Leonardo Bonucci admits Italy didn’t have the right approach to their 2-0 defeat in Austria and struggled with the new system, but also felt bruised after ‘watching the World Cup opening ceremony.’

The Azzurri closed out 2022 with a disappointing 2-0 friendly defeat in Vienna, where the 3-4-3 tactical experiment flopped badly, but also the attitude seemed poor.

“We certainly weren’t our usual selves, especially in the first half. We made a lot of mistakes, though we knew that Austria were going to be aggressive, and allowed them too many spaces to attack into,” Bonucci told RAI Sport.

“It is clear that games like this are meant to help us grow and learn from the experience, also to get to know each other better.”

Perhaps adopting such a new system with barely a week together was something of a big gamble by Roberto Mancini and the risks were always there.

“The area we struggled with against Albania too was the preventative marking. Obviously, it takes time to work together and practice these movements, something we didn’t really have this time.

“The most important thing after all we’ve gone through in the last year is that there are many new talented Italian players who are ready to come through.”

The 3-4-3 experiment worked better in Wednesday’s 3-1 win away to Albania, whereas this evening it fell apart very quickly under Austria’s aggressive press.

“Perhaps we need to be more organised between the two midfielders and the three defenders, but again, that takes time to practice and get the movements synchronised. So it is still important that we work on it and see if this system can be useful for the future of the Italy side.”

It was perhaps inevitable the players would feel unmotivated considering this friendly kicked off just a few hours after the 2022 World Cup began in Qatar without them.

“It’s obvious we have great disappointment and sadness. Some of us watched the World Cup opening ceremony and that hurt. However, we cannot cry over spilt milk, that is the past and it cannot be changed now, we can only look to the future,” added Bonucci.

“Just like we built the European Championship squad after that World Cup disappointment, we can do it again for the Nations League and Euro qualifiers.”

4 thought on “Bonucci admits Italy ‘watched World Cup ceremony’ before Austria defeat”
  1. Fans seems very distant from the pitch.

    Hard to tell because Italy didn’t score and so the camera couldn’t capture them. I suppose Italian transplants living there could have been in attendance.

  2. Let forget about the disappointment and depression about the World Cup. We are Italy , we have won 4 world cups and 2 Euros . Only Germany are better !! We are superior to France and Spain . No comment re England !!

    The future is bright . This pain will be over shortly !


  3. Italy ALWAYS has trouble against aggressive teams that press, no matter what system they play in. Largely because Serie A, which is the football Italian players are used to, is not a pressing league. Teams sit back and wait for you and then react to what you do. Austria was in their face. At least up to the two goals. Then they played more compact and waited. Too bad. Always sucks to lose the last game you play in the year.

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