After missing out on World Cup participation, Italy started with self-doubt in qualifying for the European Championship. At the start there is a highlight against England, the Squadra is also hoping for the special atmosphere in Naples.
The ugly scenes with rampaging fans around the Champions League game between SSC Naples and Eintracht Frankfurt had a great impact. The fight scenes on Naples’ streets have now been warmed up again by the British tabloid press: as a backdrop that may threaten on Thursday evening (03/23/2023) when Italy meets England at the start of the European Championship qualification. In the “hooligan hotspot” Naples, as the Daily Mail already shuddered in its report.
The newspaper also reported that a friendly kick between fan groups from Italy and England that had been scheduled for the matchday was cancelled. To be on the safe side after there were said to have been threats from an ultra group from Naples to attack the English fans.
Tense mood in Naples at the new edition of the European Championship final
In any case, the atmosphere is considered tense, and the scenes from the last big meeting should also play a role: the EM final in 2021, when English fans misbehaved and tried to storm Wembley Stadium before kick-off.
That game ended in an Italian triumph that now seems a long way off for the Azzurri. The embarrassing crash and failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar followed after the European title.
With the start of the European Championship qualification, the Squadra is now making a fresh start. But Italy is still plagued by self-doubt after the disaster of missing the World Cup.
And that despite the fact that three clubs, Napoli, Inter and AC Milan, have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Not so many Italian clubs in 17 years.
Mancini’s concerns – especially on the offensive
National coach Roberto Mancini sees no great value in this for his development mission: the three clubs would have “Maybe seven or eight Italians in the team. That’s the reality and we have to change something,” said Mancini before the qualifying start and warned: “Italian football has not been reborn.”
The 58-year-old recently complained above all about a lack of strikers. In the premier class, the top scorers of the three clubs in question include Argentinian Giovanni Simeone, Edin Dzeko from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Frenchman Olivier Giroud. In addition, Mancini will have to do without offensive player Federico Chiesa from Juventus Turin against England. The 25-year-old, who was part of the European Championship team, is injured.
And the duel with the Three Lions will also be difficult for Mancini in other respects. It is the first game after the death of his friend Gianluca Vialli, who died in January after a long illness. be it “not easy”said Mancini. The team also wants to show a good performance for the former national player, who was also involved in the European Championship triumph two years ago as the head of the delegation.
Napoli captain Di Lorenzo conjures spirit of 2021
The atmosphere in the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples should help. “I hope there will be the same passion there as at the Napoli games,” said SSC captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo. The fun that his team is currently showing with success on the field reminds him of the national team of 2021, which was crowned European champions after the penalty thriller against England at Wembley Stadium.
“That lightness“, according to Di Lorenzo, you lost through certain events, by which he probably meant the trauma of missing out on the World Cup. In qualifying, Italy failed in the playoffs against North Macedonia – this opponent is now also waiting for Mancini and Co in Group C ., on the way to the EM 2024 in Germany.