There are games that are meant to make history. Where goals and paths meet important moments. The match between Italy and Northern Ireland on 22 January 1997 in Palermo is one of the most memorable challenges in the history of our national team. This is the race for a great start. The first few times. Two of the most important and influential characters in the recent history of the Blue Team saw their baptism. It’s the day Cesare Maldini and Fabio Cannavaro begin to make history on the national team. A long, exciting adventure full of successes and achievements and some disappointments. All in the name of blue.
Caesar Maldini returns to the senior national team’s bench after a stellar victory at the helm of the Under – 21 team. Won three consecutive European category championships. Truth be told, the relationship between Maldini and the senior national team started years ago and at its best. Enzo won the 1982 Spanish World Cup as deputy to Bearsot and participated in the 1986 Mexican expedition.
When asked by the federation to replace Arigo Sachi (new from the elimination of the English Europeans in the first round in 1996), Maldini mentally agreed to the opening match against Northern Ireland, his Under-21: Fabio Cannavaro. Defender (at the time in Parma) was with him when he won the French European Championship in 1994 and in 1996 defeated the most popular hosts in Spanish, finals and penalties. Cannavaro has 20 matches against the Under-21 team. When Maldini called, he knew he had a lifetime ahead of him. “Those were the years when the world’s strongest defenders played in Italy – Remember the starter Angelo de Livio in the match against Northern Ireland – Establishing yourself is not easy. However, we were all convinced that he would be someone in Cannavaro. I understood this from the first day he landed in Cavarciano. He arrived in Tiptoe with a team of holy giants such as Ferrara, Maldini and Costa Rica..
A matter of mood
On January 22, 1997, a new bicycle ly officially opened. After the experience of Arigo Sachi, Italy resumes with a technical expert and a different mindset: Maldini ranks his first Italy 3-5-2. Goals Percy, Costa Rica, Ferrara and son Paulo on defense; In the midfield, De Livio, Albertini, Di Matteo, Dino Baggio, Carbone, Zola and Kaziragi create an attacking couple. The new blue trainer is living a quiet day. “He did not allow any emotion to appear. De Livio remembers – Gave incredible calm to the whole group. He was an amazing person from all perspectives. We all knew there was tension in his heart, but he tried hard not to let us feel anything. The only one who felt ashamed was Polo. He did not like his father becoming a coach. We need to encourage him and tell him it’s a beautiful thing and be proud of it. “.
The Blues on the field start strong. Maldini watches throughout the game, and eight minutes after he leans on the bench he finds the lead for himself: Albertini Loeb in the penalty area, Zola hits the ball, and goalkeeper Wright jumps out of the bag from a tight corner. The rest of the first half is a blue domain. Players who want to attract a new coach forget the friendly nature of the challenge and play at an invaluable pace. The Up for Grobs is a confirmation of the next and more glorious challenge at Wembley against the English national team to qualify for the World Cup. Here comes the moment of the 72nd Kannavaro. “We knew he would predetermine – Says Diego Fuser, who took over from Di Matteo early in the second half – It was clear from the beginning. I played it together for the first time, because until that moment I had always crossed paths with him as an opponent. He was notable for his progress and lead. Although he was not very tall, he was able to dominate the sky game. “. Kannavaro enters the field in place of the Costa Rican. An adventure journey that lasts thirteen years and 136 games begins. With the victory of a World Cup, the captain’s hand and many high-level matches. Kannavaro soon became the leader of the back department. He doesn’t miss a single shot against the Irish, canceling the center forward Horlock and making an intrusion on himself in the opposite area. The final will also see the second blue goal signed by Alessandro del Piero (in charge of Zola). Maldini and Cannavaro could not have made a better debut.