To the chagrin of the Italian press, for the second time in a row, the Squadra Azzurra will not participate in a football World Cup. Between pain, anger and resignation, this 1-0 defeat against North Macedonia in a play-off match on Thursday March 24 sounds like a “farewell to a Nazionale lost forever”, for La Repubblicathe leading center-left Milanese daily.
Quadruple world champion (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006) and reigning European champion, Italy will not go to Qatar. In the eyes of La Stampait was a “disastrous performance” . The players of Roberto Mancini, the coach, framed only five shots out of thirty-two while the Macedonians materialized one of their four chances. In the second minute of extra time, Macedonian striker Aleksandar Trajkovski, a former player from Palermo, the host city of the match, scored the winning goal. “Nooooooooo! »cries the “one” of the sports daily Tuttosport.
“The consequence of years of free fall”
No wonder, if you believe The Gazzetta dello Sport : “The European Championship that we won (in 2020) was a happy parenthesis between years of disappointment in the national team and in the clubs., at half mast sportingly and economically. Same story at Il Messaggero, the defeat “is not a surprise, but the consequence of years of free fall”. The Roman daily supports as follows:
“We haven’t won as a club in European competitions since 2010, such a long drought unprecedented in the history of European cups. (…) Over the past fifteen years, Serie A has collapsed. The fall of Juve after the “calciopoli” affair [scandale d’arbitrage en 2006] then the disengagements of Berlusconi and Moratti with the Milanese weakened the great historic clubs and undermined the balance, weakening the entire championship. »
A change seems necessary
For the big Milanese sports newspaper, the elimination of Italy announces “a change of generation” and an “refoundation”. Indeed, according to The Gazzetta dello Sport, “our football is paying a huge price: it still lacks vision and courage (…). Prosecuting Roberto Mancini would be a mistake, the whole system needs to be reviewed”, analyzes the sports daily. The coach’s contract was extended until 2026 last year, and he seems protected by his victory at the Euro.
However, “the hour of responsibility” came, ton Il Corriere dello Sport. Despite the absences within the team (attacker Federico Chiesa, in particular, who was injured), the director of the Roman sports daily, Ivan Zazzaroni, a close friend of the Italian coach, does not find any extenuating circumstances: “Mancini was the architect of the European triumph, Mancini is primarily responsible for this failure. »
In a statement, Serie A boss Lorenzo Casini called for “serious reflection and a profound system change”.