Best of 2023 – Spalletti’s Italy has 3 strengths to confirm at Wembley

Luciano Spalletti, Italy’s head coach, has highlighted several positive takeaways from his squad’s recent performances against North Macedonia and Ukraine, beyond the crucial three-point victories.

Spalletti has praised the ‘message’ conveyed by his team, with the Azzurri making a high-energy start to the games. Giovanni Di Lorenzo, a key player managed by Spalletti at Napoli, particularly demonstrated this vigour, aggressively challenging for second balls – a flaw the coach had criticised in their performance against North Macedonia.

A clear ‘disciplined approach’ was observed by spectators in the first few matches too. This was conveyed by Italy’s consistent efforts to progress their play vertically, even at the risk of errors. The coach applauded the team’s conviction in maintaining this approach throughout the games, demonstrating their quick understanding and implementation of the devised game plan.

Spalletti also praised the ‘verve’ demonstrated by the team, particularly by Giacomo Raspadori. However, he noted that the team’s haste led to several missed opportunities in front of the goal, once again highlighting the team’s need for a proficient striker. The positive aspect, however, was the team’s awareness of this deficit; Frattesi’s goals and surges were not mere chances but indicate a calculated solution involving midfielders’ movements.

Spalletti’s comments have provided substantial insights into the future strategy of the Italian squad, marking the need to maintain their discipline, verve, and tactical flexibility against tougher opponents, such as at Wembley, where they will face rivals who will not allow such free rein. They will need to adjust their approach while maintaining the intensity that has served them well thus far.

As the season continues, all eyes will be on how the Azzurri are further able to build on these positive aspects of their game, especially as they look to utilise their midfielders more prominently in their forward advances.

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