Berardi: ‘Italy spirit remains the same’

Domenico Berardi insists the Italy ‘spirit remains the same’ as the one that allowed them to become Champions of Europe, despite having to go through the World Cup play-offs.

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It was only four months ago that the Azzurri lifted the UEFA EURO 2020 trophy at Wembley Stadium, beating England on penalties, but they have looked fatigued in recent weeks and were beaten to the top of the group by Switzerland.

“We knew that it was difficult coming here, we gave our all and were unable to score,” Berardi told RAI Sport after the 0-0 draw in Belfast.

“It’s disappointing we didn’t already seal the group earlier. We have to roll our sleeves up, prepare for March and book our spot at the World Cup.”

The Sassuolo player was asked if Italy can rediscover the spirit that they had over the summer in the Euros.

“The spirit remains the same. It’s a difficult moment, unfortunately that’s how football goes, sometimes luck is against you.

“We need to be ready for March and do everything possible to qualify via the play-offs.”

Italy already missed the 2018 World Cup by losing the play-offs to Sweden.

The situation is even more complicated now, as only three of the 12 sides in the play-offs will reach the tournament in Qatar.

“We care a great deal about being there, we will give our best and I am sure we’ll make it.”

Italy will be seeded in the draw for the World Cup play-offs, but the route to the competition is still a difficult one and they will have to wait until March for a verdict.