Ventura: “I’m happy, the result was the priority”


Italy picked up an important win in Reggio Emilia, three days after coming undone in Spain. The Azzurri are now one point away from securing a place in the play-offs after Albania drew with FYR Macedonia tonight. “After Madrid, I was happy tonight,” said Gian Piero Ventura. “It was clear that the result was the priority, I’m happy because we spent 80 minutes in their half, looking to play and this satisfies me. The first half wasn’t good, but in the second half we created numerous chances on goal. It’s a small step forwards for our conviction in what we can do.”

The Coach was satisfied with the response from his team and their determination to get the result. “There’s work to do, we’re doing what we can in few days but I’m satisfied with the result and how available the players are. We have to understand that when there is a lot of traffic in the middle we need to use the wings but we have to take things a step at a time. Whistles from the stadium? If you want to be a team you can’t listen to applause or whistles, but in looking back to the Spain match, they’ll be able to see that a step forwards was made. The play-off? It’s what everyone was saying, now it seems to have been a surprise but in fact it was simply a normal outcome when we were drawn with Spain. Lots of the critics after Madrid were telling me that this is a place with a great responsibility. But, the real surprise would have been if we’d gone to Madrid and upset the odds and gone to the World Cup not via the play-off.”

Davide Zappacosta also thought it was a hard-fought win after entering in the second half and finishing as one of the best performers. “It was a hard-fought win because Israel were tight at the back and they defended space well. We did well to be patient and I’m satisfied with my contribution, you always have to give your all regardless of whether you start or come on. I wasn’t there in Spain for a technical decision on part of the Coach, but the important thing is to make sure you’re ready. The Madrid match made us understand a lot of things. We have to fight for the ball and be strong when taking on every opponent. We have to learn from our mistakes for the future, our objective was qualification. It doesn’t matter if it comes directly or via the play-off.”