The start of camp at Coverciano, Locatelli drops out too. Spalletti: “I’ll probably call more players up tomorrow”First session this afternoon ahead of the games against North Macedonia and Ukraine. The Juventus midfielder’s absence is added to those of Meret, Calabria and Toloi
Monday, November 13, 2023
The Italy Men’s National Team had the first session of camp this afternoon in preparation for their two upcoming European qualifying matches. A direct ticket for EURO 2024 is at stake and the Azzurri have destiny in their own hands: should they beat North Macedonia at the Olimpico, a draw with Ukraine next week would be enough, while a draw or defeat on Friday would mean that Italy would go to Leverkusen needing a win.
“Winning the first game will give us an advantage in the second, so we’ll focus on that team,” said Luciano Spalletti in his pre-match press conference at the start of this week’s camp. “There could be a few decisions to be made on the players given that we have two games so close together but in spite of that, I won’t play one line-up in one game and a different one in the second.” The principles and style of play remain the same: “Speaking to the players this morning, I said that the fundamentals are build-up and pressure. And then keeping the right spacing for our team block: we need to stay 30 metres apart to be able to help each other and build up play. Top teams don’t get dragged out of position, especially when their opponents are having their best spell. We got pulled apart in the second half against England but were great in the first.”
After Meret, Calabria and Toloi left the camp, Manuel Locatelli has also been forced to drop out. The staff will monitor the conditions of the other players over the next few hours: “Cambiaso has a swollen ankle, Cristante has a muscle problem, and Jorginho has had stitches in his head after his last game. We’ll probably call more players up tomorrow.”
Jorginho has received his first call-up since the Nations League finals in June. “I’m calling him up now for the first time because he didn’t play much in September and October. I spoke to him on the phone and he expressed his desire to come here and put on this shirt. He’s playing more regularly now, he seems to be in better form. He’s come back to be our regista, who conducts our play.” Another European champion, Ciro Immobile, will stay home this time: “We still view him as a really important player. I believe the other three strikers, who I have called up, to be in better shape right now, even though he did play well in the Champions League. He scored a great goal and I complimented him when I spoke to him.”
Buongiorno is also back in the squad for the first time since the Nations League, while Cambiaso and Colpani are the new faces at Coverciano. “I spoke to Buongiorno when I was in Turin. I didn’t bring him with us in October because he was injured. Cambiaso can give us a different look when we go forward. So we can build up with more 3 on 2 situations, which is always important in football.”
IN TUSCANY AND A VISIT TO BAMBINO GESU. It was inevitable that the discussion in the conference would turn to matters away from the field of play given the flooding in Tuscany just a few days ago. “That’s my land, my blood,” Spalletti said. “It’s tough to see so many normal families, people that already face so many hardships, tested even further. I want to thank the Federation for helping these people because it was something they did of their own accord; the day after, they were already there to lend a hand.” Space was also given to social topics. On Thursday afternoon, a visit to the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital will also be a chance to see Totti once more. “The event at the Bambino Gesù is something the Federation had already put together because they are very aware of things that require us to show our support. When I was at Roma, I had the chance to share some moments of happiness with these kids, so I am pleased that I have to go back now. Given that there was going to be a meeting with Totti, it was right to set it up because he has also always been very aware of these situations involving children in need. If we can get some guys involved that aren’t just my friends but his too, it will be great for both parties. I’m enjoying speaking with him again, to be able to phone him, because when I coached him, he was a source of inspiration for me. As a player, he showed me a lot of important things about passing lanes, about flair and invention. A lot of the things he showed me are still innovative; they have been really important in my career so far.”
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain), Ivan Provedel (Lazio), Guglielmo Vicario (Totthenam);
Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Inter), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Alessandro Buongiorno (Torino), Andrea Cambiaso (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Inter), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Federico Dimarco (Inter), Federico Gatti (Juventus);
Midfielders: Nicolò Barella (Inter), Giacomo Bonaventura (Fiorentina), Andrea Colpani (Monza), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Davide Frattesi (Inter), Jorginho (Arsenal);
Forwards: Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Moise Kean (Juventus), Matteo Politano (Napoli), Giacomo Raspadori (Napoli), Gianluca Scamacca (Atalanta), Nicolò Zaniolo (Aston Villa).
Primo giorno di raduno a Coverciano: la conferenza di Spalletti e l'allenamento degli Azzurri