The coach of Paris Saint-Germain, Mauricio Pochettino, has revealed a background that dates back to the playoff playoffs of the Azzurri condemned by the goal scored by Trajkovski.
Marco Verratti’s desperation at the end of the playoff against Macedonia.
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Biggest regret. A wound that will take time to heal. Sunday begins the month that the coach of the national team, Robert Mancini, he told as a torment, something that will hardly pass. Just take a small step back a few days to gather the coach’s regret for those World Cups in Qatar “in which Italy deserved to participate”for that match against Macedonia which “absurd, it happens once in a hundred years”, for the humiliation of seeing the qualification in an all in all affordable group swept away and, moreover, as reigning European champions. A thud and a very heavy beating, on a sporting and human level.
The draw with Bulgaria or if only one of the two missed penalty kicks against Switzerland (between two legs in the group) come to mind as sudden flashes. There was even a moment, a glow in the dark, where the hope of entering the back door of the repechage it got loose. In desperate conditions one clings to everything but it was only an illusion that quickly vanished. Qualifying for the Nations League Final Four is a sugar that “doesn’t fix the mouth” (as they say in the jargon), it doesn’t wash away the bitterness. Indeed, it leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Donnarumma disconsolate. The Azzurri goalkeeper sitting in the background: Trajkovski’s goal hit and sank the Azzurri.
Bewitched. Fatal. A twist of fate. The nemesis for a victory (that England) fruit of chance, judging by the subsequent inability to confirm. Everything enters the accessory kit of remorse related to the playoff match with North Macedonia which in the Ranking was in 65th place and seemed within reach at least to earn the final and then play it all against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
Trajkovski’s goal came down like a sentence and threw an entire team into despair. The Italy that had shown a cool head, a warm heart, legs of steel in the final of the European Championships had dissolved, had remained entangled in that match which on paper (also taking advantage of the field factor) seemed within reach. It ended very badly, with the uncertainty of Donnarumma (poorly positioned on long shot) which seemed to be the fulfillment of a sad omen. The luck that had helped the national team was now collecting the bill with interest.
What happened that day? How did the Azzurri experience that situation? Were they actually mentally prepared to bear even that psychological strain? A passage from Mauricio Pochettino’s interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport is revealing in this regard. At the time he was coach of Paris Saint-Germain and touched the conditions two key players in Mancini’s Italy: Gigio and midfielder Verratti.
The technical commissioner, Roberto Mancini, defined the failure to qualify for the World Cup as an open wound.
When asked about the absence of the national team in Qatar, he replies by offering a background of those moments, of that traumatic experience. “I experienced it firsthand – admitted the former French coach -. Before playing the match against Macedonia Verratti and Donnarumma were terrified”.
It wasn’t real fear but pressure such as to block you, debase your qualities, add ballast to your potential, get you into trouble. The coup de grace was inflicted by the goal of the former Palermo striker. “Evidently they felt the great tension that reigned around the national team, in the country”.
The last goal scored in the World Cup dates back to 2014, Balotelli scored against England: that 2-1 was misleading, the defeats against Costa Rica and Uruguay canceled Italy from the World Cup in Brazil. After 3081 days of that network he is still out of it.
The World Cup is an open wound for Italy: “They were terrified against Macedonia”