Nazionale U21

Belgium up next for the Azzurrini. Barella: “We're disappointed but focused, we simply have to win on Saturday”

Despite Wednesday’s defeat to Poland, the Cagliari midfielder remains confident

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Belgium up next for the Azzurrini. Barella: “We're disappointed but focused, we simply have to win on Saturday”

It was a tough defeat to take. But now the team need to try to pick up the pieces and find a new lease of life to get going again ahead of their decisive final group game against Belgium on Saturday. However, it’s not completely in Italy’s hands: the Azzurrini will also be reliant on results elsewhere as they find themselves in the midst of a very complicated situation.

There isn’t time to think about what has happened or what will happen. Di Biagio’s side must focus fully on the Belgium match without making any calculations and, above all, without showing signs of fear. The players are aware of that.

This can be seen from the expression on their faces, but also from the words of Cagliari midfielder Nicolò Barella: “We know that our destiny is no longer in our own hands, but this isn’t very important at this point. We need to only think about winning in Reggio Emilia.

“News from the other match (Spain vs. Poland) is to be expected. I’m sure Spain will do their bit, but if we don’t win against Belgium everything else becomes irrelevant. We’ve talked and all of us have the same objective, we definitely need to show more drive out on the pitch than we did against Poland.”

Barella has played in all of Italy’s youth teams, starting from the Under-15s. He took part in the European Championship with the Under-19s in 2016, when the Azzurrini finished runners-up. Furthermore, he was also involved in the World Cup in South Korea with the Under-20s, with Italy coming third in that tournament. As regards the Under-21s, he made his debut in September 2017 in a friendly against Spain in Toledo.

Barella is a player who has already made the leap to play for the senior National Team, but this is a tight-knit group. He continued: “I’m aware that I can play better than what I have up to now. But I think this applies to all my teammates. We played well in the first half against Poland and created numerous chances, but we weren’t clinical and are disappointed with this. On Saturday evening, it’ll be vital to be sharper, impose our football and make the most of the chances that come our way.”