World Cup →
Italy were facing a rather quiet programme, with only three friendlies being scheduled during winter and spring 1990. On the other hand, the team would have a longer camp before the tournament, thanks to the domestic season ending in late April. It appears that the Italian FA had decided for this early sesong ending in order to allow the team to have their training camp in May – but the result was a congested season that didn’t allow for more than three international friendlies in the period.
Goalless draw 1
Stadio Sant’ Elia (Cagliari)
Line-up (3-5-2): Zenga (Tacconi h-t) – Bergomi (c), Baresi, Ferrara – De Napoli, Donadoni (Mancini h-t), Giannini, Berti, Maldini (De Agostini h-t) – Vialli (Fusi 69), Serena
Very hard-fought game in which few chances were created by either team. Ferrara in for Ferri, no Baggio anywhere to be seen, and Carnevale had been replaced by Serena in the striker’s position. Teams nullified the threat from one another.
Goalless draw 2
De Kuip (Rotterdam)
Italy (4-4-2): Zenga – Ferrara, Bergomi (c), Vierchowod, Maldini – De Napoli, Ancelotti, Giannini (De Agostini 68′), Marocchi – Carnevale (Serena 82′), Baggio (Mancini 72′).
De Agostini breaks the deadlock
Italy (4-4-2): Zenga – Bergomi (c) (Ferrara 58′), Baresi, Vierchowod, Maldini (De Agostini HT) – De Napoli, Marocchi, Giannini, Donadoni – Carnevale (Serena HT), Schillaci.
Final squad selection
Italy’s squad of 22 players was announced Monday 30 April 1990. There were no big surprises in Azeglio Vicini’s squad, as he maintained the players he had trusted in the period between the 1988 Euros and the end of April 1990.
The friendlies played between autumn 1988 and spring 1990 had seen a relatively low overturn of players. Vicini had within fairly short time established a trusted group of players, and only to a very limited degree experimented in his line-ups.
It was therefore believed that Vicini would spring no big surprises in his squad selection, and these predictions were vindicated. Yet, there had been discussions about who among the fringe players that should take the last places in the final squad. Luca Fusi…
Coverciano training camp
The Italian team had a long training camp from 6 May to 3 June 1990 in Coverciano, outside of Firenze. However, much of the camp took place in the absence of players from Fiorentina, Juventus, AC Milan and Sampdoria, as these clubs were through to the final stages of the European Cups. The entire team didn’t come together until 25 May, when the European club competitions had ended.
Last preparations: Greece...
Italy 0-0 Greece
Italy (4-4-2): Zenga (Tacconi HT) – Bergomi, De Agostini, Vierchowod, Ferri – Marocchi, Donadoni, De Napoli, Giannini – Vialli, Schillaci (Baggio 70′).
Italy 3-0 Cannes
Goals: Vialli 38′ (pen), De Napoli 40′, Vialli 72′.
Italy (4-4-2): Zenga – Bergomi, Maldini, Baresi, Ferri – Ancelotti, Donadoni, De Napoli, Giannini – Vialli (Schillaci 72′), Carnevale.
A slow start to the game, but it turned out to be a positive dress rehearsal in the end. Notably Ancelotti was included in the line-up, and he was praised for his performance by both team-mates and Vicini after the game. In the words of the coach: “Carlo è uno che dà ordine e solidità.” The presence of Ancelotti meant that Giannini was more free to join attack, and the AS Roma star did also provide two assists in the game. Vicini did reportedly look calmer after this display by his team, apparently reassured about the team formula for the 1990 World Cup. A couple of minor worries as Vialli suffered a calf contusion and Baresi received a knock to his knee, but according to prognosis they were to be in fine shape until the opener against Austria a week later.