22.09.2022
Roberto Mancini puts faith in youth to revive Italy after World Cup failure

A glance at the clubs some of Italy’s Euro 2020 stars are now representing cuts to the heart of the problems facing the national team today.

Captain Giorgio Chiellini, the best defender of the tournament, is now a team-mate of Gareth Bale at Los Angeles FC. Lorenzo Insigne, a key man that summer, is at Toronto FC with Federico Bernardeschi, who scored in the shoot-out win over England at Wembley.

Though Major League Soccer has improved greatly in recent years, it is still well short of top-level European football.

At 38, Chiellini is winding down, while Insigne accepted an £11.5million-per-year deal at Toronto and former Juventus attacker Bernardeschi had few takers in Europe.

None of the trio will be involved when Gareth Southgate’s team tackle the Azzurri at San Siro on Friday.

If three important players are already in MLS barely a year after becoming European champions, it shows the delicate balancing act Roberto Mancini was managing at Euro 2020.

The shocking failure to qualify for the World Cup – the second in succession Italy have missed – means the Wembley triumph looks like a moment in time, not the start of a winning cycle.

Yet if Italy weren’t truly world-beaters in summer 2021, neither are they hopeless now.

Though they were the better side in the final, the ball ran in Italy’s favour at crucial stages of the knockout wins over Austria, Belgium and Spain, just as it bounced against them in the closing World Cup qualifiers and then the stunning home defeat to North Macedonia in the play-offs in March.

There are many examples but one is enough: Juventus star Federico Chiesa scored against Austria and Spain and was one of the best attackers of Euro 2020, yet missed the play-off because of a serious knee injury sustained in January, from which he has still not returned. Italy are not the same without him.

With no major tournament until 2024 at the earliest, Mancini has chosen the only route possible once the Italian FA decided to stick with him – take some risks on lesser-known players and hope they can repay him in the two years ahead.

So winger Wilfred Gnonto, recently signed for £4million by Leeds, and Federico Gatti, the Juventus centre-back, had not even played in Serie A when they were brought in for the summer Nations League fixtures, but they are in the squad again this time.

So too is Pasquale Mazzocchi, an unremarkable right-back who has started the season well for Salernitana.

His name would have had the England coaching staff scratching their heads, as would those of defender Federico Dimarco, forwards Matteo Cancellieri and Alessio Zerbin and midfielder Tommaso Pobega.

Look a little closer, though, and the picture is brighter. Dimarco is no Paolo Maldini, but he has broken through at Inter Milan and is a reliable full-back with a super left foot.

Pobega scored for AC Milan in the Champions League last week and Zerbin has featured in Napoli’s wins over Liverpool and Rangers.

Roma skipper Lorenzo Pellegrini and Napoli pair Matteo Politano and Giacomo Raspadori are very good players.

At times, it can feel as though Mancini has called up every single eligible player since Italy’s North Macedonia nightmare – though there is one strange omission this time.

After two knee injuries, Nicolo Zaniolo has flourished under Jose Mourinho at Roma and is a powerful, dynamic forward who could bring so much to this team. So where is he?

Zaniolo is only just fit again after a shoulder problem, while Italian newspaper La Repubblica speculated that the 23-year-old had been left out because he was filmed aiming an offensive chant at city rivals Lazio last spring.

Either way, if Mancini is to revive Italy a second time, he needs Zaniolo inside the tent.

Some of the senior stars who have remained since the play-off blunder are just as important. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, defender Leonardo Bonucci and midfielders Jorginho, Marco Verratti – injured yet again – and Nicolo Barella should still be around in a couple of years. If only Italy could find a reliable centre-forward.

West Ham’s Gianluca Scamacca is the latest to earn a crack but few believe he is the answer.

Donnarumma risks being booed by his own supporters against England, with AC Milan fans still angry at the manner of his move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2021.

Mancini is hoping the rest of his players are not given the same treatment after another 90 minutes against England.

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  • 20 минут назад 03.10.2022Sport
    JJ Watt is in tears as he reveals the Cardinals’ win means ‘a little more’ after heart scare

    JJ Watt said he appreciated the Cardinals win a little more after a scary and emotional week that saw the defensive star endure a heart scare.

    Watt took the field Sunday afternoon just three days after having his ‘heart shocked back into rhythm’ after going into Atrial fibrillation.

    Watt made the shocking admission at roughly midday ET on Sunday, and was on the field hours later for the Cardinals as they took on the Panthers, securing a 26-16 win.

