how did Italy and Portugal get closer to falling out?

DECRYPTION – Italy and Portugal, the last two winners of the Euro, are in danger of qualifying for the World Cup 2022. Their cases are similar, but not identical.

Fernando Santos hopes on Thursdaybring great joy to 11 million Portuguesewho inhabit the country. Seleção will play a playoff match at the World Cup 2022 at home against Turkey. At the same time (20:45), Italy will host Northern Macedonia. The winners of these two matches will compete for sesame, a ticket to Qatar at the end of the year. How did these two nations, among the top 8 in the FIFA rankings, face the wall?

Qualification: Italy frustrated, Portugal punished

Italy completed the World Cup qualification without losing. The problem is that she won the first 3 matches, while out of the next 5 she collected 4 draws. Guillaume Maillard-Pacini, journalist and specialist in Italian football Eurosport a RTLhe wavednew conditionEuropean 2020 champion, we will return to that. This state “committed to the domestic part of the qualificationHe notes.

«Then it doesn’t matter, esteemed a follower of the National. If Jorginho scores one of his two penalties against Switzerland in the first match (0: 0), resp on return (1-1) perhaps the qualification would be distorted.“In September, this draw was also against Bulgaria (1: 1). Italy scored 27 shots, including 8 on goal, but Bulgarian goalkeeper Georgi Georgiev, “made a game of his career», Summarizes MP Guillaume. The Azzurri end in a sad draw in Northern Ireland (0-0) and are in first place in the C-group behind Switzerland by two points.

Italy burst at the finish line. Like Portugal, which two days before the end had a lead of 3 points over Serbia. As Seleção failed to control Ireland (0: 0), they collapsed at the end of the match in Lisbon on November 14 against the Serbs (1: 2). At 90e after a minute, Aleksandar Mitrovič scored the head.that we felt that way“, Recalls Nicolas Vilas, a journalist RMC Sport and a Portuguese football expert. Gossip recalls the goal wrongly refused to Cristian Ronald in the overtime for Serbia and Portugal a year ago (2: 2), when the ball crossed the goal line. However, this would ignore the root of the problem. “The real problem», Supports Nicolas Vilas.

Game: Seleção indigestible, Squadra looking for a shooter

«Portugal is a plethora of great players, but it doesn’t play like a great team, brush journalist of Portuguese origin. There is annoyance, a certain unanimity to say that 2-3 years deteriorates the quality of the game of choice, or at least no improvement.“In the last two annual Ballon d’Or evaluations, 5 Portuguese (Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva, João Félix, Bruno Fernandes and Ruben Dias) appeared in the top 30.

Defensive style coach Fernando Santos is the center of criticism in the Algarve. Reluctant, because he is the man who brought the first trophy in history to Portugal with Euro 2016. “Is there always a balance between recognition and respect for the work done and the fact that I will say this choice does not need a new look?»Details Nicolas Vilas. Portugal has not missed a big tournament since the 1998 World Cup. If it does not overcome the Turkish obstacle, Santos’s future will probably be sealed.

In Italy, we don’t have a player like Mbappé, a real crack.

Guillaume Maillard-Pacini, journalist and Italian football specialist for Eurosport and RTL

On the other hand, the Alps are also an offensive aspect that forces you. It is not so much about building events, but about completing them. “We have had a problem scoring goals in Italy for a very long time“Acknowledges Guillaume Maillard-Pacini, who evokes”national debateand Ciro Immobile. The Lazia striker, the winner of the European Golden Football Championship in 2020, is “less confident“And feel”more pressureas soon as he wears a blue jersey. He scored twice for Eure in the group stage until he disappeared. Wounded against Spain in the League of Nations on October 6, he saw his people develop with the winger Federico Bernadeschi at the fake number 9.

«In Italy, we don’t have a player like Mbappé, a real crack“Regrets Guillaume Maillard-Pacini.” Especially from Federico Chiesu, “probably the best Italian in euros“He is injured for a long time. It is a frustration that is accumulating after the European Championship, where Boot is considered Italy,one of the most beautiful tournament games, offensive and solid group».

SEE ALSO – When Cristiano Ronaldo “heals” in training with Portugal

New condition for digestion

Getting to the top is one thing. Staying there is different. Italy, like Greece in 2004 and Denmark in 1992, could have missed the World Cup right after winning the Euro. “The pressure will paradoxically be greater than for the euro, shows Guillaume Maillard-Pacini. In Italy, we knew that despite this title, there was still a lot of work to be done. But the descent is a bit difficult to digest, no one expected it.Nazionale, absorbed in the pressure, lost its spontaneity.

«From what the players say and what penetrates the locker room, there was a counter-reaction, the reporter points toEurosport a RTL. I remember Bonucci talking about the loss of lightness and euphoria in the locker room, that there were tighter smiles.For the second time in a row and for the third time in its history, Italy has failed to qualify for the World Cup. Anomaly that results in arather a spooky atmosphere»But that no one verbalizes it, we will return to that.

