An engaging meeting. A duel with history. This Wednesday, from 3:45 p.m., the selection of the Argentina will face Italy in the Finalissime, the cup that is at stake between the last champions of the Copa América and the European Championship. The match will be played at Wembley, the legendary stadium located in the capital of England, and will be directed by Piero Maza and televised by ESPN.
Lionel Messi’s Argentina will have a very demanding test which will serve as a test bed for the Qatar World Cup. And the rival is quite a question mark, as Italy are still bruised after failing to qualify for the World Cup, but they are still a very cautious rival with top footballers.
On the example of Artemio Franchi Cupplayed twice (1985 and 1993), Conmebol and UEFA, within the framework of their good relations and a collaboration agreement, decided to give new life to a tournament which would decide the “super champion” between the monarchs of both confederations with the greatest tradition and history of world football.
Argentina he won the 1993 Artemio Franchi Cup, with Diego Maradona, beating Denmark in a penalty shootout in Mar del Plata. Now, hand in hand with Messi, he will aspire to lift another Intercontinental trophy, less than a year after winning the Copa América in Brazil.
Italy He earned his right to be in this Finalissima by winning the European Championship last July, beating England in the final in a penalty shootout at Wembley, precisely the stadium where the match is played. this Wednesday.
However, the Italians and Argentines arrive with very different feelings. Argentina, with a new impetus from their coach Lionel Scaloni, qualified for the World Cup without difficulty and in the last match against Ecuador (1-1) in March managed to equal his official record of consecutive games without losing, the 31 achieved by Alfio Basile’s team between 1991 and 1993. The ‘Scaloneta’ can now leave that mark behind, almost three decades later. “We have to be ready to know that a moment of difficulty may come, even if everything goes well now,” Scaloni warned during the last window of the World Cup qualifiers in the South American zone.
In Italy, the situation is very different. The European Championship title and a 37-match unbeaten streak between September 2018 and October 2021 had sparked euphoria, but it all came to a halt when the Italian side lost to Spain in the semi-finals. Nations League final and especially when it failed in the final. qualifiers to qualify for the World Cup, just as it happened on the way to Russia 2018.
First, in their European qualifying stage group, Italy were plagued with doubts in recent games and saw Switzerland take first place and the only direct Qatar 2022 berth. was relegated to the play-off in whoever was to win. two games, but already in the first slipped toI lose 1-0 against North Macedoniawhich consummated the disaster.
Coach Roberto Mancini for this Finalissima and for the team’s other duels in June, in the Nations League, in which the return of Leonardo Spinazzola stands out, who was one of the team’s outstanding men in the last European Championship and who has been out for most of the season due to injury. Veteran Giorgio Chiellini, 37, longs to say goodbye to the Italian team with a trophy. Italian personalities such as Ciro Immobile or Federico Chiesa will not be present due to injury.
For its part, Argentina was preparing this Finalissima in a concentration installed in Bilbao. Scaloni had his best men for this call, since in addition to the duel with Italy, he will play a friendly match against Estonia next Sunday.
Italy coach Robert Mancini, He spoke on Tuesday, on the eve of his team’s Finalissima against Argentina. The DT of the Azzurra expressed that Lionel Messi is still ‘the best in football’ and the man to watch more closely because it can “change a game in a second”.
“In Italy we have lived for many years with (Diego) Maradona and Messi are like him, one of the best of all time,” Mancini said at the press conference before training for his Nazionale at Wembley Stadium. “This season he might not score as many goals because he changed teams (from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain) and countries, maybe he needs a bit more time. But I think he’s the best. This Wednesday we’ll have to be very careful with him because he can change a game in a second.”
Mancini made his opinion clear on what this duel will be like: “It’s good to be able to play this game. Italy and Argentina are a classic in world football. It will be a great match,” he predicted. “It’s a great team, full of champions. He plays at a very technical level and it’s not going to be easy, I’m curious to see how the match goes. going on,” said the former Manchester City and Inter Milan manager.
The Italian coach indicated that in Wednesday’s match he will use the base of players who won the European Championship last year, as a form of recognition, and that in the following matches of the month, corresponding to the League des Nations, it will bring changes and give more opportunities to young people or new faces, thinking of rebuilding their project after the fiasco of the World Cup. “It’s the end of a cycle, but that doesn’t mean that fifteen or twenty players will disappear. After tomorrow’s game, some youngsters will arrive because we need them to play,” Mancini said.
The Azzurra coach admitted it was “exciting” to return to Wembley, the place where his side won the European Championship in July 2021. “It’s an impressive stadium, especially for us. It a year ago, we were celebrating here the fact of having been European champions. These memories move us a lot,” he said.