Ancelotti hopes final will silence calcio critics

ROME: AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti believes the Champions League final gives Italian football the perfect opportunity to silence its critics, who rounded on Serie A’s finest after a dismal World Cup campaign. 

Milan play Juventus in the first ever all-Italian final at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium next Wednesday. 

“The final will provide Italian football the chance to show what it can do,” Ancelotti told  

“The behaviour of the fans, the players, the kind of football played, everything.  

“This is important after Italy’s failure at last year’s World Cup. It will be a chance to show ourselves in a good light. 

“We will be able to give a good shoulder charge to those critics.”  

Three Italian clubs reached the last four of the Champions League this season, with Inter Milan losing on away goals to city rivals Milan in the semi-finals. 

This contrasts starkly with Serie A’s fortunes last season when not one Italian team made it through to the quarter-finals. 

Domestic disappointment was then followed by Italy’s ignominious second round exit at last summer’s World Cup in Japan and South Korea. 

The Azzurri struggled through the first phase before being knocked out by co-hosts South Korea in one of the competition’s biggest ever upsets. 

Although Ancelotti is hoping for a good advertisement for ‘calcio’ next week, the 43-year-old is expecting the teams to retain some of their defensive characteristics at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’. 

“The two teams know each other so well, and this is a cup match, it will be very even,” said the former Italy international, who has also managed Juventus. 

“The game could be decided by a simple mistake, an error, a backheel, anything.” – AFP  

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