Chiellini sees bright future for Italy and says Euro 2024 predictions 'too pessimistic'

By Sports Desk December 11, 2023

Italy great Giorgio Chiellini believes the Azzurri have a bright future ahead of them and says critics have been overly pessimistic regarding their chances at Euro 2024.

Chiellini captained Italy as they overcame England in the final of Euro 2020, but the Azzurri have not been widely tipped to retain their crown after enduring a difficult few years.

Having missed out on the last two World Cups, Italy somewhat scraped their way through qualifying for next year's tournament in Germany, losing home and away to England and requiring a nervy 0-0 draw with Ukraine on the final matchday to avoid the playoffs.

Ahead of Luciano Spalletti's first major tournament in charge, Italy have been drawn to face Spain, Croatia and Albania in a difficult-looking group, but Chiellini believes reports of the Azzurri's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

"I know the Italian draw very well. Croatia and Spain are good teams with experience, with good players," the defender told Stats Perform.

"Albania is our biggest friend that we face. We are very happy that they joined the Euros. I have a lot of Albanian friends and they deserve it. We have to respect that. 

"Obviously, we will try to pass through the group, arrive in the quarter-finals and then we'll see. We have seen also in the last [Euros], we were lucky. 

"I guess also in the round of 16 [against Austria], and we were lucky to win on penalties in the last two games, but at the end we deserved to win. 

"There is a good cycle, a new cycle, with good young players. I think that could be a good spine for the national team. 

"I don't know if they need maybe more time to be in the right moment and in their prime to win, but there is a bright future for the Italian national team."  

Asked who excited him most in the current Italy setup, Chiellini said: "I think [Gianluigi] Donnarumma is by far the best young goalkeeper that we could have and he's really special.

"[Alessandro] Bastoni is a fantastic defender and we have a lot of amazing midfielders. [Marco] Verratti is just 31, he's not 40 like me! We have a good midfield.

"[Federico] Chiesa is someone that could break every line in every moment of the game. Italy have a good team. 

"Now I hope that there are new faces arriving because we have a good academy for the national team, with players coming through. 

"We have a good coach, everything is good. Sometimes in Italy, we are too pessimistic with the team and we talk badly, but I think that we have a bright future and a really good team."

Related items

  • Emiliano Martinez banned for first leg of Villa’s semi-final against Olympiacos Emiliano Martinez banned for first leg of Villa’s semi-final against Olympiacos

    Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez will miss the Europa Conference League semi-final first leg against Olympiacos.

    The Argentina international saved two penalties in the 4-3 quarter-final shootout victory over Lille, but earned a yellow card for his trademark gamesmanship and baiting the home crowd.

    That was his second of the game, but he was not sent off as cards are not carried over into the shootout.

    However, after also picking up a booking in the first leg against Lille, he will now miss the semi-final first leg with the Greek side on May 2 for three yellows on the totting-up process.

    The World Cup winner, who produced heroics against France in the 2022 final in Qatar, will be a big miss, with Unai Emery calling him the best goalkeeper in the world.

    “To say something about this is when he’s being successful individually and collectively with his club here at Aston Villa and his national team,” boss Unai Emery said.

    “He’s being successful with Argentina, he’s being successful and progressively getting better here with Aston Villa.

    “And individually he’s being successful because he’s saving a lot of matches as a goalkeeper.

    “Of course, he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world – the first, the second, the third.

    “For me, the best.”

    Villa will have a quick turnaround after playing 120 minutes in northern France on Thursday, with Bournemouth’s visit to Villa Park on Sunday.

    Emery will assess his side after Saturday’s training session to see how they recover, with Nicolo Zaniolo going off injured in the first half against Lille.

    Alex Moreno, Emiliano Buendia, Jacob Ramsey, Tyrone Mings and Boubacar Kamara are definitely out.

    “Alex Moreno, Mings, Buendia, Ramsey are still unavailable,” Emery added. “I think no more. After the match we played yesterday, we will have to wait and then decide.”

  • JFF to introduce new Under-17 tournament for Jamaica Premier League clubs JFF to introduce new Under-17 tournament for Jamaica Premier League clubs

    The Jamaica Football Federation is continuing its commitment to developing youth football in the country with the formation of a new Under-17 tournament to be contested by Jamaica Premier League clubs, JFF president Michael Ricketts announced Thursday.

    The competition, tentatively set to commence on May 5, will not be mandatory for clubs to participate in as this is its inaugural year.

    “We would want to encourage as many of the Premier League clubs to participate in this Under-17 competition. As it is now, most of the clubs will be participating,” Ricketts said.

    “We thought that it was very important that we capture those that are probably on the verge of getting out of high school and have them in a formal setting so that they can make a transition from U-17s to U20s and, ultimately, the senior set up,” he added.

    This is also a timely move because, as of 2025, the FIFA Under-17 World Cup will be held annually instead of every four years as was customary.

    “We want to insert some energy and some vibe to ensure that as best as possible, we must be competitive and very relevant at age 17 and under so that we can actively participate and add some level of competitiveness at the World Cup which, as of next year, will be held every year,” Ricketts said.

    Jamaica got to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in New Zealand in 1999 and Mexico in 2011.

     

  • Erling Haaland a doubt for FA Cup semi-final Erling Haaland a doubt for FA Cup semi-final

    Erling Haaland is a doubt for Manchester City’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea on Saturday.

    The Norwegian striker was surprisingly substituted prior to extra time of the Champions League quarter-final loss to Real Madrid on Wednesday.

    Manager Pep Guardiola revealed after the game the 23-year-old asked to be withdrawn but did not give a reason why.

    Speaking on Friday, Guardiola confirmed the forward had suffered an injury but still gave little indication as to how serious.

    Guardiola said at a press conference: “We will see. It was a tough game, a lot of action, high intensity for both sides.

    “Erling felt something, a muscular issue. That’s why he told me he could not continue.

    “The (doctor) said he had a little bit of niggles, a little problem, we will see how his evolution is in the next hours.”

    In a more positive update, Guardiola confirmed playmaker Kevin De Bruyne “feels well” having been taken off during extra time against Real for nothing more serious than exhaustion.

    Guardiola feels, given the schedule, it is understandable that players would be tired at this stage of the season.

    He said: “It’s normal with the amount of games we are playing this season and the previous seasons and not much recovery, and extra time and high intensity.

    “We put a lot of pressure in our game and that’s why the fatigue is there. They are human beings. They are not a machine. We are used to it.”

    The agonising penalty shoot-out defeat by Real ended City’s hopes of winning the treble for a second season in succession.

    Yet they remain on course to repeat the domestic double and Guardiola is determined to bounce back from the midweek heartache.

    He said: “We don’t have another option. I don’t want us to feel sorry for ourselves.

    “In football, you lose games. We performed at our best and we were not able to win. You have to accept it.

    “We did everything. We know it, they know it, all the world know it, but it was not enough. When it’s not enough, it’s bad night.

    “So congratulations (to Real) and, tomorrow, FA Cup.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.