of this early Roma championship, he could be an immovable pawn.
Finally there is us, always seen from the outside the same, with the strongest defensive triangle in the world (Donnarumma–Bonucci–Chiellini), Stretcher in full condition that he can do even better than the Europeans and our offensive “little problem” in which we have been struggling for years. There are not too many experiments when playing a title, Mancini knows this and is right to play it safe, but the idea of finding the right man at the center of the attack for his football is a worm that haunts him and will accompany at least as far as Qatar. The path is short and the choice is short, but everything can be solved with a player who suddenly appeared or with a brilliant idea. Fortunately, in Serie A this year we have many technicians who know how to come up with solutions. Mancini will look at them with great attention to see if they will be able to solve his problem too.