Test time for Italy. Tonight against Albania

He’s 58 years old, slightly less blue benches: 56. A lot, anyway. Roberto Mancini is about to cross a very important milestone in the blue collective imagination: he matches Marcello Lippi, 2006 world champion, and Cesare Prandelli (2012 European runner-up) in the number of matches spent at the helm of the Italian national team.
It is true that, as he himself admits, it will be hard to work side by side with a sacred monster like Vittorio Pozzo, or Enzo Bearzot, but already “it’s nice to join Lippi and Prandelli”. “We hope to extend the streak”, says ‘Mancio’ who, on the eve of the friendly match in Tirana against Albania, and a few days before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, reiterates that this “will be a difficult month”. After all, “we already knew it”. “We feel great bitterness not being in Qatar – his words full of regret -, I’ve been thinking about it since March”.

“The one against North Macedonia was an absurd match, as can happen every 100 years. Unfortunately it happened to us – sighed Mancini -. This is football too and, after a great satisfaction, a great disappointment arrived. We can no longer do anything. A World Cup without Italy is different, we have to work and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
As for tomorrow’s and Sunday’s tests (against Austria), “they’ll be important to try out some new players,” he said, referring to the various young players called up. First of all the talented Simone Pafundi from Udinese. “We’ve been following him for several years – he confesses -, already from the minor national teams and we’ve seen that he has great qualities. We think he could be a great player for the future: he’s young, I called him in June for an internship. Zaniolo also came We were very young, nobody knew him but, three months later, he was another player.”

On Federico Chiesa’s return to the Azzurri, the coach admits that “it’s a pleasure. Now, however, he must find his fitness again”.
Returning to the friendly match in Albania, Mancini explains that he is in Tirana “to play a good match”. “We know – he adds – that our opponents are not so weak. The Albanians are all good, otherwise some of them would not play in Serie A”.

Edy Reja, coach of Albania, also spoke about Italy’s exclusion from the World Cup. “The Azzurri’s failure to qualify in Qatar disappointed everyone – the words of the Friulian coach – I’m very sorry. Luckily Mancini has decided to stay in his position; with him on the bench the project will continue, I am convinced he will do very well. interesting young people.
He’s working for the future and I hope he can achieve other goals, because he deserves it”. “Who will I be rooting for tomorrow? When Italy doesn’t play against Albania, I always support the Azzurri. But tomorrow I won’t support Italy, it would go against my interests. If a 3-3 or a 4-4 comes out it would be wonderful. Tomorrow evening, when I hear the two hymns, I will certainly be moved”, adds the expert Reja. (ANSA).

Test time for Italy. Tonight against Albania – Sport