Rome, Italy (AFP) – Italy is now facing an explosion of media attention ahead of next month’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Georgia in Athens, where the country’s main sports clubs are expected to play a crucial role.
As a result, the country is already facing a barrage of questions about what sort of game it will be, whether it will qualify, and what its players are doing to prepare.
“We are facing a media onslaught from all sides,” Giuseppe Pini, a football coach and former Italian national team coach, told AFP.
“If we do not have a positive result on Sunday (Wednesday) then we will be in trouble.
It will be a very interesting game for everybody.”
The country’s governing body, the Coppa Italia, has announced it is holding a press conference on Thursday morning to discuss the possibility of a Europa League exit from Italy.
However, the game’s organizers, the International Olympic Committee, are insisting that the country needs to show up.
The committee’s chief executive, Jacques Rogge, has been warning that if Italy is unable to win a game, it could have to face the consequences of not having the necessary qualification points.
Italian Football Federation president Fabio Parolin has also called for Italy to play at least one game in the country, which has two more than its nearest neighbours and is the smallest country in Europe.
“It would be an important moment for the sport if we have a victory in Athens,” he told reporters.
“A win on Sunday would be a major achievement and the whole sport would be ready to move forward.”
The two-week tournament is due to be held on October 10-12.
Italian clubs have been preparing for the game for weeks, and Pini said the preparations were in full swing.
“All clubs are working together in a great way, preparing for this game,” he said.
“There is no one person who is making decisions about the game.
We are all working together, not only to prepare but also to make sure we get our team ready.”
This game is going to be important.
“The Coppa Romei are not the only Italian club to be preparing for next month.
On Wednesday, the Palermo-based club Juventus announced it was planning a “major celebration” in Athens ahead of Euro 2020.