Former Italy CT Roberto Donadoni felt the Azzurri suffered ‘a physical and mental decline’ after winning EURO 2020. ‘I refuse to think that we must avoid Portugal’.

Italy didn’t manage to find a way past Northern Ireland on Monday – with the match in Belfast ending in a 0-0 draw – and thus finished second in Group C of the World Cup Qualifiers.

World Cup play-offs: Who Italy could face

The 58-year-old, however, believes Roberto Mancini’s men are still going to the World Cup next year.

“Italy suffered a physical and mental decline, but no defeatism,” Donadoni told La Repubblica. “I don’t conceive excesses.

“In football, it’s increasingly difficult to find balance. The most obvious defect of Italy was the lack of competitive aggression. But I exclude it was due to lack of motivation, if anything I noticed a physical condition lower than the usual.

“The play-off is no catastrophe. I refuse to think that we must avoid Portugal: it’s a sign of weakness.”

The former midfielder, who has been without a job since he left Shenzhen FC in August 2020, guided the Azzurri to the quarter-finals of EURO 2008.

Donadoni replaced Marcello Lippi as the Italy CT after the World Cup triumph in 2006 and stayed until after the European Championship two years later.

8 thought on “Donadoni: ‘Italy suffered physical and mental decline’”
  1. I agree with Donadoni mostly, good out look on it all; but not qualifying in first place is pretty dire considering the level of opposition in the group and the fact we had qualification in our hands and just threw it away!

  2. They will miss their 2nd straight World Cup. Bunch of idiots.

    This lack of qualification is on Mancini. Period.

  3. Stop! Take a breath everybody. I am Italy’s biggest fan , But let’s be realistic here. Of course there’s going to be a let down after winning the euros and go in 37 games without a loss! Let’s not underscore the significance and the achievement of that . Mancini needs to be hailed old is one of the greatest coaches of all time in any sport . I’m the last guy in the world they wanted to see us in this position but I know we’re going to pull through and go to this World Cup we got the horses man we just need to put them in the right order. By the way 100% Italian here born in America. Viva Italia! Viva Mancini! FORZA AZZURRI!

  4. I will say this though. If you are watching Canada and CONMEBOL Qualifiers, you can see how much swagger Canada are playing with. I get it, CONCACAF is not UEFA so let’s speak like-for-like.

    Canada is not afraid of punching Mexico in the mouth (omni present at the World Cup and always get out of the Group, do well against Italy). Going to the USA and taking a Point and could have even won it. Canada will give the USA a sucker punch in January, watch. They beat Costa Rica convincingly despite the scoreline. Something Gli Azzurri couldn’t do in 2014.

    They are playing with flair, skill, cynicism (what is needed in CONCACAF) and are bullying teams. Alphonso Davies, to me, along with our very own Spina and Theo Hernandez, the best Left FB’s in the world. Buchanon has flair and skill. They didn’t even start Jonathan David against Mexico and he is the leading scorer amongst in Ligue 1. If Jonathan David was on Italy, we would have bagged a couple versus the Swiss and Northern Irish.

    Italy needs to re-ignite that fire that had them do so well the last few years. Clearly Mancio is trying to transmit calm and keep away the nervous vibes. You can hear it with what he says. But we have a group of players resting on their laurels and not taking things seriously and making excuses. Too busy spending the September callup filming a commercial for a sponsor instead of prepping to bag full Points. These 2 Draws in September annoy me like you wouldn’t believe.

    He needs to ask each player individually if they want to play for Italy. If not, give them a handshake and excuse them. We need somebody to do what Totti did in Roma’s scudetto-winning year and make them sign a scudetto-winning pact. Italy players need to sign a World Cup-Qualifying pact.4

    As of right now, Barella looks like he hasn’t slept in a year, Chiesa is spinning his wheels out there, they are on a stroll out there.

    Donadoni makes a great point though. You don’t want to start with “I hope to avoid Portugal”. Last thing you need to do is prepare the excuses 4.5 Months in advance. He’s not wrong.

    Keep in mind that Portugal will not have Joao Cancelo, as well as another player, due to card accumulation in the 2nd Round. If you recall Cancelo also didn’t play at Euro 2020 because he contracted the virus. He is important for them so they may be in worse shape than we are.

  5. The biggest problem is Mancio loyalty to some of the players even when they don’t play well. I get it but it resulted in 3 draws against mediocre teams. The team is deflated amd drained which is understandable after the amazing Euro they had. But the team needs new players who are hungry to win. Many haven’t played well since the Euros amd need a break. Revamp the defense, midfield amd offense. Keep the experienced one like Insigne amd Immobile on the bench – but they are tired amd show it. The lack of running amd fluidity also shows a technical decline. Why keep Insigne as a false 9 when he couldn’t play the position? Mr. Mancini make the tough changes before it’s too late!

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