Having won the 2021 edition of the European Championships, Italy would have arrived in Qatar in 2022 as among the favourites. Now, the Italians have crashed out in embarrassing fashion – losing to North Macedonia in Palermo. It was a huge shock, and one that is likely to change the entire direction of the Italian football project. With an ailing domestic league and precious little young Italian players being given a chance, there is a fear that the World Cup drought – which now extends to two tournaments – will continue.
For some, it is time to rip it all up and start again. Many pundits agreed that Roberto Mancini should stay, but that the entire focus and style of the Italian game has to change. Among the most passionate in these comments was Fabio Capello. The former Milan, Juventus, England, and Russia boss was absolutely scathing in his comments after the exit.
Having watched Italy crash out, Capello said that it was time for Italian football to stop trying to mimic a Pep Guardiola style of play. Instead, they should look to a more up-tempo, high-energy style imposed by the likes of Jurgen Klopp.
What did Fabio Capello say about Italian football?
Never one to hold back his views on anything, Capello was clearly emotional as he covered the game for Sky Sports Italia. Speaking about the problems that Italian football faces at the moment, he was clear that the problems are pretty specific.
Speaking about the issues on Sky Sport Italia, Capello noted: “Italian football has imitated Guardiola for 15 years. There were no vertical passes or physical strength, there is no habit to making challenges. On the other hand, we should follow Jurgen Klopp’s playing style.”
Speaking about who Italy should look to for inspiration, Capello noted: “The only ones doing that in Italy are Atalanta and look at their results. Vincenzo Italiano is trying something similar, same as Alexander Blessin at Genoa who is offering even something more than Klopp. The German way is the model to follow, we don’t have the technique to look at the Spanish one.”
Capello also lamented the lack of opportunities being given to young players within the Italian domestic league. Speaking about this, the Italian refrained: There are not enough young Italian players, but there is a wrong idea at its base. We are the country of the back pass to the goalkeeper.”
Interestingly, too, he also took aim at the quality of the Italian domestic league. Having seen many praise its revival in recent years, the return to poor performances in Europe left Capello to ask just how good some of the Serie A stars actually are.
He stated that “Victor Osimhen, Romelu Lukaku and Tammy Abraham were just normal strikers abroad. They became champions in Italy. This should raise some questions.”
For Italy, then, there is much soul-searching to be done if they wish to finally return to the good old days.