On July 11, we celebrated the conquest of an incredible European on the streets of Italy. Eight months later, the magical nights have turned into a nightmare. Other than the final with Portugal: Italy lost incredibly against Macedonia and for the second consecutive time will see a World Cup from the living room. An incredible elimination, so unexpected and astonishing. A weak, confusing Italy, not very bad, a terribly fragile attacker and capable of conceding a goal in the final against a much weaker opponent. An unreal silence enveloped Palermo, in front of an incredulous public which was finally able to fill the stands to 100%. It was supposed to be a party night, it became another Italy-Sweden. Worse still, given that we took on this challenge as reigning European champions. Mancini tried to reassure everyone on the eve: “We will go to the world championship to win them”. We will see the spectacle in Qatar as spectators. A boring habit now.
Italy, many missed opportunities
Italy’s first half is quite attacking, as expected. There are two problems: on the one hand the defense of Macedonia which creates density in the surface and leaves no playable space for Immobile, on the other it is the blue attack which never manages to finalize the quality of midfield development. The result is a game that Italy repeatedly tries to unlock from the wings – with Badge And Berardi among the most active – but without succeeding. The desire is there but the clarity and the tears of the best days are missing. A certain fatigue of pivotal players is a given, starting with Tensioner. Verratti he tries to draw football but his teammates don’t follow him. The Azzurri gathered an important series of conclusions which were systematically countered by the Macedonian defenders. Italy also conceded nine corners and developed a lot of play on the flanks but clearly lacked precision when finalizing as in the half hour when Berardi devours the game’s most sensational goal ball. After an erroneous low shot from the Macedonian goalkeeper, the Sassuolo striker finds the ball on the left at the entrance to the area but does not angle enough, so as to allow the intervention of Dimitrievsky who quickly falls between the posts saving his team. The incredible chance missed by Berardi at least has the merit of shaking up the Azzurri who try with Insigne from the edge and with Immobile from a tight angle: the two chances do not materialize, however. Macedonia resists and thanks its adversaries, unable to exploit certain obvious inaccuracies in the exit phase. In the first semi-final, the guests also have a chance with Trajkovsky that warms the gloves of the attentive Donnarumma. The first half therefore ends without a goal scored and with many regrets for the missed opportunity by Berardi.
Trajkovski’s prank comes to an end!
In the second half, we leave with the same eleven. Italy picks up where it left off, pushing without clarity and often focusing on Berardi’s unpredictability that is too confusing. There is too much slowness and predictability in the maneuver. Verratti at 64′ triggers Berardi in the Macedonian area but his clear conclusion is decisively deflected by Alioski for a corner. Mancini shakes his head displeased and decides to pull out Insigne to insert Raspadori. The blue attacks become more and more confused and allow Macedonia a more serene defensive management. At 77′ it’s time to tonali And pilgrims for Immobile and Barella. Italy find themselves with Pellegrini and Raspadori up front. The newcomers have suffered two chances but do not have the wickedness necessary to take the advantage. Barbera’s home crowd are trying to push Mancini’s men who continue to have enormous difficulty building important scores. In the final there is also room for Joe Pedro and for Chiellini in place of the distraught Berardi and the bruised Mancini. Extra time appears to be on the doorstep when he arrives in the 91st minute the most sensational mockery. With an unpretentious boost from the Macedonian defense, Trajkovski controls the ball with his chest at the opponent’s trocar and unloads an angled and unstoppable right foot towards Donnarumma who slides into the right corner. It is the most incredible advantage that freezes the blues and throws it into hell. There’s just time to see a clumsy last attempt from Joao Pedro before the punishing triple whistle yet another blue defeat: for the second time in a row, Italy will see a World Cup on television.