el Shaarawy

Stephan El Shaarawy: “We could have been more courageous, but we are strong”


Stephan El Shaarawy believes the Azzurri could have been more courageous during their 1-1 draw with Croatia. The Italy winger was speaking in a press conference ahead of their match against Switzerland on Saturday, and touched on some of the key talking points regarding the national team, beginning with their performance in the last group-stage match:

“Croatia? It was definitely a great emotion, scoring a goal in the 98th minute brings immense joy. It made us aware that this team never gives up; scoring in injury time is not luck, but a quality of a team that believes until the end. Monday’s game was not exceptional in terms of quality compared to the one against Albania, but there was great effort, and in my opinion, the qualification is deserved.”

“I believe there is great expectation and pressure because we are a strong team that can go all the way. Italy is the reigning champion, and there are high expectations and pressure. This team is made up of great players and great men who know how to come together, suffer, and rejoice together. We are a team of great quality that can do well. We demonstrated it in the first match; in the other two, we could have done better in terms of quality and courage, but this team can make its mark. We must have the ambition to make our mark in this tournament.”

“In some circumstances, we lacked the ambition to play. But this is a team of great quality; we were a bit lacking in courage and the ambition to hurt our opponents. Spalletti asks us for offensive, proactive football, and we missed these aspects a bit, and we need to improve on this.”

“What the coach asks of us is to seek a lot of ball possession, to play with the midfielders, and then go to the flanks. Against Croatia, we missed this a bit, and maybe with one less pass, we could have immediately sought the flanks. We try to do what he asks, sometimes it didn’t come off, but that’s the idea. I am always ready to do everything; the coach has tried me as a high winger on the left and right, as a fourth midfielder, and even as a fifth. I adapt to his needs, but I know that even playing little, I can be decisive as happened with Zaccagni. We must be ready, and with a clear conscience, I am at peace because I am doing my best.”

“On one hand, it’s also positive; when a player wears this jersey, he wants to overdo it and do the best for this National Team. Sometimes you fall into the frenzy of wanting to do too much and are not very clear-headed. Qualitatively, it’s not easy, but in terms of commitment and availability, everything was there. Then, of course, we can improve; this is a team of serious players who are training to the maximum.”

“No team is happy to play against Italy; we have a great football history, and it’s never easy to play against us. We showed it against Croatia; this is a team that doesn’t give up and tries to score. Even against Spain, we tried to play openly, and they were better, but that must be the ambition; we have the possibilities to do it. We will try to propose offensive and proactive football even against Switzerland; we want to go all the way because winning is our goal.”

“Whether it’s three or four at the back, it changes little for me. Being a winger, I feel better in a 4-3-3. Did the team tell Spalletti they feel better with three at the back? More than the formation, we need to talk about how we approach the game; in my opinion, we can improve a lot in duels, in one-on-ones. I see Spalletti charged in the right way, demanding for sure because he expects a lot, but positive in our journey. He is confident in the team and what we can give him.”

“I am very happy with De Rossi’s renewal; we immediately got along well with him, and as a coach, he has proven to be very competent and capable. We are experiencing it well; we are really a good group that has fun and knows how to stay together. Did you think you would play a bit more? These are choices the coach makes. Mancini has always been used to playing with Roma, like Bryan and Lorenzo, and everyone trains at a thousand. The choices are the coach’s; we are training hard waiting for the call. This is a very serious and professional group.”

“I expect a very high pace; they showed it against Germany. They went very strong; they have players with legs and great quality. Then it’s the round of 16; it’s always a tough game, and attention to detail will be needed. In the videos, we see that a lot of difference is made by the details, the runs, and the meters you cover to recover the ball. We are ready for this.”

“Yes, it’s interesting but difficult. Even the lesser-known teams have shown they are very organized and can hurt the favorites. There are no easy matches, starting with the game against Switzerland. Albania was in the group until a few minutes from the end; it’s never easy at this level because the pace is always very high. But that’s how it is; we are ready to face any type of game.”

“Each of us always aims for the maximum. I have some regrets; I could have done more, but I have always tried to give my best for what was within my possibilities. Being here today is definitely a great privilege: I wanted to be here, and I succeeded, even if I’m not playing. It is a great satisfaction to be present in the team, and I am happy about this.”


Serie A obsessive.