Here’s how Mancini could change Italy in Belfast

The coach also loses Bastoni: Calabria idea for Di Lorenzo and Scamacca option in front. But above all Tonali takes off

Two days to confirm himself as a wise Human Resources manager. From today – but he probably had already started yesterday evening on the bus that brought him back to the hotel with his boys – Roberto Mancini will start evaluations in view of Belfast. What should have been the last challenge to be faced smoothly, with the light spirit of an armored team from the standings, has become a lifeboat that must absolutely bring the crew back to the ground safe and sound. And it will be precisely in Belfast that, never like this time, the concept of “all starters” will count, magnificently put into practice at the European Championship. Because in Northern Ireland Italy is destined to change its face. Much? Or just a few tweaks? Two days, in fact, to understand and decide. But one thing is certain: the starting eleven will be different from the one seen at the Olimpico. And there could be changes in all departments. Here are the working hypotheses.


The central couple will not change. In front of Donnarumma there will still be Bonucci and Acerbi, on the bench there will also be Ferrari, called to replace Chiellini. But the bad news never ends: even Bastoni, who didn’t even go to the bench yesterday, is not physically fit (after-effects of muscle problems in the derby) and was forced to leave the retreat this morning. He could (should) instead change one of the two full backs, a costly role with only three days off between one match and another. Ready to use is Calabria, who took over Emerson in the last ten minutes of the game yesterday at the Olimpico. The Milan vice-captain has been traveling at excellent levels of performance since last year, he has refined his attacking phase and Mancini will rely on him. In whose place? More likely Di Lorenzo, also because on the right are Davide’s natural territories.


There is also talk of Milan in the median. The entry of Tonali with Switzerland has changed the face of Italy, restoring the identity of the game, aggression and danger. Sandro, as Mancini had specified, can play in all three positions, but the coach is unlikely to give up on Jorginho, although the Professor – net of the wrong penalty – appeared subdued at the Olimpico. Tonali will therefore take the place of one between Barella and Locatelli and here the assessments are rather complicated. Barella is the man Mancio would never give up, but up to now he has never stopped between Inter and the national team. And yesterday it looked good. On the other hand, Locatelli also offered a test that was anything but sparkling. Tonali will take the place of one of the two.


And here we are at the painful notes. In other words, the department that most of all is called to be decisive in Ireland. Decisive as has rarely happened in recent releases. Certainties carved in stone obviously do not exist, but it is reasonable to think above all of two things. The first: Belotti will start from the bench this time. The second: Berardi will play from the start. Moreover, they are the judgments, under the eyes of all, of the challenge with Switzerland. Gallo is too far from an acceptable condition, while the Sassuolo winger was the player who, together with Tonali, changed the face of Italy in the second half. With Berardi on the right and Insigne on the left (Lorenzo certainly did not thrill, but his potential cannot be renounced in the decisive game), the question is always the same: who at the center of the attack? Two options: confirmation of the false nine, with which Italy played the last half hour against Switzerland, or space for Scamacca. In the first case it ranges from Insigne to Chiesa, up to Bernardeschi. If it really were a false nine, the most probable hypothesis would be Insigne in the center with Berardi and Chiesa on its sides. Scamacca, on the other hand, would be a test of courage on Mancini’s part, since Gianluca up to now in the blue counts 29 minutes, those against Lithuania. But, in front of the mighty Irish defensive wall, a center forward with a role and an important physique would certainly have his reason.

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Here’s how Mancini could change Italy in Belfast

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