Italy team training Tuesday 23 March 2021 in Coverciano Anna Italia
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The Italian National team continuing their preparation ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifying.  Italy Head Coach Roberto Mancini leading the second training session in Coverciano on Tuesday 23 March 2021.  Training will be in the afternoon at the Federal Technical Centre, before leaving tomorrow for Parma, where, on Thursday (20:45 CET – live on Rai 1), they will face Northern Ireland in the first qualifying match for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Atalanta defender Rafael Toloi and Spezia Matteo Ricci midfielder are the two new faces with the national team preparing for their first qualifying match for the World Cup in Qatar. Tomorrow (Wednesday 24), the 3 Inter players Alessandro Bastoni, Nicolò Barella and Stefano Sensi, who were subject to restrictive health measures and who have since been given the green light to leave Milan, will join the group.

✅   Tuesday 23 March
13:45 – Press conference – FIGC/Panini (FTC Coverciano Auditorium)
Press conference – player (FTC Coverciano Auditorium)
16:30 – Training (behind closed doors)

As reported by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), the Atalanta defender Toloi was born in Brazil but is a naturalized Italian and is one of the first names on Gasperini’s team sheet, while Ricci, who has already worn the Azzurri colours with the Under 18s and the Under 20s, has definitely blossomed in La Spezia. He is deserving of his call-up which also acknowledges the excellent season that the Ligurian club is having.

“I had Italian nationality even before coming to Italy – explained Toloi at a press conference – now I have got the go-ahead from FIFA to play for Italy and now I can fulfil a desire I had. I am very happy to be part of this group, it is a great honour. Some of the best defenders in the world are here and you can learn a lot from them. I’m not a kid anymore, but I want to do well among this group. The fact I’m playing for a team that is doing well like Atalanta has helped me a lot”. Ricci also thanked Spezia and his coach: “It is an incredible emotion to be here with the best Italian players. I am the first player from Spezia to join the national team since the war: it is an honour to represent this club and this city. Coach Italiano was fundamental, at Spezia we play with the same template as the national team, and this allowed me to show off my talents and get called up by the Coach”.

The ability to defend high and the frequent forays into the opponent’s half are some of Toloi’s strengths: “My way of playing like this is thanks to Gasperini, with whom I learned to go out and press high, on the right or in the centre, not only pressing the opponent but also playing and creating situations. Naturally, it’s different here, but it’s an added bonus, and I will try to learn what it takes to fit into the team”. Matteo Ricci grew up in football and in life with his twin Federico, and like his brother, he changed clubs several times before finding his ideal fit at La Spezia: “I don’t regret choosing to start from the lower divisions. My brother Federico is fighting for promotion to Serie A with Monza: we talk often, and we support each other”.

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👉 Italy Squad list

Goalkeepers: Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino);

Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter)*, Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Gian Marco Ferrari (Sassuolo), Alessandro Florenzi (Paris Saint-Germain), Manuel Lazzari (Lazio), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta);

Midfielders: Nicolò Barella (Inter)*, Gaetano Castrovilli (Fiorentina), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo), Rolando Mandragora (Torino), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Matteo Pessina (Atalanta), Matteo Ricci (Spezia)*, Stefano Sensi (Inter)*, Roberto Soriano (Bologna), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain);

Forwards: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Francesco Caputo (Sassuolo), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Vincenzo Grifo (Freiburg), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Moise Bioty Kean (Paris Saint-Germain).

*Will join up with the squad should they gain approval from the relevant local health authority


👉 Italy National Team Schedule

Wednesday 24 March
11:00 – Departure from Florence to Parma
17:30 – Press conference – ITALY (Stadio Tardini, Parma)
18:00 – Training – ITALY (first 15 minutes open to the press) (Stadio Tardini, Parma)
19:30 – Press conference – Northern Ireland (Stadio Tardini, Parma)

Thursday 25 March
20:45 – ITALY vs. Northern Ireland (Stadio Tardini, Parma). Post-match press conference

Friday 26 March
11:00 – Training (behind closed doors) (Stadio Tardini, Parma)
12:30 – Press conference – player (Stadio Tardini, Parma)

Saturday 27 March
10:30 – Departure from Parma to Sofia
11:00 – Press conference – Bulgaria (Boyana National Football Center)
11:30 – Training – Bulgaria (first 15 minutes open to the press) (Boyana National Football Center)
18:00 – Press conference – ITALY (Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia)
18:30 – Training – ITALY (first 15 minutes open to the press) (Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia)

Sunday 28 March
20:45 Bulgaria vs. ITALY (Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia). Post-match press conference

Monday 29 March
11:30 – Training (behind closed doors)

Tuesday 30 March
10:45 – Departure from Sofia to Vilnius
16:30 – Press conference – Lithuania (LFF Stadium, Vilnius)
17:00 – Training – Lithuania (first 15 minutes open to the press) (LFF Stadium, Vilnius)
17:30 – Press conference – ITALY (LFF Stadium, Vilnius)
18:00 – Training – ITALY (first 15 minutes open to the press) (LFF Stadium, Vilnius)

Wednesday 31 March
20:45 – Lithuaniua vs. ITALY (LFF Stadium, Vilnius). Post-match press conference followed by return to respective clubs