    Speaking after the game, Watt was visibly upset and was in tears as he revealed the win was a nice end to an emotional week for him and his family.

    ‘Obviously, it’s been a very emotional week for my family, for my wife, for myself,’ Watt said.

    ‘So, I’m very happy to get a win today. Obviously, I’ve had a lot of emotions, but I’ve learned to appreciate the little things even more and so it’s nice to have a win today.’

    According to the CDC, Atrial fibrillation – commonly called ‘A-Fib’ or AF – is ‘when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way’.

    It occurs due to the blood not flowing as well as it should from the atria to the lower chambers of the heart, and it can occur as a one-off episode or as a permanent condition. It is currently unclear whether Watt’s situation is the former or latter.

    Watt said he considered not playing Sunday against the Panthers but after talking with cardiologists and electrophysiologists, he was told and assured multiple times that it was safe for him to play.

    ‘It’s tough,’ he said. ‘My wife was by my side all the time. So, that helped a lot, and then, just, I didn’t know what else to do. I have been playing this game my whole life. They said I was fine. So, once my heart was reset, they said, ‘You’re fine. If you feel comfortable.’

    ‘I’d probably be more uncomfortable sitting on my couch at home. You know, this is what I know. Right or wrong. Maybe that’s messed up, but if I was sitting at home watching the boys play and knowing that they said I was perfectly fine to play, I would have felt weird, so, I just did what I know.’

    He took to Twitter Sunday afternoon to break the news, claiming that he was only sharing the health update because it had been leaked to the media.

    He revealed the leak was especially upsetting as it had to have come from someone he ‘should trust’ and insisted he was irritated as he didn’t want it to take away from his team’s performance.

    ‘The only people that knew were people I should trust,’ Watt said. ‘And, so, injuries, I don’t care. If you leak injuries, whatever, that’s football. But this one was very emotional for me so it upset me.’

    He added: ‘Boys played good today. I don’t want to take away from them. A great game, the boys played a great game. [I’m] grateful to be out there with them. That’s partly the reason why I’m upset that it leaked because I didn’t want to take away from them.’

    Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury revealed didn’t know what atrial fibrillation was until he was told about Watt’s condition but said Sunday that tight ends coach Steve Heiden had it a couple times and explained it.

    ‘Just a scary deal for everybody,’ Kingsbury said. ‘But I’m glad it got figured out. He seems better than ever.’

    ‘Shows you what type of person and competitor, human being he is,’ Kingsbury said. ‘He’s special and we were all obviously worried when he wasn’t around for a couple of days getting the tests run and handling that but I think it was definitely inspiring for all of us and he played at a really high level and he just continues to amaze, the type of person and player he is.’

    The former Houston Texans star missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday for what the Cardinals reported as ‘calf/illness’ on their injury report.

    The NFL star has consistently struggled with injuries over the last few years of his career, missing 10 games of the 2021 season with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

    In 2019 he missed eight games with a torn pectoral, and in 2017 he fractured his tibia and had to sit out the final 11 games of the season.

    This heart issue is seemingly not something Watt wants to keep him sidelined, despite fans and fellow players appearing concerned in reply to his Sunday tweet.

    Quarterback Robert Griffin III wrote: ‘Life is bigger than football. Glad you are OK,’ while one fan commented: ‘You’re a young man who’s already made enough money to support your children’s children and you’re going to play 5 days after essentially having a heart attack? What’s the matter with you guys? This toxic masculinity is shameful.’

    Watt’s injury comes at a time when the NFL is under heavy scrutiny for allowing players to continue despite problems, after Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailova was allowed to play on Thursday night.

    The quarterback suffered a heavy hit to his head the previous Sunday but passed concussion checks to return four days later, only to suffer another serious blow, resulting in him being taken off on a stretcher.

    In the wake of that incident, the NFLPA fired the medic who cleared Tagovailova to play in the second game.

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  • 2 часа, 19 минут назад 03.10.2022Sport
    Robin Goodfellow’s racing tips: Best bets for Monday, October 3

    Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow delivers his tips for Monday’s meetings at Windsor, Pontefract, Stratford and Wolverhampton.

    WINDSOR

    Newmarket – 2.02 Fanciful (nb); 5.32 Kirilenko (nap).

    PONTEFRACT

    Northerner – 1.25 Midnight Lion (nb); 3.05 Wynford (nap).

