Where were we? Italy called to a titanic undertaking succeeded only by the great Spain

The gathering starts today in Coverciano: 27 players will be present at the first training session of Spalletti’s Italy

One thousand fifty-five days later, our national team meets in Coverciano to defend the title won at Wembley on 11 July 2021. Three years later, after the second consecutive World Cup in which we didn’t even take part, the mission of Italy was called upon to take on the most difficult task: to win again, to confirm itself at the top of European football. It will be very complicated, in 64 years only Spain has managed it at the highest point in its footballing history. Luciano Spalletti knows this and in the many interviews he has given in recent days he has never spoken of a tangible objective. “We want Italians to be proud of this national team.”

Of the 27 players who will show up in Coverciano tomorrow, only nine won the title three years ago. The Italian national team is profoundly renewed, a team that in the meantime has also changed technical commissioner. Bonucci and Chiellini are no longer in front of the defence, Donnarumma is our new captain three years after the European Championship which propelled him into the elite of world football. Barella and Chiesa are the new leaders, Gianluca Scamacca (19 goals in the season, but like Scalvini only available to the coach from next week) the center forward called to solve the atavistic goal problem. There is Jorginho at the last lap of waltz, there are Fagioli and Ricci who will taste the National A team and then become central in the Spalletti project starting from September.

The list of 30 pre-summoned players has not created who knows what controversy: Locatelli, Bonaventura and Politano were excluded from a group that only with the group can emerge in a European Championship that will see the great stars wear other shirts. The absence of Francesco Acerbi is decidedly more seriousdefender who raised the white flag on the eve of the rally due to groin pain.
In front of our captain we no longer have those experienced players who were our fortune three years ago: we have excellent players, but Bastoni, Scalvini, Calafiori or Buongiorno are all on their first big date with the blue shirt. The points of reference are mainly in the middle of the pitch, in that midfield which, net of Tonali’s absence (he will return in September), remains our best department.

Scamacca will be our center forward, Chiesa will hopefully be our Sinner, Spalletti will be the true champion. But to aim for the stars we will need to grow and we will need to do it quickly. Three years ago we arrived at the European Championship with a strong, consolidated team with great confidence. With a team that hadn’t lost in 27 games, for almost three years. Now the picture is very different: we suffered a lot against Ukraine in Leverkusen to find ourselves again in Germany, at Wembley last October we saw first-hand the difference between us and one of the favourites. But Wembley is also the stadium of the last great Italian fairy tale, it is there to remind us that everything is possible. Even when the top of the mountain to climb is not even visible.