We’ve got 90 minutes and possibly more to play for it. Two years of work are condensed into one match which in essence represents a final of its own. The Stadio Meazza can play an important role, the players’ spirit, support of the entire country and the determination to show that the team deserves to go to Russia will be the ingredients for Italy vs. Sweden at 20:45 CET on this vital night for Italian football.
World Cup qualification is an almost compulsory achievement for a National Team such as Italy’s with so much history. The path has been full of obstacles with a need to revitalise the squad with the most talented players from Italian football but despite all this, winning is all that matters now.
The fans will have to play their part as the twelfth man with Italy unbeaten at San Siro with 22 wins and four draws. The captain Buffon discussed the atmosphere in the pre-match press conference. “I would like to see every fan at the stadium leave their club colours at home and only wear blue. There will have to be a certain willingness to accept some mistakes which we could make tomorrow, that way every play can feel that they’re understood and being helped by the crowd. We can’t just have a critical approach as that harms you. After the 90th minute there could be whistles and we have to be humble enough to accept them. But for as long as there’s hope, a positive attitude from the crowd can give us a big hand.” The Coach Gian Piero Ventura focused on the approach and the need to change something from the first leg. “We analysed Friday’s match, realising what we did and that we can do a lot more. “Tactics are important but on their own they’re not enough, just how heart and determination aren’t enough on their own. Together, the three things guarantee success. I’ll change something and hopefully it will work for the better.”
A performance worthy of Italy will be needed. The World Cup is a dream but also an imperative considering Italy’s history. So that it might be our night, Forza!