    STRATFORD

    WOLVERHAMPTON

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  • 2 часа, 19 минут назад 03.10.2022Sport
    Amos Kipruto wins the men’s 2022 London Marathon as Yalemzerf Yehualaw clinches women’s gold

    After the fall came the rise. Not many athletes can climb up from a face-plant to win the London Marathon but Yalemzerf Yehualaw is rapidly emerging as a runner who does not conform to the usual standards.

    The Ethiopian’s victory across two hours, 17 minutes and 26 seconds on Sunday was staggering, both in her revival from tumbling over a speed bump six miles from the tape, and also in what it heralded, with the 23-year-old becoming the youngest winner of this race in history.

    That it was only her second ever marathon, six months after winning her first in Hamburg, would indicate she has a better shot than most in her stated ambition of one day breaking the 2:14.04 world record of Brigid Kosgei.

    ‘I had a dream to be a professional athlete and to run in these races,’ she said. ‘I am so happy to win on my first time in London. London people were shouting a lot and it inspired me.

    ‘I am thinking of the longer plan I have that I would like to break the world record.’

    Kosgei, the dominant Kenyan athlete, was among the many leading names who withdrew injured ahead of this race, which cleared a sizeable hurdle for Yehualaw. However, another presented itself after 20 miles, when she lost around 25metres on the leading group of eight when she fell hard over the speed bump.

    ‘I hurt my hip and knee,’ she said, before a member of her team confirmed she bumped her head as well. Despite that setback, she reeled the pack in and by the 24th mile it had become a two-woman showdown with the defending champion Joyciline Jepkosgei.

    That was when Yehualaw ran a storming mile of four minutes and 43 seconds, the quickest ever recorded in a women’s marathon, and left the Kenyan in her wake. Her time was the third fastest in the 42 years of the race.

    The men’s event was won by Amos Kipruto in 2:04.39 after breaking three miles from home. The leading British runner was ninth-placed Waynay Ghebresilasie, who carried the flag for Eritrea at London 2012 before seeking asylum here.

    The 28-year-old said: ‘Before the 2012 Olympics my country was not in a good situation, that’s why I stayed in Britain. I was in Sunderland and then moved to Birmingham and I’m in Scotland now.

    ‘My plan is to run at the World Championships and the Paris Olympics for Great Britain.’

    Meanwhile, Eilish McColgan, who pulled out because of blood sugar issues that are exacerbated over the marathon distance, set a new European 10km road record by clocking 30:18 at the Great Scottish Run.

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  • 2 часа, 19 минут назад 03.10.2022Sport
    JJ Watt returns to field just THREE DAYS after having his ‘heart shocked back into rhythm’

    JJ Watt took the field Sunday afternoon just three days after having his ‘heart shocked back into rhythm’ after going into Atrial fibrillation.

    Watt made the shocking admission at roughly midday ET on Sunday, and was on the field hours later for the Cardinals as they took on the Panthers.

    According to the CDC, Atrial fibrillation – commonly called ‘A-Fib’ or AF – is ‘when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way’.

    It occurs due to the blood not flowing as well as it should from the atria to the lower chambers of the heart, and it can occur as a one-off episode or as a permanent condition. It is currently unclear whether Watt’s situation is the former or latter.

    Yet Watt took his usual position Sunday on the defensive line for the Cardinals, with one total tackle at the time of writing.

    The three-time defensive player of the year said earlier Sunday that he was only sharing the health update because it had been leaked to the media.

    Writing to his 5.6million followers, he said: ‘I was just told somebody leaked some personal information about me and it’s going to be reported on today.

    ‘I went into A-Fib [Atrial fibrillation] on Wednesday, had my heart shocked back into rhythm on Thursday and I’m playing today. That’s it.’

    Watt is currently in his second season with the Cardinals, and appears to have been deemed healthy by medics to play in North Carolina for the Week 4 match-up.

    The former Houston Texans star missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday for what the Cardinals reported as ‘calf/illness’ on their injury report.

    The NFL star has consistently struggled with injuries over the last few years of his career, missing 10 games of the 2021 season with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

    In 2019 he missed eight games with a torn pectoral, and in 2017 he fractured his tibia and had to sit out the final 11 games of the season.

    This heart issue is seemingly not something Watt wants to keep him sidelined, despite fans and fellow players appearing concerned in reply to his Sunday tweet.

    Quarterback Robert Griffin III wrote: ‘Life is bigger than football. Glad you are OK,’ while one fan commented: ‘You’re a young man who’s already made enough money to support your children’s children and you’re going to play 5 days after essentially having a heart attack? What’s the matter with you guys? This toxic masculinity is shameful.’