Portugal is experiencing the greatest period of doubt and expectation in its history.

Nicolas Vilas, RMC Sport journalist and Portuguese football expert

He does not have the same results and yet Seleção is equally, if not more so, parasitized by the fear of failure. “Portugal is experiencing the greatest period of doubt and expectation in its history, Judge Nicholas Vilas. One goes with the other. There are many doubts due to the absences this Thursday, the game produced and the state of form of some of the leaders. And it has never been so much expected, because we are talking about the team of the European champion 6 years ago, who has a very important position and players in big European clubs.»

This pressure is the one that engulfed him against Serbia. Portugal shot less (11-9) at Estadio da Luz and gave up the ball (57% to 43%). In the previous match in Ireland, she played ten against eleven in the last 10 minutes. The striker Rafael Leã was replaced by the defender José Fonte to keep the draw (0: 0).

Portugal is playing with fire in conservatism and waiting. And they got burned. “As an observer, we often say that against Ireland or Azerbaijan, you necessarily have one of these stellar players who will have a flash of genius at some point. I am convinced that even players, although unknowingly, have this in mind at the back“Nicolas Nicolas is concerned.”

The Portuguese are pissed, clubism in Italy

It’s not just the Portuguese selection that smells of burns. There is also a towel with its supporters and a local press. “Poor“, The diary wrote Ball after losing to Serbia. “world shame“, sentenced Record. «We were bad, we apologize to our fansBernardo Silva apologized. At the end of the meeting, the public waved white handkerchiefs at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. Like after the failure against Albania in 2014, which cost coach Paul Bent’s job. This Thursday, Portugal-Turkey morning, Ball warned in One:No failure.»

On the Italian side, not feeling dissatisfied. “There is always support. This group, like coach Roberto Mancini, inevitably has credit after winning the Euro. Nobody shoots at Nazionale», Plants of Guillaume Maillard-Pacini. Popular support will be a trump card in the Azzurri round against Northern Macedonia. One month ago, Italian stadiums returned to a maximum occupancy rate of 75% in the fight against Covid-19. However, the sold-out decree won the selection match. 33,000 people are expected at the Renzo-Barber Stadium in Palermo.

However, the transalpine context has nothing to do with the euro, events and summer madness. We need to add more to this decline in logical enthusiasm. “In Serie A, the title battle between Inter Milan, AC Milan, Juve and Naples is important. At the moment, there is a certain clubism going on here“, Guillaume Maillard-Pacini emphasizes. In a country where rivalry between tifosi does not feed on love letters, it is difficult to form a sacred union during the season.

Two teams have decimated this Thursday

There is a theory. Then practice will follow. Portuguese like Italians will have to juggle absences this Thursday. Nazionale will have to do without his emblematic central hinge, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. The two defenders are hoping for a possible playoff final. Wound, strike “because we will have to deal with the emotional aspect“Guillaume Maillard-Pacini warns.” They should be replaced by Gianluca Mancini (6 selections) and Alessandro Bastoni (9 selections), according to Sports Gazette.

Should we go to the World Cup? I’m pretty sure and maybe we’ll win.

Roberto Mancini, coach of Italy.

This does not prevent Italy from firmly believing in its qualifications. After the last match against Northern Ireland, Mancini was filled with optimism:Should we go to the World Cup? I’m pretty sure and maybe we’ll win.»«Since that sentence, there has been a kind of Coué method in Italy, decrypts by Guillaume Maillard-Pacini. We insist on going to the World Cup. All the players say it, says Mancini, says the president of the federation. There is a desire to make sure that we go to the World Cup and that there will be no second crash after 2017.“What would it be”even more dramatic»According to a journalist fromEurosport a RTLeven though “it was an apocalypse“And that there was”national process for Nazionale and federal».

Suffice it to say that the consequences of the disappointment will not be less impressive in Portugal. “This will have economic consequences, announces Nicolas Vilas. According to the newspaper, the victory in the euro in 2016 had an impact on the Portuguese economy of almost 700 million euros.It is true that Portugal started the match against Turkey as a favorite. However, it is already much less than expected with the four missing holders: defenders Pep (Covid-19), Ruben Dias (injured) and João Cancelo (suspended) and midfielder Renato Sanches (injured). Add to that the physical mistakes of Anthony Lopes, Nelson Semed and Ruben Neves, and you have almost indistinguishable Seleção.

«Santos had 13 players in the first practice, notes Nicholas Vilas. All is available only 3 days before the match. Working on automation, systems, style, creating a game background does not take much time.If he wants to enter Qatar, the 37-year-old Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo will have to cross not only the body of Turkey, but also the winner of Italy-North Macedonia. One thing is certain: one of these two great nations will fall by the wayside. They could even go there together. And it would color.

Ferdinand Medina

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