Emanuele Giaccherini bids farewell to Italy Coach and 'champion' Antonio Conte, but welcomes Giampero Ventura: 'They are perfectly linked.'
The Sunderland midfielder was among the Azzurri's most prominent and surprising players at Euro 2016, keeping a very high standard in performances all the way until his team crashed out against Germany in the quarter-finals.
“It's a shame that it ended the way it did, but we have no regrets,” Giaccherini told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli. “We gave everything we had, we're going out with our heads held high, and we hope that starting from September we'll have another exciting two years.
“The draws weren't of the best, even at the World Cup we can't get anything so difficult," he said, in reference to Italy's contests against Belgium, Spain, Germany and eventually what would have been hosts France.
“Conte's departure means that we lose a true champion. Few are comparable, even from a human point of view. He impressed his image onto the group, but at the same time we're getting another great Coach like [Giampiero] Ventura, who breathes football and who is the perfect link after Conte.”
Among Italy's most satisfying games in the tournament was the 2-0 win over Spain, which came as a revenge after the 4-0 loss in the 2012 final.
“Beating Spain gave us greater awareness, but we already knew we were strong. Thanks to Conte we didn't feel like lambs on the altar. We played an open game against Germany and we kept up with them in the 120' before taking it to penalties.
“The greatest regret, in retrospect, is that beating Germany would have given us very great odds of winning the Euros. Being applauded upon our return home is something that makes us proud.”
Not all of the players became much more popular though, as Simone Zaza and Graziano Pelle both missed their penalties against the Germans.
“Unfortunately this is football too. I'm grateful to my teammates for having had the courage of stepping up to the penalty spot. It's easy to talk after the fact, but many great players missed a penalty in their careers.
“As for [Lorenzo] Insigne, he was sorry about being knocked out, just like the rest of us. It was an important experience for him and he showed his worth when he was given a chance.
“He's the future of the national team, along with many other youngsters. He was certainly very disappointed [about losing].
“My own future? I'm just going to enjoy returning home. My agents are at work right now.”
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