Rossi: “I’ll explain why there are more and more Italian coaches. We’re aiming for the round of 16”

TMW exclusive

Marco Rossi is one of the five Italian coaches present at Euro 2024 together with Spalletti, Calzona, Montella and Tedesco. He has led Hungary since 20 June 2018

Marco Rossi, who are the favorites to win the European Championship?
“France, England, Germany and Italy, but I would also include Spain. However, if I have to indicate just one name, I would say Germany: due to the strength of the team, the environment and the situation that will be created”

You will challenge them again in the group stage, after almost eliminating them three years ago
“And in the meantime we faced them in the Nations League and we will challenge them again after the European Championship: six times in two years. In the last three matches we have never lost: one win and two draws. We hope to carry on this positive tradition, even though we know that what awaits us on June 19th will be a completely different game.”

Three years ago you were in the iron group and you almost reached the next round. Now the group is simpler on paper and four out of six third-placed teams pass
“I would be hypocritical if I said that qualifying for the round of 16 is not our objective. I would be lying. Each of us wants to get through the group, but it won’t be easy. We all know Germany and Switzerland, but Scotland can also be a very tough opponent for us. difficult for his physicality, for the aggression he shows on the pitch.”

The debut against Switzerland
“A thorn in everyone’s side, a national team that always tops its qualifying group. They never fail in these big events.”

He challenged Mancini’s Italy twice. How did it change with Spalletti?
“In some singles, in different individuals, but the type of work seems similar to that carried out by Mancini. We must not snub that work: in the previous European Championship Italy offered very good level matches, they won it in a deserved manner even if they were lucky in some matches, they saw a very good national team, then it’s clear that even the episodes must help you and in that competition they turned in Italy’s favour, but afterwards, exactly the opposite happened.”

As per tradition, almost the entire blue group comes from Serie A
“It is among the best championships with the Premier League and the Bundesliga. Then many things can be said but the UEFA Ranking speaks clearly and if next year we can have such a large representation of teams in Europe it is because we have produced excellent results.”

Has the gap with England, Germany and France worsened in recent years?
“In terms of individuality, France has a few more names, England the same. But the same argument could have been made three years ago when Italy won. It is clear that this is an aspect that a coach must take into consideration, we need to be reasonable about the objectives to be achieved: if Italy and France both play to the best of their ability, France wins, Italy has the tools to not let their opponents play to their maximum and can in turn give more than their best to win. The key is to have self-confidence without falling into presumption. Everything is played out there, it’s a very subtle difference.”

The European Championship will start with 5 Italian coaches out of 32
“We Italians have a couple of characteristics that distinguish us: first of all an almost obsessive attention to the defensive phase and the ability to know how to train it, not everyone is capable of doing so. Then great adaptability and little rigidity, we are open to new influences and new innovations. Look at Ancelotti: he uses very modern macro-principles and micro-principles, he has nothing to envy of younger coaches. Spalletti is another one who is an understatement, Pioli is the same thing. We are talking about people who are over 60 or close to 60 but it is very modern, coaches who from year to year manage to write a new page in their football, to evolve.”

What are the principles of your Hungary?
“We try to put the player and his role at the center of the project. We start from a three-man defense which can often become four, rarely five. We don’t disdain construction from the bottom, but a different interpretation is also possible. In my way to understand the game of football we must be flexible and unpredictable, certainly not fundamentalists. It is a team that knows how to stay on the pitch with the right distances and the right balance, then football is a game of duels and those are definitely not always won we play to get to the result: I prefer a bad victory to a good defeat and I don’t think anyone who says otherwise is being completely honest with themselves.”

Can you tell me the names of three stars of this European Championship?
“The Germans have Wirtz who is impressive. Then I say Musiala, Bellingham and Mbappé.”

What could be the surprise of this European Championship?
“Vincenzo Montella’s Turkey”.

Will Hungary be satisfied at the end of the competition?
“If he gets through the group. Then in the round of 16 we’ll see who gets us…”

It’s Italy?
“If he reaches the semi-final. Even if, as an Italian, I can already imagine great controversy if he then loses that semi-final.”