Sunday March 25 2018
Costacurta got it all wrong

In one extraordinarily clumsy conference, FIGC figure Alessandro Costacurta proved why the Italian national team is in such chaos, writes Susy Campanale

Some thought it an odd choice when Alessandro ‘Billy’ Costacurta, the former Milan defender and current television pundit, was chosen to be co-Commissioner of the FIGC. He was tasked with choosing and negotiating with a new Coach for the Italy squad, but in a Press conference on Saturday managed to do everything wrong.

Here is what Costacurta said to the media and what message came across.


“We will tell you the name of the new Coach on May 20.”


Marvellous, a specific date. A pity then that only the day before that, FIGC Commissioner Roberto Fabbricini – technically Costacurta’s superior – had declared he wasn’t sure whether Italy would have a tactician by the time a friendly against France rolls around in June. If anyone thought there was a united front within the Federation, even a makeshift one, then they were sadly mistaken.


“If we have the opportunity to get someone better than Gigi Di Biagio, and I don’t think there are many, then we will."


This was the nugget of the ill-fated Press conference from Costacurta, the ultimate back-handed compliment. He simultaneously managed to make clear Di Biagio is by no means their first choice, nor the best option, but he is the most available. Imagine those as your wedding vows and see if your partner has already found a divorce lawyer midway through the first dance.

The Nazionale isn’t a job anyone would want to take on right now, let alone a Coach who is already under a rich contract elsewhere. Carlo Ancelotti fears it’ll put his legacy at risk, but it could be just what he needs after the surprise Bayern Munich sacking and bitter end to his Real Madrid experience. Antonio Conte has been there and done that, so should learn from Marcello Lippi that second stints on the Azzurri bench rarely go well. Roberto Mancini is handsomely-paid at Zenit St Petersburg and frankly a massive risk for the Federation to bet on.

However, Costacurta confessing as much in front of the media while pointing to interim boss Di Biagio as some sort of managerial booby prize is not helpful.


“I think it’s more important to think about the players we have, because I doubt Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola would’ve done better yesterday.”


Not content with insulting his Coach, Costacurta moved on to denigrating an entire generation of Italian players as inferior and unmanageable. I don’t buy this idea that there is no talent in the squad, it’s simply a matter of finding a way to get the best out of them as a unit.

Most of the young talents coming through were expected to shine at the European Under-21 Championships in 2017, but they failed to deliver on their undoubted potential. Who was the tactician in charge? Gigi Di Biagio.

Besides all of that, Costacurta is right about one thing: Mourinho or Guardiola would not have done better. That’s because Mou has been exposed as the Catenaccio-and-counter charlatan he really always was and Guardiola needed a whole year of intensive training to get Manchester City playing his football. Neither would be suited to the role of Italy CT.

This is a position that requires a selector of players more than a Coach in the Maurizio Sarri mould, someone who can work out how best to use his resources in a very short space of time and get those ideas across with minimal practice. Basically, Italy need Ancelotti.

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Have your say...
I agree Sam. Giovinco and if someone can keep Balo tame, would add something we're currently missing.
on the 30th March, 2018 at 4:59am
Insigne really needs to raise him game for Italy, he isn't doing anything like enough in games. The penalty last night took away the spotlight from this I feel. The issue we have is our lack of quality strikers, unless we can remedy this we are going nowhere. I don't understand why we don't call Balotelli and Giovinco give them an opportunity. They cant be any worse than Immobile. Why di biagio didn't play Cutrone or Verdi last night god only knows.
on the 28th March, 2018 at 11:50am
In response to Jenks. At no point have I ever said Mario is the saviour. The reality is Immobile isn't international quality as he again proved last night emphatically. Belotti currently is doing nothing and looks a shadow of the player last season. Cutrone and Chiesa are raw and need time. So based on form Mario should be in the squad. Whether you are a fan or not of him, the reality is we need him. Balo and Giovinco should be in the squad. Immobile has 7 goals in 32 games for Italy.
on the 28th March, 2018 at 11:43am
A coach who understands nothing about tactics is charged with bringing youth into the mens team and loses to a decently equipped Argentina team. I mean let's face it, Argentina is good without Messi, but with Messi they're a heavy weight, and Insigne loses the match when he couldn't bury an open net and we're broken into pieces again? We haven't even picked ourselves up. DiBiagio is warming the bench for the real coach.. They're not going to be contenders overnight. Our expectations are skewed.
on the 27th March, 2018 at 10:08am
Sam De Martino, I'm afraid you don't understand much of quality calcio.

