Belotti: ‘Italy forwards must take some of the blame’

by | Nov 15, 2021 23:00

Andrea Belotti believes Italy’s forwards ‘must take some of the blame’ for their failure to win the World Cup qualifying group, but also saw the players physically drained after the Euros.

The Azzurri had been a dominant force in this group and in general over the summer, winning UEFA EURO 2020 and setting a new all-time world unbeaten record of 37 international matches.

However, since the semi-final with Spain, they have won only two games within 90 minutes, drawing six and losing 2-1 to Spain in the Nations League.

They missed first place in the World Cup group after a 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland this evening, as Switzerland thrashed Bulgaria 4-0.

“There is great bitterness and disappointment, because we had qualification in our hands, but at times football can turn like that. It’s very disappointing,” Belotti told RAI Sport.

“We have to take some of the blame, not just today, but also the many chances we failed to convert against Switzerland. We had so many opportunities over the last few games and the ball just didn’t want to go in.

“Unfortunately, possession counts for little if the ball doesn’t go into the net.”

Torino striker Belotti inevitably looked at the forced changes in the Italy squad after losing 11 players due to injury for this match, including Ciro Immobile, Marco Verratti, Giorgio Chiellini and Lorenzo Pellegrini.

“It is largely a physical issue, in my view, as we had so many injuries and have been playing basically for two years non-stop. We had to make so many changes, losing players and calling others in. It’s a sign we need to recharge the batteries and be ready for March.

“The coach spoke to us, but the things we say in the dressing room should stay there. Our focus is already looking ahead to March.”

The route to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is trickier than in the 2018 edition, as there are 12 teams and only three will progress to the competition proper.


  1. TsoBHung

    There is no time to save Jorginho’s ass, just care about yours first.

  2. Saeid Hussein

    Pellegirini and al shariawi left means nothing midfields attacks

  3. Tardelliscream

    Excuses, excuses..other teams have had injuries, played non stop for 2 years too. The striker point however is exactly the problem. We all know it, Italy haven’t had a good enough striker for many years now. Mancini has no answer. We were lucky at Euros, we won with 2 Penalty shoot outs. Most our goals came from midfield and wing positions. Ultimately Italy will not qualify due to not being able to score, lots of possession and slow build up is easy to defend against in the modern game. Without a WC striker what claim can we have over expecting to win anything?

  4. Leon Del Gaudio

    Italy will not be at the world cup if Mancini keeps playing these players and this false 9 which doesn’t work. It’s time to look at young strikers in Serie B as we are desperate.

  5. Grande

    Seriously FI if i have to put up with the pop up video, please for Gods sake change it up a bit…..enough of Goran Pandev’s Academy in northern Macedonia

  6. Maldinis heir

    I don’t understand the striker issue. The strikers we have score goals for their clubs arguably against tougher defences.

    And Switzerland does not have better strikers than Italy.

    It’s again one of those mysteries of football that the exact same players struggle in slightly different conditions.

    It’s not even tactical since Belotti and Immobile miss one v ones for Italy that they would never miss for their clubs.

    I don’t know what the solution is but the false nine doesn’t really work. Italy under Mancini can play down beautiful football but having a proper CF gives them the ability to mix things up a bit.

  7. Alec

    Mancini only really has 2 options.
    1. Make Immobile captain, and center EVERYTHING in attack around him, while he always plays 90 minutes (even if he is playing poorly and missed 10-20 chances, unless of course he is injured). It is a very dangerous gamble, but with this level of support, then that is what made Immobile perform for Lazio. How Simone Inzaghi made him find his greatness. Immobile missed A LOT of chances for Lazio, but he keeps working for the next chance, and many chances are only there, because he did the work for it.

    2. Drop Immobile completely. The same with Belotti (we keep talking about Immobile, but why is Belotti even in the team?), and just go completely for the generation change. We are talking committing to Pinamonti, Scamacca, and Kean, who are not good enough yet, but at least have potential to grow. Maybe Crutone if he starts scoring goals…

    There is no middle ground, and Mancini is failing at the moment from trying to micromanage a situation that needs a macro-solution. Belotti is not good enough for Italy, he is just another Zaza as far as I can see, and Immobile should be perfect, but is just not performing.

    Mancini does not need a lot of external and uninformed opinions, but he needs to choose. Is he going to make Immobile shine, or is he just going to accept he cannot have a good striker in his system, and then go for youth.

    Of course, there is also the options of changing how Italy plays, but considering the wingers and midfielders available, then it makes no sense to move away from a 4-3-3.

    It would be nice to see Mancini have the balls to make a proper choice about Immobile, and just what he wants to do with the Italy striker position.

    And he can reasonably gamble on Immobile, because even if he does, then he will likely be the last Italy coach to select Immobile, who turn 32 i February. Then the next Italy coach in the future can also have a free hand, in who he wants to be the post-Immobile prima punta.

    One would also do well to remember that Italy has not won anything for almost 40 years, when they depended on one play for the goals…


    I agree with some points raised but not all. The false 9 only came about due to Immobile giving forfait and Belotti not 100% fit. Lucca is doing well but in my opinion not yet there 100%. Last night, we played the worse football under Mancio. We do have time to recover hopefully some good players such as ELS, Zaniola, Pellegrini et cetera. Thank God, the play offs are in 4 months time but lets all be honest, the chances were there and we failed especially with the 2 pens that Jorginho missed. I hope we have good sides in our group which will make us play. The beauty of this system, no one wants a Draw!

  9. Burky

    Just tell bloody Berrardi and Insigne to don’t choose to be selfish at the wrong moments…

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