Italian football has been given a boost after three of the country’s clubs reached European finals this season, said national team coach Roberto Mancini ahead of this week’s Nations League campaign in the Netherlands.
Although Inter Milan lost to Manchester City in the Champions League on Saturday, AS Roma was edged by Sevilla on penalties in the Europa League final and Fiorentina was beaten by a last-gasp goal from West Ham United in the Europa Conference League, it was a shot in the arm for Italy.
“That was very positive for us. I think they were very unfortunate because none of the three deserved to lose their respective finals,” Mancini told a press conference on Wednesday.
“But occasionally football is cruel and strange. It went badly even though all three probably could have won. And in the Under-20 World Cup, Italy made it to the final and we shouldn’t play that down. They did a very good job. They’re good players.”
Italy faces Spain on Thursday in the Nations League semifinal in the Dutch city of Enschede.
The competition offers Mancini’s side the opportunity to win a trophy after failing to qualify for the last two World Cups.
“We have reached the Nations League finals for the second time and it’s a good achievement, especially because we played the group stage with several youngsters,” added Mancini.
“Winning the trophy would be very important, obviously, and we will certainly give our best.”
On potential team selection, Mancini said: “Ciro Immobile had several injuries after the last Euros. Now he is fit and I’m happy to have him here. I have seen Nicolo Zaniolo doing very well in training, he has a chance to play.
“Maybe Federico Chiesa does not have 90 minutes in his legs but his form has improved a lot.”
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