Giorgio Chiellini enjoyed his Italy comeback and was not surprised by the 1-0 win in the Netherlands. ‘We’ve been playing at a high level for two years.’
The Azzurri resumed their victorious streak with their 12th in 13 games thanks to a Nicolò Barella header in Amsterdam.
“We prepared well for this game and have been playing at a high level for the last two years,” the captain told RAI Sport.
“After so many months under lockdown and a strange summer too, it wasn’t easy to get back on track. We won against a great team and probably deserved a few more goals.
“When we got tired towards the end, we also did well to defend, because that’s part of the game too, you have to roll your sleeves up at times.”
This was Chiellini’s first Italy game in over a year, since his anterior cruciate ligament injury.
“I did miss playing on a ‘big’ pitch, as the training ground turf is never quite as large, so it takes a while to get the hang of the distances and I missed the tension of a real game. I’m happy to be back.”
Of course, Chiellini was meant to be in the starting XI against Bosnia-Herzegovina rather than Francesco Acerbi on Friday, but Roberto Mancini didn’t have his glasses on when reviewing the squad list and did not spot the error.
“I believe in fate and I think it was my destiny that I should play here instead,” smiled the Juventus defender.
“We’re top of the group now, I think deservedly, and we want to continue along this path over the next few months.”
Poland earned a 2-1 victory away to Bosnia-Herzegovina this evening, so Italy go top of their Nations League group with four points, followed by the Netherlands and Poland on three, Bosnia with one.
There was one shadow over tonight’s event in Amsterdam, as Nicolò Zaniolo limped off with a knee injury and there are fears it’s another ACL tear.
“We’re sorry for Zaniolo and have our fingers crossed that the tests don’t show what we all fear it might be.”
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