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Luciano Spalletti’s Italy debuts with a dud as they draw with North Macedonia

Luciano Spalletti considered Italy’s performance in their 1-1 draw with North Macedonia to be “decent” but acknowledged that they “could have done more.”

Luciano Spalletti faltered in his start as the Azzurri head coach, with his team drawing against North Macedonia 1-1. It was a challenging debut for the new coach, who took over just nine days before the match following Roberto Mancini’s sudden resignation on August 13. Now, Spalletti plans to make changes in the next EURO 2024 qualifier against Ukraine.

Ciro Immobile scored the first goal of Spalletti’s era by nodding in the rebound from Nicolò Barella’s volley off the crossbar. However, Gianluigi Donnarumma was unable to stop Enis Bardhi’s powerful free kick.

Italy vs North Macedonia: Ciro Immobile to the rescue

“The suffering was when the game got messy and we were not ready to recreate the defensive solidity, so the clearances were often recaptured by their midfielders,” Spalletti told RAI Sport and Sky Sport Italia.

“However, the team played a decent game that we can work on. We didn’t allow them much and we lacked the patience to make the right passes, when we had the time and space to do so.

We could’ve done better with quality, as they were defending with five, so we could’ve split them easier.

Spalletti

“The only element we have is to study this game and try to find improvements, to work on the concepts that did not work well enough, and rewatching the video will be just as valuable as a training session.

“We could’ve done better with quality, as they were defending with five, so we could’ve split them easier. That was also inevitable with the state of the pitch, as it is not possible to pass with quality on that turf.”

Spalletti said that he did not sleep very much last night ahead of his debut on the Azzurri bench.

“I always sleep little. It’s natural there are emotions, because this game is not played in a stadium, it is all of Italy, Italians all over the world, who are in front of their televisions with us. I hope they saw and can judge us.”

The draw, and Ukraine’s 1-1 draw with England this evening, make it an increasingly tight and complicated group, with each team vying for the qualifying spots.

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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