More than 40,000 tickets issued for Italy-England. Mancini: "Qualifying for the Final Four would make us very happy"Tomorrow evening at the Stadio Meazza in Milan the Azzurri will play their penultimate Nations League group game. Before the match, there will be a moment of silence for the victims of the flooding that struck the Marche region, and the two teams will take to the pitch wearing black armbands.
Thursday, September 22, 2022
When the two teams step out onto the field, fans will still cast their minds back to the 'Magic Night' at Wembley, to the explosion of joy of an entire country after Donnarumma's save on the last penalty from Saka. Tomorrow evening at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan (20.45 CEST, live on Rai 1 - referee: the Spaniard Jesus Gil Manzano), the European title will not be up for grabs, but Italy and England will still be competing for three very precious points that will determine their future in the Nations League. A defeat would condemn the English to relegation to League B and would also be problematic for the Azzurri, who with a victory instead, would continue their pursuit of first place in the group which means qualification for the Final Four, a stage they reached a year ago. For Southgate's England it is a dress rehearsal in view of the World Cup, for Mancini's Italy it is an opportunity to rebuild confidence and self-esteem six months after the defeat against North Macedonia.
After their last training session at Coverciano, the Azzurri will arrive in Milan this afternoon. Before leaving for the Lombard capital, Roberto Mancini and Leonardo Bonucci met the Italian press at the Centro Tecnico Federale, and will conduct another press conference at 19.15 CEST at the Meazza in front of the English media. "There is enthusiasm ahead of such a great fixture which brings back fond memories. I think winning the European Championship after 50 years," said the coach, "was a monumental achievement. We are still in the Nations League group, going to the final phase would bring us joy because from mid-November to mid-December (during the World Cup, ed) we will have to suffer. Tomorrow we have a very tough match against one of the best teams in the world, full of talent. We will need that team spirit that has always been a distinguishing feature of our side. And then we will have to play well, keeping it simple is always the best thing." There is no lack of difficulties, starting with the ever-decreasing number of players who can be called up: "It is a difficult time, we are missing several important players, but now at the start of a new season they are physically better off than in June. The fact that we have few Italians playing in our league can be a problem, but we cannot keep coming back to this point."
Having said that Tonali will not play tomorrow and that he will probably also miss the match against Hungary ("he hasn't trained with us, and I don't think he will recover in time for the match in Budapest"). The coach does not indicate any tactical changes: "If changing the playing system would ensure victory, then we would always change it. I don't think it changes much, our national team has an identity that has brought us success for so long. The system must adapt to the type of players you have of course: when we built the team four years ago we had players who were very good technically but we had to avoid keeping them on the pitch for too long."
Having scored the equalising goal that took the final into extra-time and then to penalties, Leonardo Bonucci has sweet memories of England. And if he entered the history books at Wembley with the 'it's coming to Rome' that went viral, tomorrow he can officially join Daniele De Rossi and Giorgio Chiellini, from whom he inherited the captain's armband, in fourth place in the all-time list of appearances for the national team: "We must not forget the emotions we have experienced," the Juventus defender commented in the press conference, "I believe that this national team does not lack enthusiasm, even if it must be proved with victories. We need wins and the awareness to make us understand that the slip-up in failing to qualify for the World Cup belongs in the past. Winning these two matches would almost certainly allow us to take part in the Final Four”. The match against England represents a good yardstick in evaluating the state of form of the Azzurri: "Tomorrow's match is important in helping us to understand where we are on this new path. There is no better match than this one to build something special. We have to be wary of their individuals, especially in attack, where they have very talented players who can decide the match in a split second. I hope that the fans turning up tomorrow will help the team with motivation and the pride of being Italian."
TICKETS. Anticipation is growing for the Azzurri playing in Milan, which will host the national team for the 60th time tomorrow night, one year after the match against Spain in the Final Four of the Nations League. For the encounter with England, the initial release of 40,000 tickets issued has sold out, with fans able to continue to purchase tickets for the match at Vivaticket sales points and on the figc.vivaticket.it and vivaticket.com websites. As has already happened in the last few national team matches, the FIGC has confirmed the policy of popular prices (tickets starting from 10 Euros) and concessions reserved for families, young people and Over 65s (for all info click here).
MOMENT OF MOURNING. Before the start of the match, a moment of mourning will be observed for the victims of the flooding that has hit the Marche region in recent days, and the Azzurri will take to the field with black armbands. England will also play with armbands to remember Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on 8 September at the age of 96. In the tunnel, the teams will be accompanied by children being treated at the Maria Letizia Verga Centre for the study and treatment of childhood leukaemia run by the 'Fondazione Monza e Brianza per il Bambino e la sua Mamma'.
FAN MATCH. The match at the Meazza between Italy and England will be preceded by a fan match. The Italian and English supporters will face each other at 14.00 CEST tomorrow at the 'Centro Sportivo U.S. Triestina 1946' (via Alessandro Fleming 13, Milan).
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint Germain), Alex Meret (Napoli), Ivan Provedel (Lazio), Guglielmo Vicario (Empoli);
Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Inter), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Federico Dimarco (Inter), Emerson Palmieri (West Ham), Federico Gatti (Juventus), Luiz Felipe (Real Betis), Pasquale Mazzocchi (Salernitana), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta);
Midfielders: Nicolò Barella (Inter), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Salvatore Esposito (SPAL), Davide Frattesi (Sassuolo), Jorginho (Chelsea), Tommaso Pobega (AC Milan), Sandro Tonali (AC Milan);
Forwards: Matteo Cancellieri (Lazio), Manolo Gabbiadini (Sampdoria), Wilfried Gnonto (Leeds), Vincenzo Grifo (SC Freiburg), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Giacomo Raspadori (Napoli), Gianluca Scamacca (West Ham), Alessio Zerbin (Napoli).
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