This is 2018! Do you have a short memory? Yes, yes, let's bring Maradona back (Balotelli, I mean). He can be the saviour of our Nazionale! Ze Master of No Goals in ze French Ligue! Sacre Bleu! My God....
on the 26th March, 2018 at 9:49pm
In response to Lino. You are right for Conte or Ancelotti to take the job as things are they would have to be 99p short of a £1 and neither of them have at any point given that impression. Tommasi in my view was the man who should have been elected, his ideas to improve things where great and he has more integrity and respect in his little finger than the whole of the FIGC put together. If we cant get Conte or Ancelotti then Ranieri has to be the next best bet.
on the 26th March, 2018 at 7:31pm
@ Sam....

Totally agree with everything you have said, except for one.... You say there is no light at the end of the tunnel, well there is! Unfortunately, however, it is an oncoming TRAIN!!!

You are all calling for Conte, or Ancelotti. Another unfortunate fact is that neither of those two are dumb enough to step onto that track.

Certainly NOT until the 'organization' is fixed, completely, from top to bottom.
on the 26th March, 2018 at 5:21pm
Agree with most of the article - just another generation of people with the right names ushered through it seems - but everyone saying we need a selector not a coach, which may be partly true, but look what a difference a coach, like Conte, can make. If it's a selector then get anyone here to choose, or hold a vote. I'd still like Mancini to get a chance, Ancelotti another who wanted a club job but, okay, I'll do it then...
on the 26th March, 2018 at 9:34am
Sorely lacking in critical areas on the pitch, Italy desperately needs a winning experienced coach to make our youth grow and believe again that they can win again!
Ancelotti is the logical choice for this role, money being the big hurdle here Italy needs to get this deal done to move in the right direction as our team is in a disarray as we can no longer compete with big teams, these are definitely the worst of times
for our azzurri
on the 26th March, 2018 at 3:00am
immobile FOR ME at best a provincial player,same goes for zappacosta and Parolo...Balotelli should get a call up imo!
on the 26th March, 2018 at 12:15am
Antonio is still the go to coach which for me is ahead of Ancelotti....for me Ancelotti if! he were to accept it would be out of pity and angst for his country in which Antonio Conte would do it out of pride and allegiance for his country.TRUE WARRIOR.
on the 26th March, 2018 at 12:09am
It's imperative to select TE BEST PLAYERS regardless of their age.

And try to achieve the very best possible with them.

The goal is to PLAN WELL for every different 2 years cycle, World Cup & European.
on the 26th March, 2018 at 12:08am
Irony is Antonio Conte pointed out the holes the year prior from accepting the national teams coaching position, and pointed out the flaws in our system prior to the euro's.
on the 26th March, 2018 at 12:04am
I would honestly thank Argentina for exposing our obvious holes we have in our system and game approach.We seriously have a mountain of a problem to figure out and the sooner the very least the better.We have the players we have the intellect we have the history.What we don't have is the vision of how to go forward and its that simple.All Italy has to do is look over into Germany and Spain to see how they have implemented the NATIONAL YOUTH ACADEMY'S and development structures and facilities.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 11:58pm
we've been down this lonely road before in 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 and present 2018, A no show at the world cup,GOIN DOWN THE SLIPPERY SLOPE INTO AN ABYSS, thing's for certain is that NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN OUR SYSTEM IN THE LAST 10 YEARS.In my honest to goodness opinion the only way is up now in sense of we must quadruple in investing in our youth academy's and completely change our vision of calcio on how it should be played.FORMATIONS FORMATIONS DECISIONS DECISIONS ETC ETC,.!!!!!!!!!!
on the 25th March, 2018 at 11:48pm
...Was the lineup that bad? Many people have been dying to see Jorginho and Insigne play in their roles...I've also seen many calls for Rugani to replace Chiellini. I'm honestly not sure Italy can field a much stronger team at the moment. Parolo would be another that I would have changed, I forgot about him. Crystante should have started in his place. How would you improve on that lineup?
on the 25th March, 2018 at 10:31pm
I am pleased Susy wrote this article because when I read Costacurta's comments I thought perhaps they were sound bites taken out of context, but obviously not.
Since Italy's elimination at the hands of Sweden, several ex players have been quoted on the football Italia web site citing the need for an overhaul of Italian football from club youth coaching sector through to the National squads at each age level, eg Canavaro, Zola, Tommasi etc.
To me, this is really the crux of the problem.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 7:48pm
He's just not a polished politician, you know like a good liar. He was trying to give DiBiagio a compliment. You know, like "he's a good coach, not many better, but we'll be replacing him!" The coach has already been hired. They're just waiting to collect money.