    Watt’s injury comes at a time when the NFL is under heavy scrutiny for allowing players to continue despite problems, after Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailova was allowed to play on Thursday night.

    The quarterback suffered a heavy hit to his head the previous Sunday but passed concussion checks to return four days later, only to suffer another serious blow, resulting in him being taken off on a stretcher.

    In the wake of that incident, the NFLPA fired the medic who cleared Tagovailova to play in the second game.

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  • 2 часа, 19 минут назад 03.10.2022Sport
    Terry Bradshaw reveals he has battled bladder and skin cancer in the past year

    Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, Terry Bradshaw, has shared he has been diagnosed with cancer twice over the last year.

    The Fox NFL Sunday co-host and football favorite concerned fans during an appearance on the show last week and has now revealed he has endured bladder and skin cancer.

    ‘Last week on this show, I ran out of breath, and Howie (Long) helped me up, and a lot of people are asking what’s wrong with me, what’s happened to me physically,’ Bradshaw said on Sunday’s NFL pregame show.

    ‘I just want to address it and let you know what has happened in my life. In November, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

    ‘I went to the Yale University Medical Center – surgery, treatment. As of today, I am bladder-cancer free. That’s the good news.

    ‘Then in March, feeling good. I had a bad neck. I get an MRI. Now we find a tumor in my left neck.

    ‘And it’s a Merkel cell tumor, which is a rare form of skin cancer. So I had that surgery done at M.D. Anderson in Houston.’

    Bradshaw, 74, played 14 seasons for the Steelers and is a four-time Super Bowl Champion, a two-time Super Bowl MVP and one-time regular season MVP.

    ‘Folks, I may not look like my old self, but I feel like my old self. I’m cancer free, I’m feeling great. And over time, I’m going to be back to where I normally am.’

    Former New York Giant and fellow Hall of Famer Michael Strahan had kind words for Bradshaw. ‘You are the ultimate teammate. We love you,’ he said.

    ‘We’re just so happy that you’re here and we’re happy that you’re cancer-free and I think you’re going to give hope to a lot of people out there who are going through something similar.’

    In typical Fox NFL Sunday fashion, the compassionate, loving tone didn’t last long before Strahan injected some humor at the expense of the former Steeler.

    ‘I’m also just curious why it took this for people to ask what’s wrong with you after all these years?’

    Bradshaw and his colleagues erupted in laughter before host, Curt Menefee added: ‘There’s some of us that have been asking it for several years!’

    The 74-year-old is married to his wife, Tammy, and has two daughters, Rachel and Erin, and a step-daughter, Lacey.

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  • 2 часа, 19 минут назад 03.10.2022Sport
    Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters has to be held back from head coach John Harbaugh

    Peters reportedly left the field screaming before attempting to confront Harbaugh as Buffalo readied for the field goal which gave them a 23-20 victory on the road.

    The 29-year-old was then said to have thrown his helmet in fury as he watched on. Harbaugh was seen yelling, seemingly toward Peters, before CBS cameras cut back to Bills kicker, Tyler Bass.

    Cameras then turned to Peters, who was enraged, attempting to get closer to his head coach.

    Following the game, Harbaugh attempted to quash the disagreement as nothing more than a part of football.

    ‘Emotions run high. We’re on the same page,’ Harbaugh told reporters post-game.

    ‘We’ve got a great relationship, we’ve got an honest relationship. I love him, hope he still loves me, we’ll see.’

    Baltimore gave up 20 unanswered points after charging to an early 20-3 lead. What may have incensed Peters further was Harbaugh’s decision to go for a touchdown on fourth and goal on the Ravens’ last possession after their altercation.

    Instead of a chip shot field goal which could have given Baltimore a 23-20 lead with just over four minutes remaining, Harbaugh went for it from the two-yard line.

    ‘I thought it gave us the best chance to win the game,’ Harbaugh said. ‘It didn´t turn out that way and unfortunately, and we lost the game.

    ‘Hindsight, you take the points. But you look at it analytically, you´ll understand why we did it.’

    Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson threw an interception, giving Buffalo an opportunity to go down the field and win the game, which they duly took.

    Following the loss, Baltimore hold a 2-2 record, tied with Cleveland who sit first in the AFC North.

    Buffalo’s late victory avoided a two-game losing streak and keeps them on pace with AFC East rival, Miami at 3-1.

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Sport Roberto Mancini puts faith in youth to revive Italy after World Cup failure