The Azzurri Rise #360



A win at last for the Azzurri this Italian national team over the last several years has struggled mightily Roberto Mancini was given the job to try to turn this thing around a Team that has finally seen some positivity. This Italian national team failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 Italy is considered one of the strongest football nations in the world. Serie A used to be the best league in the world everybody wanted to play in Italy. We saw a lot of foreign players with unbelievable abilities come to Italy and have success. It was an utter embarrassment to Italy missing out on the World Cups the World Cup is a tournament in which Italy is one of the best most successful countries in the history to competition. Italy has won the World Cup on four different occasion only Brazil has more. Italy have lifted the World Cup in 1934 1938 1982 and most recently 2006. Italy has also made the final on two other occasions losing in 1970 and in 1994. This is one of the world’s most productive football and countries not only internationally but domestically the great players this country has produced has given them the reputation of one of the best football teams in the history of football. However since their World Cup triumph in 2006 we have seen a downfall from the Italy’s national team.


In the 2010 World Cup and the 2014 World Cup Italy failed to make it out of the group stage winning a combined 1 game out of a total 6 in those tournaments. Italy went winless in 2010 over those two World Cups Italy posted a record of 1-2-3 five points as a possible 12 in those tournaments. Immediately after their elimination from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  Antonio Conte the one of the most decorated and influential players in the history of Juventus left his post at Juventus after winning the scudetto in three consecutive seasons to take over the Italian national team. We had seen progress under Antonio Conte while in charge of Italy in 25 games he won 14 out of 25 only losing four. He took what I would consider a very weak Italian team into the European championship in 2016 there was very little expectations from my viewpoint about this Italy team going into the Euros. I thought they would survive the group but then would exit shortly after. Antonio Conte took this group of underperforming players as Lorenzo Insigne to me seemed like the only standout star from that group. Antonio Conte took less then impressive Italy Squad to the quarterfinals of the European championships as they met with Spain a team that won the World Cup in 2010 as well as the Euro’s in 2008 and 2012 this team was built to destroy anything in the pathway. With much of the stars from Real Madrid and Barcelona from top to bottom despite their disappointment in the 2014 World Cup Spain was a team that was incredibly deep with so many players playing at such a high level on a consistent basis. However David beat Goliath as Italy overcame the Spanish Dynasty beating them 2-0 as they advanced to the quarterfinals. Against the world champions Germany they pushed them to the brink as they fell in a long penalty shootout. They headed out however Antonio Conte completely turned around at this team into a side that was going to be competitive in the years to come at least that’s what it look like from the outside. However the man who got Italy back on the right track headed for the exit or Antonio Conte took a job at Chelsea after the European championships.



Antonio Conte went on to win the Premier League title in his first season at Chelsea and secured a FA Cup Triumph against Jose Mourinho in his final season at Stamford Bridge. Meanwhile disaster was striking in Italy again. Italian Federation appointed Ventura a questionable decision to say the least. Ventura had managed many teams over the years but in my opinion never was convincing enough that he deserve the job of the national team. Although he won9 of his 16 games in charge but he crumbled when it counted. Ventura lead Italy to second in their qualifying groups only behind Spain but unable to do what Antonio Conte did as he lost to Spain which turned out to be a crucial result. The loss  came back to bite them as they were forced to play in the play-off to advance the World Cup they ran up against Sweden as they had to battle them in a two-legged affair with the winner going to the World Cup. This is Italy there’s no reason why they should have ever been in that situation. Although Spain had won 3 out of the last four international tournaments Italy is one of the most decorated national teams in football history. Italy should never have been a play-off where they had to beat someone to get into the World Cup usually when you see the name Italy in a qualifying group you don’t even have to think whether or not they get in you mentally in your head already know they’re going to qualify because they’re Italy. However this was not Antonio Conte’s Italy Ventura Italy was not as effective and his tactics we’re in some ways incredibly questionable. In the first leg against Sweden Italy was sent shockwaves through the nation. In the second half in Sweden’s  Jacob Johannessen broke the deadlock as Sweden took the second-half lead in the eventual 1-0 victory for the Swedes. Italy were one game away from not qualifying for the World Cup which would have been an utter disgrace to their country. In the second game Italy’s home legs things didn’t get any easier as the nightmare continued. Although they dominated much of a play they were flatlined by Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen who in just a few months time would be playing in this Serie A in Italy for Roma. Terrible tactical decisions truly represented where Italian football was at that time. Including trying to bring on Daniele De Rossi instead of Lorenzo insigne when they were  hunting for a goal. His tactics were terrible itself apart from the very beginning of the playoff. The unbearable a happened to one of the biggest historical national teams in football history Italy had missed the World Cup for the first time since 1958. An emotional rollercoaster ignited itself  prompting the retirement Daniele de Rossi Giorgio Chiellini Barzaghi and forced the legendary goalkeeper Buffon into retirement the original plan was for him to retire after the 2018 World Cup he was unable to do that as he wore the Italy jersey for the very last time. He since signed for PSG on a two-year deal so it is slightly possible he could play in the Euros but in all likelihood it was the last time. It was outraged by Italy and much of Europe for their performance on the way to elimination from the World Cup Ventura quit as Italy left the stadium in disgrace as one of the most legendary nations missed the world cup.




