During today’s Federal Council meeting, FIGC President Carlo Tavecchio announced the definitive list of Club Italia coaching staff for the coming season. For the Under-21 side, Luigi Di Biagio has been confirmed once again as coach, while Milena Bertolini will lead the National Women’s Team from August 16th onwards. “Our 19 National sides represent the excellence of Italian football,” said President Tavecchio. “The FIGC will continue to invest in Club Italia through an impressive technical and informative training project, helping our talent to develop and compete at an international level. From my part, I want to send best wishes to all the coaches who will lead Italy’s teams next season, also thanking those who have contributed and are no longer in the set-up. This goes specifically for Antonio Cabrini, who for five years has contributed to the development of women’s football and will now receive an offer of a new role within the FIGC.”
MEN’S TEAMS – Within the National side, there has only been one variation of staff, with Alberico Evani now joining the senior team. Fresh from a third place finish at the Under-20 World Cup, he will now replace Paolo Vanoli in the role as Gian Piero Ventura’s assistant. In terms of youth, other than confirming Maurizio Viscidi as Coordinator of Youth, Luigi Di Biagio has also kept his role as Under-21s coach. He will now lead the Azzurrini into the 2019 European Championship, which grant the top four teams a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Joining Club Italia as an observer back in 2010, Di Biagio was in charge of the Under-20s for two years, before then progressing to the Under-21s in 2013. With them he has reached the European Championship finals in both 2015 and 2017. “I am very happy to continue for the eight successive year within the Italy set-up” said Di Biagio. “I have the same passion and enthusiasm as always. We are ready to start a new adventure that will take us to the Euros in Italy, one that’ll be played out in front of our own public.”
Massimo Mutarelli will also join up with the Under-21s in replacement of Carmine Nunziata, who has been entrusted with the Under-17 squad. As for the Under-20 side, Federico Guidi is one new arrival, after last year leading Fiorentina’s Primavera side to the final, which they eventually lost to Inter. He will replace Evani following his promotion to the National squad. Additionally, as part of the previously mentioned Under-17 appointment of Nunziata, his assistant will be Bernarndo Corradi. Paolo Niccolato will move from the Under-18s (with Daniele Gasparetto as his assistant) to the Under-19s, with Daniele Franceschini taking his place. Finally, Daniele Zoratto will guide the Under-16s with Patrizia Panico as his assistant, while Antonio Rocca will lead the Under-15s.
WOMEN’S TEAMS – Milena Bertolini has been confirmed as coach of the Women’s National Team, replacing Antonio Cabrini who will leave his role after five seasons. Originally from Reggio Emilia, Bertolini enjoyed a successful playing career and featured for Reggiana, Modena, Prato, Sassari, Bologna, Agliana, Fiammamonza, Pisa and Verona, during which she won three Scudetti, one Coppa Italia, one Supercoppa Italiana and also enjoyed one Serie B promotion. As a coach, she has taken charge of Verona, Reggiana and Brescia, helping her teams win three Scudetti, three Coppa Italia trophies and four Supercoppa Italiana titles. As for personal honours, she has also been awarded the Panchina d’Oro on six occasions, a prize given to her by the FIGC after being selected by her fellow coaches. “Coaching the National Team is a dream come true for me,” said Bertolini. “As of today I will start working with the same passion and commitment that has always been present in my career, whether as a player or coach. We have a difficult task ahead of us, that of taking Italy to the 2019 World Cup after a 20-year absence. However, I am sure we can win it.”
The new Azzurre coach will guide her side through qualification for the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France, making her debut with the team on September 15th against Moldova at the Stadio Alberto Picco in La Spezia. Italy are in Group 6 alongside Belgium, Portugal, Romania and Moldova. The team finishing in first place will progress directly to the World Cup, while the four best second placed sides from the seven groups will each compete in play-offs to secure the final qualification spot.
Within the Women’s youth teams, Enrico Sbardella will stay in charge of the Under-19s (his side set to take part in the European Championship finals in Northern Ireland in the next few days), while Massimo Migliorini has moved up to the Under-17s from the Under-16s. They were led last year by Rita Guarino, who has since switched to Juventus. It has yet to be confirmed who’ll take charge of the Under-23 and Under-16 sides.
FUTSAL – Coach Roberto Menichelli has been selected to lead both the Men’s and Women’s Futsal Teams, utilising Carmine Tarantino and Francesca Salvatore as his assistants. This duo will also take charge of the Under-17 Men’s and Women’s Futsal teams respectively, with Cinzia Benvenuti also joining the Futsal backroom staff. For the Experimental Men’s Team, focused on emerging youth, this will also led by Roberto Menichelli and his assistant Alessio Musti.
Head to the National Teams area of our website (http://www.figc.it/index_en.shtml) to find out more about the full list of staff.
CLUB ITALIA: 19 SQUADS WITHIN THE AZZURRI SET-UP
Presided over directly by the FIGC President, Club Italia was renewed back in September 2016 with the aim of supporting the National Teams’ activities and helping harmonise the sharing of services across-the-board, ultimately creating four new operating sectors for the National Teams: The Medical Area (led by Andrea Ferretti), The Performance and Research Area (Valter Di Salvo), The Scouting Area (Mauro Sandreani), the Match Analyst Area (Antonio Gagliardi). With constant coordination, the operating Areas represent a reference point of technical and scientific excellence for the Azzurri squads. The technical structure is divided between the Men’s and Women’s National teams, the Futsal team and the Beach Soccer side, ultimately leading to a total of 19 teams.