Connect with us

Italy

Chiellini wants to banish bad World Cup memories before ending Italy career


Palermo (Italy) (AFP) – Giorgio Chiellini said on Wednesday that he wants to close his Italy career by taking the Azzurri to the World Cup and scrubbing out his bad experiences in football’s biggest competition.

Captain Chiellini was part of the Italy side which missed out on the 2018 tournament in Russia.

But after shaking off a calf injury he could lead the team out in Palermo in Thursday’s play-off semi-final against North Macedonia, the first of potentially two matches which will decide their fate.

The 37-year-old won Euro 2020 last summer and reached the 2012 final but has had a difficult time in World Cups, as Italy were dumped out in the group stage both in 2010 and 2014 before slumping to a historic play-off defeat to Sweden in 2017.

He also suffered the ignomy of being bitten by Luis Suarez as Italy exited behind Uruguay and Costa Rica in 2014.

“I’ve always had great experiences at the Euro but bad ones at World Cups so let’s hope we can end things (his international career) on a positive note by deleting out those bad memories,” Chiellini told reporters.

Chiellini said that he is ready to play at the Stadio Renzo Barbera after overcoming a calf injury and playing 45 minutes in Juventus’ 2-0 win over Salernitana at the weekend.

“I’m doing good, I’ve trained well in the last few days,” he said. 

“A couple of weeks ago I had some doubts but I’ve managed to recover and I’m happy to be here…. Let’s see what happens between today and tomorrow.”

Italy head into Thursday’s match missing at least three of their starting back four unavailable and Federico Chiesa on the sidelines until next season with a knee injury.

They will also have to face one of Turkey or Portugal away if they get past North Macedonia, meaning a first participation at the World Cup since Suarez took a chunk out of Chiellini eight years ago is far from guaranteed.

And the manner in which they threw away an automatic spot in November, with four draws in their final five qualifiers, has punctured the enthusiasm which followed Euro victory.

The failure to qualify in 2017 launched Italy’s revival and eventual triumph at Wembley in July, and winning the Qatar World Cup is a stated objective of coach Roberto Mancini.

“It’s since that November when we didn’t qualify for the World Cup that we’ve been thinking about it to be honest but we can’t go into the game with too much pressure on ourselves otherwise you get a kind of block,” added Chiellini.

“We need to go out there and do what we know how to do best.”

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Italy

Translate »