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Gattuso: “Italian football has to examine its conscience.”

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Earlier, I translated candid post-match comments by Marcello Lippi. In the aftermath of Italy’s elimination from the World Cup, here are additional quotes from notable Azzurri players. Fabio Cannavaro has not provided a statement at the time of this writing.

This was the first Italian exit at the group phase of the World Cup since 1974. The wounds ran very deep but the old guard didn’t sugarcoat their analysis of what went wrong.

Gigi Buffon: “We have never demonstrated being able to compete with teams on a higher level.”

Se in tre partite, due delle quali con Nuova Zelanda e Slovacchia non riesci a vincerne nemmeno uno è giusto tornare a casa e cercare di capire che cosa è successo. Col Paraguay forse è stata la miglior partita, soprattutto a livello di intensità e voglia di proporre.

E’ andata peggio con la Nuova Zelanda e oggi, quando a parte il convulso finale non abbiamo mai dimostrato di poter essere competitivi con squadre di livello più alto. Dal punto di vista fisico non ho visto lacune enormi, secondo me ci sono mancate di più le idee, specie dopo l’infortunio di Pirlo“.

“If in three games, two of those with New Zealand and Slovakia that you can’t win even one, it is proper to return home and try to understand what happened. Against Paraguay, perhaps it was the best game, above all in terms of intensity and the desire to create something.

Things went worse against New Zealand and today, despite the convulsion in the final minutes, we have never demonstrated being able to compete with teams on a higher level. From a physical standpoint, I did not see massive gaps. In my opinion, there was more a lack of ideas. Especially after the injury to Pirlo.”

buffon pirlo Gattuso: Italian football has to examine its conscience.

Gigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo on the bench

Andrea Pirlo: “We were not a strong group like the one from last time.”

Non siamo riusciti a vincere una sola partita in un girone abbordabile, quindi c’era qualcosa che non andava dall’inizio. Ci dispiace per tutta la nazione, siamo arrivati ai Mondiali con tanti giocatori nuovi e tanta pressione e non eravamo un gruppo forte come quello dell’altra volta. Potevamo fare molto di più, anche senza Pirlo. Io ho fatto di tutto per rientrare il più in fretta possibile, ma non è servito a nulla. Prandelli saprà cosa fare, bisognerà ripartire“.

“We couldn’t win one match in a winnable group. Therefore, there was something that didn’t go well from the start. We’re sorry for the whole nation. We came to the World Cup with many new players and such pressure and we were not a strong group like the one from last time. We could have done much more, even without Pirlo (he used his own name). I did everything to get back as fast as possible but it was in vain. Cesare Prandelli will know what to do. The team will need to start over.”

Rino Gattuso: “Italian football has to examine its conscience.”

Il calcio italiano si deve fare un esame di coscienza Stasera abbiamo toccato il fondo. Dobbiamo assumerci tutti le nostre responsabilità. Spero per la Nazionale che il nuovo allenatore costruirà un bel gruppo e che metta in campo una squadra competitiva. Era la mia ultima partita con la maglia azzurra e più brutta di questa non la potevo immaginare, cala il sipario e si va avanti. Cosa dico agli italiani? Capisco che ci sia tanta amarezza. Anch’io al loro posto sarei amareggiato. Dobbiamo accettare tutto“.

“Italian football has to examine its conscience. Tonight we hit rock bottom. We have to assume all of our responsibilities. I hope for the national team that the next manager will construct a great group and put a competitive team on the field. It was my last game wearing the Azzurri shirt and worse than this I can’t imagine. The curtain has fallen and you go forward. What do I say to Italian supporters? I understand that there is such bitterness. Even I in their place would be bitter. We have to accept everything.”

zambrotta Gattuso: Italian football has to examine its conscience.

Gianluca Zambrotta may have played his last international for Italy

Gianluca Zambrotta: “All of the players must blame themselves.”

L’analisi è solo una: con due punti in tre partite è giusto andare a casa. Nelle prime due partite abbiamo fatto delle buone gare, oggi abbiamo sbagliato il primo tempo, nel secondo siamo cresciuti e potevamo passare con un po’ più di freddezza sottoporta. Non è bastato, tutti i giocatori devono fare il mea culpa“.

