Mancini: “We were extraordinary, but the road is still long”. Bonucci: “We're becoming a really good team”Spinazzola's injury is a cause for concern. The Head Coach: “It seems bad, seeing him in tears really got to me”. Insigne given the Star of the Match Award: “One of my most important goals”
Friday, July 2, 2021
One Head Coach called Roberto was guaranteed a place in the European Championship semi-finals. Immediately after Italy and Belgium’s places in the quarter-finals were confirmed, Roberto Mancini and Roberto Martinez immediately started to think about how they could get the better of each other. Compliments were paid, while there was also uncertainty surrounding the fitness levels of Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne. In the end, the latter took to the pitch, but he wasn’t able to prevent Italy extending their unbeaten run to 32 games. The Azzurri have sealed a spot in the Euro semi-finals and will now face Spain in London on Tuesday for a place in the final.
“We deserved to win,” said the Italy Head Coach. “My lads were extraordinary, even if they had to dig in towards the end because of fatigue. But they truly were excellent, and we could have even scored a few more goals.” The Azzurri will be returning to Wembley, and the objective will be to also play there on Sunday 11 July. “We had no minimum target, but we wanted to do our best. The road is still long,” Mancini added. We now need to remain calm and recuperate because our next match will be very difficult: Spain are a great team.” The only sour note of the evening was the injury to Spinazzola: “It seems to be a bad one, the way it happened wasn’t nice. Seeing him in tears really got to me.”
Five years ago, he partnered with Giorgio Chiellini and stopped Lukaku, contributing to the Azzurri’s first win at EURO 2016. This time, Leonardo Bonucci was, once again, a key figure against Belgium in a win that took Italy through to the semi-finals. He had a goal disallowed, he fought for every ball and he showed once again that he is one of the leaders of this team. “Nights like this tell me that we’re becoming a really good team. We showed solidity, a spirit of sacrifice and that Italian heart. Now, we will rest and go again at Wembley. We believe!”
Lorenzo Insigne’s detractors - although his technical ability has never been in doubt - always demanded that he provide on the biggest stage. Well, he did so tonight with a stunning solo goal and a performance that earned him the Star of the Match award. “It was one of my most important goals. We’re in the semis because we suffered together - even those that didn’t play - and the coach is the one that has instilled this mentality. We’re having a great tournament and I am putting myself at the disposal of the team. I know I didn’t have my best game against Austria, but the important is that we showed, all together, that we can go a long way.” The thoughts of the Azzurri number 10 then went out to Leonardo Spinazzola, who was forced off with what looked like a serious injury: “I feel for him because if he hadn’t gone off, he’d have won the Star of the Match award. I went over to console him because I saw him in tears. I hope that he can recover because he’s a really important player for us.”