Mancini continues to pamper his center forward, who slams and works dirty in the blue but is not Lazio’s relentless bomber. Against the British he should always be there, but there is a last minute idea …
Last call, they say here. Last call. For everyone and for him a little more than for everyone: tonight we will win a European and Ciro Immobile, if so, also a piece of tomorrow. But the doubt that has crept into Mancini’s mind is of today: another act of faith, or being carried away by the instinct to change precisely in extremis, trust in Belotti, but more easily in the old idea of the “false nine” (Bernardeschi or Insigne). A shock for the team and maybe a slap in the face of England. It is the destiny of Immobile in the national team: he must have come to think that it is a kind of nemesis for the untouchability he has earned in Lazio, where the ease he has shown for years in scoring makes the effort of being the same man seem a mystery goals also with Italy. And the fact that they are two teams playing very differently is not enough to explain it.
The labors of Ciro
Yet Ciro should be there tonight, still he at the center of the attack, sixth game as a starter out of the seven played by Italy: Mancini has chosen not to choose for a long time, especially between him and Belotti, but then the coach when he does not deny quickly. Maybe he thinks about it, but does not neglect what he has seen: Immobile, especially in recent months, has made more steps towards the team than, perhaps, the team has made to get closer to his way of being an attacker. He denied, yes, a little of his DNA, to become a center forward “as a national”, this national team. He was slammed to accompany her to the door, when usually she is accompanied: an effort made of kilometers, runs and chases, sacrifices, banks, fruits collected with sweat. Sometimes hidden, but there was: no one in this European has shot (12 times) and scored (three goals) as much as Italy following offensive recoveries and he too has set foot on it, by dint of insisting.
Pampering from all
Then, given that the watchword of this Italy is “have fun”, it will be nice to ask him, when he can answer, if he too has always enjoyed being the center forward. Certainly at times the nervousness has won over enjoying the moment, the instinct of the attacker who is hungry for goals has overwhelmed making himself available to the team. And the trespass has produced shots or forced solutions, fatigue hasty solutions. For this Mancini does not give peace, one of the last times in the semifinals, when Ciro with a wrong external support for Insigne transformed a restart in favor of Spain on the counterattack: the coach swore and then went to take a sip of water on the bench, to boil. But his trust in Immobile up to now has been in the facts, not only in the pampering that Ciro says he needs: “Everyone needs it – said the coach yesterday – especially after 50 days spent together, but I’m happy with the work that Ciro did, as well as that of all the forwards ”.
The challenge with Kane
In reality, there are many who pamper Ciro and his “dirty work”, an honor that everyone, inside and outside the team, pin on his chest. And everyone hopes, even before foreseeing it, that he can be the man of the final: the last one was Pippo Inzaghi yesterday, one who knew about finals. One who in the national team scored almost a goal every two games. No building: he is still at 15, always a step behind Toni and Vialli, who pushes him off the bench to join him. The most recent balance – five goals in the last eight as a starter – is still an opening of credit, but to be reconfirmed: in the last three he went into prolonged braking. Unlike Harry Kane, who in the most recent streak of 27 games with England scored 19 goals and distributed nine assists: the incidence of Ciro in the last 33 games, those of Italy’s unbeaten still alive, was of eight goals out of the team’s 86. Unbalanced comparison, but tonight even one could be enough to put a lot of accounts in order: only the right call, not the last one.
July 11 – 00:50
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