“Scamacca-Retegui doubt” and “They thought we were doomed”. Reread Spalletti and Donnarumma

Luciano Spalletti spoke at a press conference on the eve of Switzerland-Italy, a match valid for the round of 16 of Euro 2024. Reread the full version.

The press conference begins: “I am in contact with many of my former players and Kvara is one of them, we exchanged compliments for the passage of the round. Now he is at a top level and can play against any opponent and in any team. Young people to play? There are many young people who push to reach high levels and we have to have the courage to let them play. It’s a slightly different kind of football, it’s less about individual effort, but it’s still the best solution to create top-quality football”.

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

Is this the match that marks the difference between a good European Championship or not?
“I don’t know, in my opinion we have to do something better to make this clear than what we’ve done so far. We had this qualification that was very noticeable, it had been a difficult draw and the players suffered it a bit, as probably the ‘I suffered too. Now I expect to see them more relaxed, also because the consideration immediately goes to direct confrontation, 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 is able to manage the emotion well when it happens. We let everyone take penalties, but it’s not an ideal solution if we already think about it… If you try too many penalties, if you take them all well, I don’t know. In these days here, everyone has been taking penalties, they all seemed like penalty takers. Then maybe you play a little game and you already see something different. It will be important to have a fundamental depth of personality, we will do everything to try to win the match and we know that we have a very uncomfortable client in front of us. The results say it: there were teams that got through the round very well, even if they weren’t accredited, and this says a lot about the difficulty of playing any match”.

We expect a very versatile eleven. How do you expect the match to unfold?
“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 take all the ideas that can determine a bit of reaction, a bit of stimulation. Then the stadium, the memory of that final and Buffon who tells us two thousand things. We are keen to determine everything as best as possible for the our people, for our fans. It is clear that we need 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 try to give them as much stimulation it’s possible because by adding things day after day it can click when you least expect it. Tomorrow’s race 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 there be Scamacca’s exploit tomorrow?
“He can score at any time, he has that quality and that flair, those flashes that tear you apart. He has a harder time being connected in his behavior with the team. Joking with him I had called him lazy, then we talked about it again and he was very amused by this thing… But then to be able to continuously show off his qualities he needs to always be within the team and in this he has a bit more difficulty. He must always remain connected and in a position to receive. Because then he makes the meters, when you look at the satellites he brings home his work, but not always in the right way and this penalizes him a bit. But then he has a flair and a strength… he has a shot that I struggle to find another as good among those I have trained. Sometimes if I am behind the goal when he shoots it is difficult to move out of the way. Are you playing tomorrow? It’s worth seeing, that’s the only doubt I have. But then there are other evaluations to be made, but there won’t be anyone left out between Scamacca and Retegui, they both provide great solutions and it’s just a matter of understanding who to play first and who to play after.”

How is the situation in defense? Who will replace Calafiori?
“We’ll have to see Bastoni tomorrow, Dimarco won’t be there. Bastoni had a bit of a fever again, we fixed him and he was much better today. We’ll have to see what response he’ll get tonight. Mancini will play in place of Calafiori, he has the right amount of experience and in this case I want to play with a right-footer on the right and a left-footer on the left. I prefer it that way.”

Gianluigi Donnarumma spoke at a press conference on the eve of Switzerland-Italy, a match valid for the round of 16 of Euro 2024. Reread the full version.

The press conference begins: “I know Sommer well, I often hear from his trainer Spinelli and he really had an excellent season. But are you stronger? I don’t know, I don’t like making comparisons. I’m very happy with what Sommer has done so far but I hope he does much less tomorrow.”

How different is this matchday from the one against Austria three years ago? What do you think of the back four?
“It will be a completely different game, we definitely have to smooth out some situations that we did badly in the group. Tomorrow will be a do-or-die game, tomorrow we will have to manage the ball in a different way and we trained very well. We know the importance of the game and we will definitely be ready. The formation can then be changed, even during the game, but the important thing is to dominate the game and have a team willing to not concede goals. We definitely have to improve on this aspect”.

Is Italy on the rise after the match against Spain?
“Of course, it was a difficult group, a group in which many people thought we were doomed, it was the group of death. We played against very strong teams and against Spain we deserved to lose based on what we saw. With the Croatia we did well to stay in the game and this rewarded us, we deserved the equalizer which then brought us here. Tomorrow’s game will be an inside or outside game, completely different, we have to give away as little as possible and control the game We have to be careful, they’re just waiting to get the ball back to start again. But I’m sure the team will be ready.”

Have you prepared for the penalties?
“To increase the confidence of my teammates during training I made them score them… (laughs, ed.). We trained, we also have to take that into account and we tried everything, we will continue to study situations with the goalkeeping coach and I’m sure we’ll do well.”

In the matches against Switzerland which did not allow us to go to the World Cup, they guessed the approach: isn’t there a risk of exposing ourselves?
“It’s a team that comes to press, wants to steal the ball quickly and then verticalize. It’s a very physical team, which holds the field well. We need to try some situations, a play. We have to be good at understanding when to play and when not , we must give him as little confidence as possible and bring the inertia of the match to our side.”

TMW – Three years ago you were the big surprise of the European Championship and the best player. Three years later, you are again the best goalkeeper in this competition: what emotion do you feel? How have you changed in these three years?
“I have certainly changed, now I feel more responsible, I feel like a completely different man. I have grown a lot as a man, by playing abroad you grow above all in that. Even here now I am one of the greatest, I feel much more responsible and I wear the captain’s armband. It’s an emotion that can’t be explained, representing a nation is indescribable. There’s a lot more responsibility and I’m happy: I’ve dreamed of playing these matches since I was a child and so it will be completely different.”