Cannavaro: “We are stronger than Portugal. And CR7 is less mobile”

The 2006 Golden Ball: “I trust in Bonucci and Chiellini, the mentality seen at the European Championship will be needed”

Maurizio Nicita

Fabio Cannavaro knows how to do it. In November 1997 he was on the pitch in his Naples when Italy won 1-0 (Casiraghi’s goal) against Russia in the play-off for the World Cup in France ’98. “But it was all another football. We were very strong. And we passed despite … my only own goal in blue, in the first leg to Moscow. So strong that then at the World Cup we only went out on penalties in the quarterfinals against France who won the title. But things were different. “

Yes, with Cesare Maldini we were still playing free …

“True. But if we want with Costacurta behind me and Ciro Ferrara in practice it was already the projection of the modern three-man defense. I speak of different situations because that was a real play-off and with a home and away match at the end the strongest passed. Now this formula does not convince me. Dry match. Then it is more fair to play it on a neutral field. Even the semifinal “.

Does he say this because he is not afraid of North Macedonia?

“The opponents all respect each other. But if Italy once played at their own levels, they have nothing to fear from such a team. But it is clear that on a neutral pitch it would be more correct for everyone. Even if …”.

“Portugal are strong, but be careful because in these dry matches you have to beat anxiety. And at this point they will surely have more of them playing at home. If we pick up the thread, we will pass. Italy with its own history and personality. wrote great pages on the opposing pitch. So we won with Zoff the European semifinal against the Netherlands in 2000 in Amsterdam, in front of an orange wall. Then I think of the world semifinal against Germany 2006, won in Dortmund with 70 thousand Germans in the stands and Lippi who continued to include strikers. Finally, the final of the European Championship with England, won in a big way in London by the boys from Mancio. Who then paid the same pressure at the Olimpico against Switzerland. .

Rangnick, who will lead Manchester United, 5 years ago gave the “old” to Cristiano Ronaldo: can the feeling (which is not there) create problems for the Portuguese?

“I don’t think so. CR7 will live for that match with Italy because he wants the World Cup. And surely he will always be the most dangerous because you can criticize him as much as you want but he continues to score a host of goals. We trust in Chellini and Bonucci who know his team well. movements. Cristiano is no longer mobile as he was a few years ago and maybe this can benefit us “.

“Recover the many players who were injured in November. I think of Immobile that many criticize but who gives depth and sprints a thousand times, putting any defense in difficulty. And then the quality midfielders. Like Verratti and Pellegrini who weren’t there at the European Championship. . And maybe in March Spinazzola will also be ready so Mancini has valid alternatives in the squad, like in the European Championship. “

By the way, perhaps it would be better to erase that victory from the mind, also for the gratitude of the coach

“I think ours are intelligent guys. And in these recent disappointing performances they have understood that we need to raise our heads without looking back, forgetting the past. Maybe against Switzerland Roberto made some choices of gratitude, but he had no alternative”.

What will the championship have to do to “push” Italy to the World Cup?

“First of all, postpone the day of March 20 to allow for a minimum of preparation work. And then raise the pace of the matches, with the referees having to learn to stop the game less. On this aspect we still” pay “duty at the international level. seen last Sunday an Inter-Napoli as a Premier, but it’s only a match. Then in the Champions League we also see Juve scoring 4 goals from Chelsea. Mancini is right to continue with his idea of ​​a game that has made us modern and competitive. But everything the movement must push in the same direction “.

“Yes. If we continue the growth path on the game and return those of the European as a mentality. We are Italy and you can be sure that in Portugal they are more sorry to meet the 4-time World Champion national team”.

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Cannavaro: “We are stronger than Portugal. And CR7 is less mobile”