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Are Italy finally making progress?

It is a telling sign that many of us would have signed below the dotted line for last night’s Azzurri performance. Was this a sign of how much Conte’s team had achieved, how low our expectations were, or both?

To be truthful, it was a relief that Italy weren’t passed off the park by Vicente Del Bosque’s men, but was this ever likely to happen? Though it was refreshing to see Italy harry Spain’s ball-carriers and never let them find their feet, La Furia Roja has yet to prove that it has moved on from the team that puffed and wheezed in the Brazilian sun.

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Where do Italy go from here?

It’s tough to talk about La Nazionale these days. There are very few certainties, after an up-and-down qualifying campaign.

Our imaginary Azzurri building blocks are full of red flags. Italy are unbeaten in fifty qualifiers? Sure, against the likes of Bulgaria and Malta. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci still make elementary mistakes in an Azzurri shirt. Marco Verratti still has developing to do.

There are so many doubts that’s it is worth asking whether we’re asking the right questions, or contextualising them properly. For example, is having a great squad enough to do well?

 

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