Italy won 1-1 against North Macedonia in Spalletti’s debut as coach.
Luciano Spalletti, who took over the reins of the Italian national soccer team from Roberto Mancini after the latter’s unexpected departure to take charge of the Saudi Arabian national soccer team, earned a draw on his debut.
Spalletti’s men drew 1-1 with North Macedonia in their fifth Group C match of their UEFA European Championship 2024 qualifying campaign at the Todor Proeski National Stadium in Skopje, North Macedonia, on Tuesday (July 10).
The result leaves Italy in third place in Group C with one win, one draw and one loss (four points), behind England (four wins, one draw and 13 points) and Ukraine (two wins, one draw and seven points). England drew 1-1 with Ukraine on the day.
Italy is level on points with fourth-place North Macedonia (W1 D1 L2 T4 – P4), which has played one more game, but has a superior goal difference. In Group C, Malta (4 L, 0 D) is in last place.
Today’s match between Italy and North Macedonia has drawn the attention of fans for a number of reasons.
The Italian national team has been in turmoil since Mancini handed over the reins on March 13.
After leading Italy to victory at Euro 2020, Mancini accepted a job offer from the Saudi Arabian national team. His salary was reportedly in the region of 25 million euros ($35.7 million).
The Italian soccer federation began the search for a successor and handed the reins to Spalletti, who led Napoli to their first Serie A title in 33 years last season.
Spalletti won the title this season after forming a solid defense with Kim Min-jae, who left for Bayern Munich (Germany), as Napoli’s central defender.
Spalletti, who began coaching the Italian national team in earnest on the 1st of this month, made his ‘debut’ against North Macedonia.
North Macedonia has a bitter history with Italy.
The Azzurri reached the playoff stage after finishing second in Group C of the European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar behind Switzerland. The Azzurri’s playoff opponent was North Macedonia, who finished second in Group J of the European Qualifiers.
The Azzurri suffered the humiliation of failing to qualify for the World Cup for the second consecutive time (2018-2022) last March in a home playoff against North Macedonia, losing 0-1 on a late stoppage-time goal.
The Azzurri dominated the game, winning 64% to 36% of the ball possession and outshooting the opposition 32-4, but a single shot from North Macedonia was all they needed.
The Azzurri came into the match with “Spalletti’s debut as coach” and “World Cup playoff aspirations” on their minds, but once again, they couldn’t get the win.
After a scoreless first half, the Azzurri opened the scoring two minutes into the second half with a header from Immobile, but had to settle for a draw after conceding a 36th-minute free-kick equalizer to Enis Vardi of North Macedonia.
Italy held a significant advantage in ball possession, 63% to 37%, 먹튀검증 but were out-shot 10-9 (3-3 on target).