Italy been had to watch Sweden make it to the quarterfinals as Italy was watching the World Cup from home. The Next Step was replacing Ventura as manager and finding someone who can lead this young team forward. The return of Antonio Conte was mentioned as he had recently left on mutual terms with Chelsea; Carlo Ancelotti one of the most successful managers in history also was thrown in the Hat as a possible replacement. However he promptly left for Napoli ending speculation that he would be the next manager of Italy. The Italian Federation evidently went for Roberto Mancini as he left Zenit to take over. Mancini was a two-time Scudetto winner as a player with Sampdoria and Lazio. He was manager of one of the great Italian teams over the last 20 years as he was apart of an Inter Milan team that won five straight titles Mancini was responsible for three League titles Two Coppa Italia and two super cups. Mancini also won in England with Manchester City as he won the Premier League and the FA Cup during his time there was a Coppa Italia winner with Florentina a very successful manager. Unlike his predecessor he was qualified for this job however it was going to be easier said than done giving the status of the national team in Italy. The goal was to get this team back to being a force and international football but as he spoke about it he stressed that it will take time this was going to be a project. Things have not gone the best since he has taken over as underlying issues have been highlighted over his opening seven games in charge of Italy. Despite the struggles he has been having I like his approach and he has good ideas for this project as he vows to turn this team around. Even if that means making a bold moves earlier last month he called up a player who would yet to make an appearance in Italian football. Roma’s 19-Year-old Nicolo Zaniolo has since made appearances in Serie A and the Champions League. He is also visibly expressed his frustrations with Serie A not starting enough Italian players as he sees too many foreign players and not enough in-home Stars. He has even brought back some players who had not been picked as a Mario Balotelli made a return to the Italian national team after a two-year absence. Mancini won his first game against Saudi Arabia with Mario Balotelli and Andrea belotti scoring however since that first game he has struggled and so has Italy. Before  just recently Italy was on a five-game winless streak after losing to France and Portugal that included draws with Poland the Ukraine and Holland. Since the start of the National League which is a competition with national team’s as they make Friendly’s more serious with a tournament during International brakes.



Finally this week Italy finally picked up a win as they were in fear of being relegated from the Nations League which would have added more embarrassment to this Italy team
After yet another draw to the Ukraine Italy faced off against Poland a team they had recently drawn to a month ago in hopes of winning for the first time in the nation’s League. Roberto Mancini was looking for only his second win since being in charge of the national team. Italy made it extremely hard on themselves but yesterday they eventually overcame all the adversity and the criticism that came above this national team and delivered at the stroke of death. Florentina’s Cristiano Biraghi scored in stoppage time a win at last would come in the 92nd minutes for Roberto Mancini’s side. It would be their first win in this competition and the second win under Roberto Mancini despite the fact he’s only one at 28% of the games since being in charge it finally gives Italy confidence and something to be happy about. It moves them into second with four points avoiding elimination from the league. With the big games against Portugal and the United States during the next International break finally we have some positivity out of the Italy National Team. There are still many problems with this team as Roberto Mancini urges patience. Italy is nowhere near they need to be but a late strike from the Florentina left-back gives Italy some hope that they can turn this thing around under Roberto Mancini. He is continues to  try to rebuild this national team to be one of the best in the world once again.

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