The Italian players raise Alberto Bollini in the air of the Maltese stadium with almost the same passion they used for the tournament’s cup.
“This victory I will remember for the rest of my life,” Bollini says with pride.
Strategy, brilliance, and creativity of Bollini’s team. The brilliant comeback that unsettled Portugal. Milheiro probably sinned of overconfidence, though, it’s worldly knowledge: do never touch the cup!
Because.. it’s not over until it’s over.
During the press conference the day before the tournament, Portugal’s coach was at the centre of a bit of a superstitious incident. Firmly believing in his team’s victory he touched the tournament’s cup, showing a bit of overconfidence.
After all, Italy’s success against Spain should have been a good wake-up call for the Portuguese team, this was not the same team they had faced 10 days before.
“We knew that our strength was in our unity, our complicity, our growing physical strength”, Bollini explains.
“Portugal is full of incredibly strong players, but we managed to contain them and react with our very efficient game”.
Italy’s performance displayed that under a friendly manner and serious tone, Bollini hides a fine and sharp mind. He studied the Spanish team trying to mine their ball possession and midfield, and he applied the same tactic to Portugal’s wings. Indeed, the opponent’s team was never able to effectively use its best players who, after Kayode’s goal at minute 19’, slowly began to lose their cool, committing more and more dull and rushed mistakes.
Instead, Bollini instructed his boys to keep their cool and play strategically every action, without throwing away opportunities. He showed the world a completely different Italy than last time.
“I knew that the most important thing was to recover physically and mentally from the bad result with Portugal. In a few days we managed to do the recovery that you’d otherwise achieve in a month.”
The coach is extremely proud of his players, and the journey they’ve been through.
“In September something like this would have been unthinkable”.
Bollini is happy that his players finally managed to achieve a result they’d had been fighting for for years: “Many of these players have been giving everything for years. This is the result of their hard work”.
A DREAM COMING TRUE
Before the game, Bollini explained that the only example he wanted to take from the past was Roberto Mancini’s victory in the Euro 2021 Championship, and in the end, it turned out to be the best example of the result of the Azzurrini, who played a masterclass in the field showing their growth and improvement:
“When we won, in my mind I was thinking about all the boys playing for our team, of what they’ve been through. The emotions for this victory will keep growing more and more in the following days.”
The odds were mostly against Italy. Bollini and their team will go back home with unforgettable memories, hopefully portraying a bright future for a country that struggled deeply in the last few years.
Credit: AIPS Media