It’s hard not to go back to eleven months ago, to that Cup raised under the London sky. Only two hundred and seventy-two kilometers separate Wembley from Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, where the national team tomorrow night (20.45, live on Rai 1 – Polish Marciniak referees) will face England in the third Nations League match. At stake this time will be just three useful points for Nations League Group 3, who see Italy at the top of the standings and the Southgate national team at the bottom of the group.

“It will be a tough match – warns Roberto Mancini from the press at Molineux Stadium – just like all the matches played against England. It is not a rematch, it is a completely different match than a final. Then we play here, where the national team does not normally play, and behind closed doors. It will be something else. “What is certain is that England will remain an absolute rival:” England has many top players, it is difficult to name one. Together with Germany, Spain and four -five others she is among the favorites for the World Cup ”.

Tomorrow, an Italy that is very different from the one that overtook Kane and his teammates on penalty kicks will take the pitch to become European champions. In fact, there will be no Bonucci, Chiellini, Jorginho and Verratti, nor the three holders of that night’s trio – Insigne, Immobile and Chiesa – and the two strikers who took over, Berardi and Bernardeschi. And the audience frame will also be different considering that precisely because of the unrest that erupted at the Wembley final, UEFA has forced England to play behind closed doors, and only authorized the presence in the stands of 1,500 school children. “We have not yet decided who will play – emphasizes Mancini, who announces the use of Scamacca in the center of the three forks – there will certainly be some changes, we will have to evaluate the conditions for the boys who have played two games in four If we could manage not to disturb everything, it would be better.But to give an example, Cristante has played two matches in four days and there is another in three days: it is a special role and there is not too many choices as we have Bryan, Esposito and maybe Locatelli. The younger guys, I would like them all to debut if possible ”.

To those who ask him if it would not have been better to predict this new blue cycle, perhaps on the occasion of the World Cup finals, the coach replies: “It was impossible to do, there was no time and there was no logic. We won the European Championships and after a month and a half we started playing. It was the team that had also started the World Cup qualifier, and apart from Chiellini and Bonucci, they are all boys under 30 years old. Even in Palermo with Macedonia, it is not as if we had players over 32-33 years on the pitch, they were all 27-28 years old. “In the future, in any case, there will still be room for the European champions:” Many of them will also be useful for the European qualifiers. These guys here with a bit of the Europeans make up a good team. We must focus on young people, at the European and World Cups in 2026, which we will try to win “.

Mancini then gives good luck to Rino Gattuso for his new adventure on the Valencia bench: “That created a ridiculous situation around him. I am convinced he will do great things.”

With the coach in the press room, Sandro Tonali, who started in the starting line-up on Saturday at ‘Dall’Ara’ with Germany and went into the final minutes of the match against Hungary, is looking for an increasingly central role in this national team. team: “The road is very long – the words of the 2000 class – these are the first steps and I must continue to do what I do. Right now I do not want to feel like a leader, it is a delicate moment for the whole team “We must stand together. Everyone, even the youngest, must feel part of the group.”

Among the main characters in the Scudetto won by Milan, he has just returned from an exciting season after a first year race in the Rossoneri. He is one of the 45 rookies in the Mancini management, the demonstration that investing in young people pays off and that it is sometimes enough to know how to wait for them: “To play a season that starts in Milan , playing at a higher level than last season helped me a lot.The idea is to continue like this, for the national team and for Milan.Now Italy is the most important, so when I’m in Milan, the most important thing will be Milan.Only the confidence to play and the ease has changed: it seems like a very small thing, but everything changes on the pitch “.

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