“There is only one analysis: With two points in three games, it is right to go home. In the first two games, we had good games. Today we got the first half wrong. In the second half, we grew and could have passed with a little more clinical finishing in the goalmouth. It wasn’t enough. All of the players must blame themselves.”

Daniele De Rossi: “We can’t look for alibis.”

La colpa è da dividersi fra tutti, chi ha giocato bene la prima ha sbagliato questa e viceversa. Non dobbiamo cercare alibi, è una figura brutta, e ce ne renderemo conto soprattutto nei prossimi giorni. Prima della partita oggi non pensavo mai di poter uscire al primo turno, ero quasi tranquillo. Ora ci sarebbe voglia di avere un’altra partita per qualificarsi, ma non si può. Ma sono convinto che ci saranno altri momenti belli in Nazionale“.

“The fault should be divided among everyone. Who played well initially made mistakes in this one and vice versa. We can’t look for alibis. It is an awful image and it will hit us above all in the next few days. Before the game today, I never thought being able to go out in the first round. I was almost calm. Now there is the desire to have another match to qualify but you can’t. But I am convinced that there will be other great moments on the national team.”

Italian source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, June 24, 2010.

Steve Amoia is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He writes the World Football Commentaries blog. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Italian soccer school), Football Media, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens.

Comments (4)

  1. It will be interesting to see the reactions when things calm down Steve.

    I wonder will France and Italy do an ‘England’………..”we have to go back to basics, restructure from the bottom-up, start coaching kids at a younger age, loook at restricting the number of foreign players in the PL etc etc”…….

    or will they just accept that this time around they didn’t quite have the talent/organisation/luck to succeed and get on with things?

  2. The players seem to be blaming themselves and the manager has taken full blame, Marcello Lippi must wonder was it worth coming back after the triumph in the 2006 World Cup. The last 10 minutes of the game showed really what the Italians are capable of, they had forgotton about fear they showed in the rest of the match.

  3. Brian, when I listened to his press conference after the game, the first thing he said was about the terror aspect. It was strange to hear a manager of his vast pedigree saying such a thing.

    He seemed surprised that he couldn’t motivate this group and make them understand what he wanted. Lippi seemed to be managing a ghost of the 2006 team even if he had several of the old guard. For months leading up to South Africa, he was adamant that his methods would prevail despite many predictions to the contrary.

    Angela, he resigned very quickly after the last World Cup and was out of football for quite some time. He went around giving lectures at universities. After Euro 2008, he returned stating he felt a debt to the Italian FA. He was very loyal to his old guard along with the Juventus nucleus that had a miserable season in 2009/10.

  4. Here were some comments by Fabio Cannavaro in La Gazzetta dello Sport, June 25, 2010. He had not commented when I translated the other comments yesterday.

    “Quella di ieri stata una delle serate più brutte, in assoluto. Nessuno si sarebbe aspettato un Mondiale così concluso all’ultimo posto del girone. Sia come risultati che come mancanza di gioco. Dopo la prima partita ero fiducioso. Forse il fatto di non aver vinto la seconda ci ha condizionato molto, ci serviva una vittoria per cambiare il nostro torneo.”

    “Yesterday was one of the worst nights of all time. Nobody would have expected a World Cup coming last in the group. The results were lacking like our play. After the first match, I was confident. Perhaps the fact of not winning the second match affected us a great deal. A victory would have changed our tournament.”

    “Ieri nel primo tempo c’era insicurezza, paura. La Slovacchia giocava serena, noi no. Con la maglia azzurra indosso sei obbligato a vincere. Nelle facce dei miei compagni c’era troppa tensione. In un altro contesto questa partita l’avremmo vinta. Nella ripresa abbiamo fatto qualcosa di più, ma poco. La partita di ieri è stata la nostra peggiore”.

    “Yesterday in the first half, there was insecurity, fear. Slovakia played calmly, we didn’t. When you wear the Azzurri shirt, you are obligated to win. In the faces of my teammates, there was too much tension. In another game like, this we would have won. In the second half, we did something more, but very little. Yesterday’s game was our worst.”