Tonight’s world championship semifinal, Nunziata’s midfield pivot and opponents: “Compact, fast, they hurt when they restart. But we know we are strong. And that match with England close to Rome-Seville…”
“Nice evening to stroll,” was the Terminator’s opening line in the film, before starting to stamp. And talking to Giacomo Faticanti, born in 2004, captain of the Roma Primavera team and starting midfielder in the Italy Under 20, gives the same impression: smile and pressing, precise goals, few frills, calm and coolness on the pitch. Absent from the quarterfinals against Colombia, in the semifinals he regains his place in front of the defense and will try to take the Azzurri over the obstacle, towards the final. Faticanti is one of Italy’s most “veteran” young midfielders, Mourinho made him make his debut in the Europa League (“I didn’t expect it, an emotion that I will always carry with me”) and Nunziata has made him a pivot for years of his Unders. So even in the face of the many defections from the blue group, he didn’t get upset: “The coach always told us to think about the goal, not who’s there. And our goal was to win the World Cup, ever since we they went out in the semifinals of last year’s U19 European Championship. We knew we could do something great then and we’re aware of it even now that we’re doing it. And even the new players have adapted to this idea.”
OPPONENTS Italy defeated Colombia 3-1 and then witnessed their fate on TV: South Korea or Nigeria, which had defeated the Azzurri in the group stage, were the first to win in the end. “Two similar teams – says Faticanti -, perhaps the Nigerians have more physical strength and running, with them we had an unfinished business but anyone was fine with them”. In the meantime, Nunziata showed Korea to her boys on videotape: “A team of toy soldiers, in a good way. Compact, fast, it closes well and hurts you when it starts again. It will be tough but it’s a semifinal, we know their strength but also and above all ours”.
CALM AND DDR Faticanti has, in fact, the calm of the Terminator on the pitch. But compared to the cyborg played by Schwarzenegger, he laughs. “Yes, I think it’s one of my strengths, even when things go wrong I always stay clear-headed and serene. It’s an attitude that comes naturally to me, because I go on the pitch above all to have fun. I think I’m going to do the thing I like most. I like it, and it’s fun that I hope to pass on to those who watch me”. Faticanti knows how to do everything but can improve in everything “because perfection doesn’t exist, I work on physique, technique, knowledge of the game, experience, everything I need to project myself into the football of the greats”. In doing so he has a Cicero not to laugh at, with whom he crossed paths for the first time at 4 years old. May 11, 2008, Roma-Atalanta 2-1 with a great free-kick by Daniele De Rossi that caught Nando Coppola. For little Giacomo, a native of Sora and very yellow-red family, it’s the first time at the stadium: “A sign of destiny”, he chuckles. Then, also thanks to the same role on the pitch, the feeling with De Rossi started in Trigoria: “We have a good relationship, we write to each other often, he gives me advice on the pitch, I feel his trust, I know he watches all my matches and some Sometimes we happen to analyze them”
MATCHES CLOSE There is a face down in the Faticanti World Cup, however. On 31 May he was playing the eight against England in La Plata, shortly before in Budapest his Roma were on the field for the Europa League final with Sevilla: “During the warm-up I kept asking how much they were doing, they told me about the 1-0 by Dybala but then it was up to us to play and I missed the draw. At the end of the game the first thing I asked was the result. When they told me I was disappointed, we were all on the pitch celebrating but I did it with a touch of bitterness”. Even the Terminator is sorry.
June 8, 2023 (change June 8, 2023 | 09:15 am)
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