June 15 – Italy coach Roberto Mancini denied that he needs to bring in the next generation of players faster following his team’s 2-1 defeat in the semi-finals of the Nations League.
Spain repeated their 2-1 victory of the last-four encounter in the 2021 Nations League with a strong second-half display and Mancini was gracious enough to acknowledge La Roja’s superiority.
His gamble to play a 3-5-2 formation backfired: the Italians were completely overwhelmed by Spain’s constant waves of attacks toward the end of the match which resulted in Joselu’s 88th-minute winner.
“Spain deserved to win,” said Mancini at a news conference. “We faded a bit in the second half and perhaps we should have done things differently. We set things up differently with regards to what we do normally tactically – by cutting down Spain’s number of passing lanes. We knew they would have possession – that is standard practice. We dropped off too much in the second half, it was too easy for them to get in the box.”
Davide Frattesi, who deputized for the injured Marco Verratti, stood out for Italy in midfield, consolidating and confirming his fine form from the past Serie A season, to ask questions about Mancini’s future selection.
The manager fielded six players who featured in the Euro 2020 final but dismissed the notion that he is remaining too loyal to the players that served him so well to win Italy’s first European championship since 1968.
“We already began to freshen things up during the group stages of the Nations League,” explained Mancini. “There are some good kids, Frattesi played tonight and he played well. We are already having this generational overhaul.”
On Sunday, the Italians will wrap up their season with the third-place play-off against hosts the Netherlands.
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