Spalletti: “We can now celebrate”The Head Coach: “We now have more time to create a National side with further knowledge”. The Federal President: “Credit goes to Luciano. He has given this squad a gameplan and character”. Donnarumma and Frattesi in sync: “We go to Germany to win”
Monday, November 20, 2023
The Azzurri celebrated together with FIGC President Gabriele Gravina and Head Coach Luciano Spalletti, along with the thousands of fans present at the BayArena and millions of Italians that followed live on TV. 95 heartstopping minutes and then the final whistle by Spaniard Gil Manzano let out all the emotion. Italy are going to the Euros, where they will defend their title.
“This qualification," said Gravina,"is a promise kept to all Italians. We had taken the responsibility to heal some sporting wounds received in recent times. But with Spalletti, the spirit has changed; the enthusiasm and desire to be a special team is back. Credit goes to Luciano, who with happiness and calmness has given this squad character and a gameplan. We saw, tonight, a team that dominated, took control of the game, regardless of the final few minutes where we had to dig deep and defend. We are going to Germany; we had to get there, and risked not going, but we are thanks to Spalletti and the boys".
After Roberto Mancini's resignation in August, the FIGC President decided that Luciano Spalletti was the right man to lead the National side. And the head coach has reached his first objective, taking Italy to qualification thanks to three wins, two draws and just one defeat: “It's not easy and nothing is taken for granted in football," said the head coach. "We played well, and created many chances in the first half to kill the game off. But when you fail to do that then the game becomes scrappy. They showed they had the tools and gave us a rough time”.
At the final whistle, hugs with the players, President Gravina and all the staff: “We all wanted this result and so we came together to give ourselves a pat on the back. It's a big result for football in Italy, that's why the game had so much tension. We've done what we had to do and it's normal that you have to dig in and fight it out in the last 15 minutes. Due to the recent past, we knew we had to qualify; when you have that kind of pressure on you it isn't easy at all. But now, the best is to come. We'll get the chance to enjoy ourselves, having more time to create a National team with further knowledge.” Spalletti then explained his selections: “I started off with Raspadori because with him in the team the side link up better as a collective. Then at half-time, I put on Scamacca because we had got into their box a fair few times and we needed somone who is also a strong header. Buongiorno showed he is an outstanding defender; it's games like these where you see if someone is afraid or if they can become a great player."
Irresistable against North Macedonia, and uncontainable again in Leverkusen. After his brace at the Olimpico, Federico Chiesa was just missing a goal this evening, but he showed once again his importance to this National side: “I'm over the moon. It almost seemed impossible at the start of September; everyone was against us, but we've done it. I must say well done to Ukraine because they played really well. But we matched them; we had two good chances in the first half that would've given them a mountain to climb, but we got the draw we wanted and we're through in the end”. There was also a special mention to the Italian public: “It was important for us, for the fans who love the National team and for the whole Italian football world. I experienced losing out to North Macedonia in the World Cup playoff; I suffered from it as a fan, and now as a fan I can say that it is an immense joy to go and play in a European Championships as reigning champions”.
Also Gianluigi Donnarumma was overjoyed. The Azzurri captain made two massive saves from Sudakov and Mudryk: “We are delighted, we are where we deserve to be, with all the difficulties we've had to contend with. We will go to Germany to win, also because we go there as defending champions”. There was also thanks to those who supported the team at the BayArena: “They gave us a huge helping hand. It was a beautiful feeling; we are all together and the strength of the group and Italy was seen. We are happy; we are there, too".
After grabbing a brace against Ukraine in September, Davide Frattesi tried to repeat the feat. But this time, he found Trubin in his way, but he celebrated nonetheless: “I thought about putting it under him, but after watching the Benfica game back I realised that he likes to stay big, so I tried to put under his legs." There was a thought already on the Euros: “We are Italy, reigning champions, so we will go there with our best intentions to try and repeat that fantastic achievement last time round".