Italy needs “vertical passion”: the heart of Morocco and Argentina’s continuous search for depth
The desert that opens up just beyond the spectacular skyscrapers of Doha is a handful of sand compared to what we have crossed in these four years, crawling on our elbows like legionaries left with empty water bottles. Four years without the shadow of a World Cup. We found a happy oasis, Euro ’21, quenched our thirst and then crawled on the sand again. It was hard. Two World Cups watching the others play, clinging to the mirage of improbable repechage. It was also tough here in Doha, with colleagues who glanced at our pass, saw that we were Italian and smiled. Stuff to answer him to Messi: “Que miras, bobo?”.
It was also tough because the suspicion that we could have gone a long way in Qatar surfaced several times during the tournament. When, for example, are ambitious national releases such as Germany, Belgium and Spain. When Portugal, the bogeyman of a play-off never reached, sank with the mess CR7. Do we want to talk about the Swiss Sommer who also parried flies with us and caught 6 of them in one go? Presumptuous Brazil also eliminated. Where could we get? At least where did Morocco get to? Let’s not think about it anymore. Today, with the Argentina-France final, the World Cup and, by extension, our desert as well.
Passion and heart
Starting tomorrow we start thinking about the World Cup to come, the one in 2026, and we can (we must!) be there too. Let us leave regrets and remorse behind us and ask ourselves if anything this World Cup that we have not played can in some way help us reach the next one. What have we learned? That passion takes you far, that the heart must always burn with motivation. Absolutely acquiring Morocco’s matches in Coverciano, counting all the balls recovered by Amrabat with the force of desperation, observing how intensely he and his teammates played against Spain from the first to the last minute. If only the Azzurri had “wanted” a tenth of what the Moroccans “wanted”, we would never have gotten bogged down in that round of butter. Belfast’s 0-0 without almost shooting on goal remains in the memory as a hymn to indolence.
Coming out of the desert, we try to resemble, as far as possible, Argentina that has reached the end, driven by ferocious motivations. And let’s hope we can soon find a young and talented striker with an easy goal, like Julian Alvarez. If we find him, let’s make room for him with the courage of Scaloni. Meanwhile let’s study how he plays: attacking the depths and filling the spaces with a childish joy. We have guys who know how to do it too: Zaniolo and Chiesa, for example, who will have to be our jewels at the next World Cup. However, guys, observe how Alvarez toils even without the ball, how he presses even the shadows. Okay? Anyway, vertical thinking. Spain’s slow and sad dribble, which didn’t even tickle with closed defenses, seemed as old as a Commodore 64, compared to the counterattacks by Hakimi and Mazraoui, but also to the well-organized pressure from Saudi and Canada and the mass attacks by the Japanese .
Van Gaal, also not
Probably, even our double play has had its day. Let’s also keep close to our defensive tradition, because in Qatar those who have been able to defend themselves well have continued. Morocco, before meeting France, had conceded only one goal, from an own goal, in five games. Let’s dust off our bolt manuals, but let’s not stop there, let’s not listen to the holy man Van Gaal who heralds the era of defensivism. As soon as he dismantled the dam of the three centre-backs and inserted two strikers, he put two goals back against Argentina. Let’s keep our offensive vocation, one of the many beautiful lessons taught by Mancio. Argentina and France reached the final thanks to two pairs of 9 goals in 6 games: Messi-Mbappè (5), Alvarez-Giroud (4). Let’s get back on our feet, our desert ends today.
December 18 – 00:11
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