Spalletti: “Mancini will play tomorrow. Lineup? Only one doubt, Scamacca or Retegui”

Live TMW

6.00pm – It’s the eve of Switzerland-Italythe first of the round of 16 matches of Euro 2024 that will be played tomorrow at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. From the press room of the stadium that will also host the final Luciano Spalletti in a few minutes he will present the match against the Swiss.

6.55pm – The press conference begins: “I’m in contact with many of my former players and Kvara is one of them, we exchanged congratulations for passing through. Now he’s at a top level and can play against any opponent and in any team. Young people to play? There are many kids who push to reach a high level and we must have the courage to let them play. It’s a slightly different type of football, it’s less about individual striving, but it’s still the best solution to create very high quality football.”

How does it feel for the national team to return to a stadium where the 2006 World Cup was won?
“Aside from the fact that everyone remembers that moment, we had Buffon on the bus who spoke about that final to everyone and made us relive that emotion that we experienced from home at that time. We also have this comparison to honor, we must be at the level of this match that the players brought home. Did you know that there are Italy fans in Brazil too? It’s a bigger responsibility to know that we have fans all over the world, even in Brazil. Even though we were in the minority inside the stadium against Albania and Croatia, we knew we had all the fans and all our audience in front of the televisions. This affection is still felt, even if they are not present”.

This is the match that marks the border between a good European Championship or not?
“I don’t know, in my opinion, to make this clear we need to do something better than what we’ve done so far. We had this qualification that was very much felt, it was a difficult draw and the players suffered a bit, as I probably did too. Now I expect to see them more relaxed, also because the consideration goes straight to the direct clash. You can’t go and reason, do calculations, make those evaluations that sometimes condition your performance, you have to act. We go to the next round if we win this match…”

Who are the penalty takers of this national team?
“The penalty taker is the one who manages to manage the emotion well at that moment when it happens. We’ve made everyone take penalties, but it’s not an ideal solution if we think about it already… If you try too many penalties, I don’t know if they all fight well. These days the penalties have all gone in, they all seemed to be penalty takers. Then maybe you play the game and you already see something different. It will be important to have a fundamental depth of personality, we will do everything we can to try to win the match and we know that we have a very uncomfortable customer in front of us. The results say it: there were teams that passed the round very well, even if they were not accredited, and this says a lot about the difficulty of playing any match”.

We expect a very flexible eleven. What kind of race do you expect?
“It’s always the same thing. We haven’t yet been able to express the level we can express: in some moments yes, but then we haven’t been able to maintain it over time. This qualification came at the last second, which however in my opinion is deserved, it must still make us think that we cannot afford those drops in tension as we had at the beginning of the second half, at certain moments of the matches, the fact of now being in the heart of the competition because you have qualified gives you that level you always have to perform because there is no alternative. Psychologically and personally, I expect a little more than what we have managed to show so far.”

Could these precedents between Switzerland and Italy which led to the elimination of your national team at the World Cup be a reason for revenge for you?
“We go and get all the ideas that can determine a bit of reaction, a bit of stimuli. Then the stadium, the memory of that final and Buffon telling us two thousand things. We want to determine everything as best as possible for our people, for our fans. It’s clear that we have to see in the real match whether all these things are understood or not. We are there on purpose, we listen to as many things as possible from our players and we try to give them as many stimuli as possible because by adding things day after day the click can happen when you least expect it. Tomorrow’s match will be the next step, we’ll see if this will be the moment to gather all this seriousness and all this commitment that we have made available”.

What do you think of Switzerland and its footballers?
“Yakin is very good, Switzerland is a team that is good on the pitch and showed its qualities against Germany. From what we have seen and from what we know first-hand, we know that he has quality and strength. Xhaka is an important player at an international level. But these are all things that are part of the level and the football that we can show off.”

Have you found the one who says things outside?
“I don’t know, I haven’t found it. Maybe you can give me a hand…”

Could Scamacca’s exploit happen tomorrow?
“He can score a goal at any time, he has that quality and that flair, those flashes that tear you apart. He finds it more difficult to be connected in his behavior with the team. Joking with him I called him lazy, then he left we talked about it again and he was very amused by this… But then in order to be able to continuously show off his qualities he needs to always be within the team and he struggles a little more with this. He must always remain connected and in the right conditions to receive. Because then he does the meters, when you look at the satellites he brings his work home, but not always in the right way and this penalizes him a little. But then he has a flair and a strength… he has a shot that I struggle to find another one so good among those I’ve trained. Sometimes if I’m behind the goal when he kicks it’s difficult to get away. Will he play tomorrow? That’s the only doubt I have Other evaluations need to be made, but there won’t be anyone left out between Scamacca and Retegui, they both provide great solutions and we just need to understand who to play first and who to play after.”

How is the situation in defense? Who will replace Calafiori?
“Bastoni needs to be seen tomorrow, Dimarco won’t be there. Bastoni got some fever back, we fixed him up and today he was much better. We’ll have to see what response will come tonight. Mancini plays in Calafiori’s place, he has that experience correct and in this case here I want to play with a right-footed player on the right and a left-footed player on the left.

7.30pm – Press conference concluded.