I'm here to put your mind at ease.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 7:04pm
Di Rocco - You would pick the same lineup, but use Balo up top? Go to sleep.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 6:15pm
Carlo is a coming!!!
on the 25th March, 2018 at 4:58pm
Italy needs a proven winner as coach. Ancelotti has done that all over, Conte did it with Juve, Chelsea last season and almost got through Euro 2016 as well.
It has to be one of those two. Mancini hasn't won anything significant for long time. And Di Biagio failed at 2 Euro U-21. How can he suddenly win with the national team?
on the 25th March, 2018 at 4:18pm
Nah, he was brutally honest and I respect that.

We need reforms, not compliments and half-assed solutions.

We need to accept the truth, make reforms, and bide our time.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 3:24pm
We need a manager like Conte or Ancelotti. A manager that inspires the players they can do great things, a manager that believes in them, a manager with direction. A manager players will fight tooth and nail for. A manager that develops the mentality of its us against the world. No one believed in Ventura and he failed to inspire anyone and in my view Di Biagio is the same. If players dont believe in what they are doing they cant play with any freedom or truly express themselves without fear.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 3:20pm
We have good players but when they put an Italy shirt on they look like different players. Would Jorginho have made the mistake he made for the first goal if he was playing for Napoli, highly unlikely. I again put this down to pressure and naturally a complete and utter lack of confidence. Conte convinced the players that played in euro 16 that they where world class when the majority where average, but with that self belief we nearly got to the semi final. There is currently no self belief.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 3:14pm
Calabria, Caldara, Romagnoli, Palmieri, Conti, Marchisio, Barella, Balotelli, Giovinco. I know some are injured but all need to be in next squad in my view if fit. Is Diawara eligible yet, I think he would be a good addition going forward. Undoubtedly mentally we are fragile, in my view we need an expert employed to work on the mental side of the players. After missing the WC the burden everytime we play is so high that unless the players are mentally strong they will sink.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 3:08pm
How can Balotelli not be called up. We are toothless in attack and have been since losing to Spain. Immobile is great in serie a but not international class. Insigne is rubbish for Italy. Belotti has scored hardly any goals this season and has had injury problems. Balotelli, Giovinco and even Zaza would be better options. Buffon had a good game, saved us a few times but this needs to be it. Donnarumma and Perin need to start playing games. We need to look forward not back.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 3:03pm
There is no light at the end of the tunnel. Costacurta is clueless as is the whole FIGC. Nothing has changed or will change, we cant even elect a president. As I have said so many times Di Biagio is a complete joke, he failed at 2 u21 euros with squad that should have won or at least got to the final. The next coach will be Di Biagio or Mancini, god help us with both of these. At least Mancini has won things, di biagio has won nothing and has failed miserably as a manager so far.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 2:57pm
If I could pick an Italy team it would have looked nearly identical to the one Di Biaggio picked. I would have used Balotelli instead of Immobile. Let these players figure out each other's movements are and get used to playing as a unit and we are moving in the right direction. There is no individual player or coach that can get the job done. It's going to take consistent squad selection and time for the team to work. This is not a golden generation, but we have good players and they can do well
on the 25th March, 2018 at 2:54pm
Man, Italia fans are the most impatient bunch of people I've ever seen. A SINGLE game with 4-3-3 under a different coach and you lot are making snap judgments. Pathetic. Literally, the first time for: Insigne playing in his natural position; Verratti and Jorginho playing together in a meaningful way; Chiesa's first cap; Rugani taking on a key role; the list could go on...If we want to rebuild, it's going to take time and patience. Things don't magically get better overnight.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 2:49pm
... towards retirement. Instead they are getting paid to work outside of Italy ie China,Spain,etc. they working with a hungry younger youth coach could help produce winning talent. Instilling pride and passion back. Passing on the knowledge,wisdom the ex greats learned to next generations. Instead of criticizing or critiques from a distance.while the federation is crumbling to the ground.
on the 25th March, 2018 at 1:53pm

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