“Every match is difficult … but we are here to win,” Italy Head Coach Roberto Mancini on facing Bulgaria on Sunday 28 March 2021

https://www.italiansoccerseriea.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Anna_Italia_bigger.jpgBy Anna Italia
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Italian Soccer Serie A

Italy Head Coach Roberto Mancini being optimistic during the press conference on Saturday 27 March 20221 for the second 2022 Qatar World Cup Qualifier match against Bulgaria to be played on Sunday 28 at 20:45.  Italy will look to extend their unbeaten record to 24 games after defeating Northern Ireland.   Mancini saying, “Every match is difficult, and they need to be approached with the utmost level of concentration. But we are here to win.”

FIFA World Cup Qualifying: Result ITALY 2 – 0 NORTHERN IRELAND, Thursday 25 March 2021

Mancini adding, “Bulgaria are going through a transition period, they have always had excellent players and they still do now. We will be up against a team that is different to Northern Ireland, perhaps less physical but a lot more technical. And it will also be on a very tough pitch.”

Surely, it will be a challenge for the Italian team considering the negative stats for games in Bulgaria:   Italy have never won (with a total of 4 draws and 2 defeats); the balance is in favour of Italy, though, with regard to the matches they’ve played against Bulgaria (10 wins, 7 draws and 2 defeats), with their last match played on 6 September 2015 in Palermo, decided by a successful penalty from the ex AS Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi.

Mancini: “Every match is difficult, but we are here to win”

Photo: via figc.it

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)

Photo via figc.it

This morning, Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini, Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi and Sassuolo forward Francesco Caputo all left  unavailable for the upcoming games against Bulgaria and Lithuania returning to their respective clubs. That makes three more players, on top of Bryan Cristante and Moise Kean, who have gone back home in the past few days. And the coach is still figuring out who to select: “We will definitely be making some changes, we still don’t know who exactly yet because we’ll have to evaluate the situation in the next two training sessions. I don’t know whether we’ll make four or five changes, but we will be making some.”

Back on the topic of Thursday evening’s match at Parma, Mancini emphasised: “We are not a team that can control a match, we always have to attack. We had a great first half against Northern Ireland, in the second half we tried to control the game, but that’s not something that we can pull off and the boys understand this now. That said, I’m not suggesting that the second half was terrible. Let’s say that we did less well than we might have.”

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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), 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), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Stephan El Shaarawy (Roma), Vincenzo Grifo (Freiburg), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli).

Photo: figc.it

👉 Italy National Team Schedule

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 – Lithuania vs. ITALY (LFF Stadium, Vilnius). Post-match press conference followed by a return to respective clubs