Munich – In the preliminary round of the European Championship between Italy and Wales, 89 minutes had been played and the “Squadra Azzurra” led 1-0 when the audience rubbed their eyes in surprise.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini removed his goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who had not conceded a single goal in the entire tournament, and replaced him with substitute Salvatore Sirigu.

Verratti: “Everyone belongs to it”

What at first seemed like an affront to opponents Wales may have turned out to be a human gesture by Mancini.

“When we say that there is a national team for everyone, we mean it. Everyone belongs here,” said Italy’s midfield star Marco Verratti at “RAI Sport” in favor of the strange move.

Mancini already used 25 players

According to media reports, Mancini’s motivation for the strange move could be his own past as a player. At the 1990 World Cup in Italy, the ex-professional was in the squad himself, but only played a minute. Mancini later described this experience as the greatest disappointment of his career.

After the three preliminary round matches, Mancini has now deployed 25 players from his 26-man squad. Only the third goalkeeper, Naples’ Alex Meret, is still waiting for a European Championship.

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