Spalletti: ‘We cannot afford to miss the World Cup 2026’


Luciano Spalletti reiterated the need for Italy to qualify for World Cup 2026: “We can’t afford to miss it.” The Azzurri are playing their last friendly match ahead of the EUROs, having already beaten Venezuela 2-1 earlier this week. Speaking ahead of their match with Ecuador, Spalletti talked about the experiences he’s had in the US and why making the World Cup is so important for the team:

“Here in the USA, one can tangibly feel the love for Italy. Many have come here seeking to rebuild their lives, and now they shower us with affection. It’s a pressure that simultaneously fuels us,” Spalletti remarks. He emphasizes the importance of reciprocating this affection: “We’ve been invited to present our national team in the country they now call home, and thus, we feel a profound responsibility and a desire to represent ourselves in the best possible light. While those in Italy may support the national team out of personal interest, here it’s pure love, and we must never forget that.”

Spalletti also touches upon the transformative power of football, referencing a federal initiative at the United Nations: “Football has the ability to foster openness; it’s a ray of sunshine that can bring smiles. A victory can change people’s outlooks, and we must not only craft beautiful gameplay but also uplift the spirits of those watching.” While the aim is to return to the World Cup in 2026, Spalletti remains grounded: “Italy’s football history is one of quality; we cannot afford to miss the World Cup. However, we mustn’t be presumptuous. Today, all teams are formidable, equipped with the knowledge and resources to nurture champions.”


Serie A obsessive.