Emanuele Giaccherini is proving to be Prandelli’s darling. The Tuscan midfielder has been the Azzurri coach’s darling since his performances at the Confederations Cup lifted a physically drawn Italy to an honourable third place finish.
Giaccherinho, as he’s affectionately called, has continued his polished form by scoring the equalizer in a 2-2 effort versus Nigeria, on Monday.
“I am happy about my individual and team efforts tonight. We wanted to do well with a different line-up, went up 1-0, dominated game play, then perhaps we relaxed a bit focusing on ball possession as an end-in-itself. However, Nigeria’s 1-2 came against the run of play. In the second half, we recuperated and could have won”. The Sunderland man told Italian broadcaster RAI.
Giaccherini is not concerned about Italy’s defence, which is not living up to its iron-clad reputation: “Italy will show up when it matters. Coach Prandelli has told us that we must continue on. Is Rossi-Balotelli the ideal strikeforce? They are two fuoriclasse with quite the repertoire but we have a deep attacking force, with the likes of Gilardino and Osvaldo who have always done well. Mario, however, is key for us, he can be our attacking force all by himself and we always try to support him through our gameplay”.
When asked about his experience in England the former Juventus man said that he misses Italy, but that he’s happy at Sunderland and hopes to continue to do well. “Inter coach Mazzarri has been rumoured to want me? Not that I know of. I spoke with [Juventus coach] Conte after my adieu: we were both very sad to part ways and thanked each other. We will see each other again, and I still root for Juventus”.
When asked about whether he thinks he will feature among the 23 Azzurri who will head to Brazil for next summer’s World Cup, Giaccherini stated “We’re in November, it’s still early”.
Hard work, results, and humility. The qualities of a true champion.