Nazionale A

Mancini: “Shame to finish like that.” Scalvini: “I had imagined my debut being different”

The Italy boss drew level with Sacchi on 53 games in charge of the Azzurri: “This defeat doesn’t diminish anything”. Gnonto: “Goal wasn’t important”. Donnarumma: “There can be no excuses, we need to show that this is not us”. Barella: “We were better in the first game, we were made to pay against a good team tonight”

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Mancini:  “Shame to finish like that.” Scalvini: “I had imagined my debut being different”

A tough defeat at the start and a big loss to finish. In between those were two draws, one win, and the beginning of a necessary rebuild after missing out on World Cup qualification. This new era, which began after the Finalissima against Argentina, suffered its first setback and Roberto Mancini didn’t shy away from that fact: “It’s a shame to finish like that. They’re a good team and we knew that,” said the Italy boss, who drew level with Sacchi on 53 games in charge of the Azzurri. “We gave them too much in the first half and let them play. It’s a shame to end like that; we made some errors and defended poorly. You can then leave yourself too open to the counter as you try to get yourself back into the game and against players like this, you risk a lot.”

As promised, Giorgio Scalvini, Luiz Felipe and Gianluca Caprari were handed debuts tonight, taking the number of debutants in the Mancini era to 50, twelve of whom have made their first appearances in the last two weeks. “This week doesn’t diminish anything; it’s a process in which we’ll do some good things and some bad things. This is a good group and we’ll play two more games in September. They were better than us today and deserved to win.”

Gianluigi Donnarumma stepped up as a real captain. The Azzurri shot-stopper alternated good saves with a poor error for Werner’s second goal: “We’re angry, there can be no excuses. We need to take it on the chin, go again and show that this isn’t us. We lacked everything tonight, maybe due to a bit of fatigue. It’s a shame for the fans; it’s not good. We all made mistakes tonight but you learn from mistakes.”

Among the very few positives tonight was a first international goal for Willy Gnonto, who became Italy’s youngest-ever goalscorer tonight at just 18 years, seven months and nine days. He beat the record set by Bruno Nicolé, who scored a brace on his debut against France before retiring young at the age of just 27 years following a career, in which he didn’t hit the heights expected of him. The hope is that Gnonto has more fortune: “My goal wasn’t important,” the Zurich forward said. “After a defeat like that, it doesn’t matter whether it was me that scored or a teammate. It was a tough game. They showed that they are a superior team to us. It was a different game than the reverse fixture; they moved the ball around and ran for a lot without achieving much. We have a lot to work on.”

Eight months after making his Serie A debut, Giorgio Scalcini tonight won his first international cap another big step for the young Atalanta starlet: “I had imagined my debut being different but I will always remember this day. The boss spoke to me about possibly making my first appearance and I tried to keep my calm and just make sure I was ready.” Mancini sent him on in place of Frattesi and he looked good in midfield. “I am more of a centre-back, in a back three for Atalanta, but I am also fine playing in midfield” he confessed, also announcing that he will join Gnonto in going to the U19 EURO finals in Slovakia on Thursday.

Nicolò Barella also recognised that Germany were the better team: “Apologies to the fans who were there in the stadium. We played well in the first game but we were made to pay by a strong team tonight. As Mancini said, throughout this process, it will be the case that there are highs and lows.”