Italy keeper Stefano Mammarella enjoyed his birthday with a clean sheet and a goal as "four days in hell" ended by eliminating a distraught Azerbaijan 7-0.
Article top media content
Roberto Menichelli, Italy coach
The situation was complicated after the first game [a 3-2 loss to Slovenia] – losing the first game can be crucial in a group with three teams. Tonight we put everything in order. It was not easy especially at a psychological level, so I want to congratulate my players as they are the ones who win games and I'm eager to stress that.
Once again they were exceptional. Every game is different – against Slovenia it was extremely tight and it was not easy after they took the lead. Tonight everything went well from the start and we defended very well in the second half.
First of all Stefano [Mammarella] is an exceptional guy. Then he is also a great goalkeeper and he proved it once again tonight. We wish him happy birthday again even if we already did it at the hotel when we gave him a small cake with a candle, it's a tradition we have.
Now we are calmer because we reached the quarter-finals but, as I said many times, the standard of futsal has improved a lot and there are not just a couple of teams who can compete at a certain level as it was a few years ago. It's impossible to predict a quarter-final of a European Championship as any team can beat any team. As regards ourselves, I just hope we will play with the same focus we had tonight.
Stefano Mammarella, Italy goalkeeper
I asked my team-mates for a 2-0 win as a birthday present and we won 7-0 instead so it was a huge present from them. I also scored a goal for the first time in two years, I think. Now I cannot really remember the saves I made, so I will have to re-watch the game and see what I did well and what I did wrong.
This morning we came here just to work on defending against their flying goalkeeper because we knew they were very good with this tactic. We have had four days in hell after the defeat against Slovenia but finally we are first in the group. We had blood in our eyes when we took the pitch, everything returned to normal only when we came back in the dressing room after the game. I’m extremely happy, my wife, my son and some close friends came here for my birthday and my celebration after the goal was all for them in the stands.
Sergio Romano, Italy goalscorer
We are very happy, especially because we know that the team that lost against Slovenia was not the real Italy. In sport you always hope for a second chance when you leave the pitch knowing that you did not give it all. Tonight we played knowing that there was no room for mistakes.
The goal I scored gave me an immense joy, especially because we knew that everything would have become easier with an early goal. It was great, I almost wanted to go to take the ball from the net and bring it to the centre to restart immediately. It was a great victory and now we can celebrate for a couple of hours, but tomorrow we must already start thinking about the quarter-finals.
Alesio, Azerbaijan coach
A very heavy defeat. From our performance you could tell we were not going to get through to the quarter-finals. We had a big chance, but we just received a big blow. This kind of defeat ... the players are guilty, but I'm guilty too. I'm the main man who is responsible for this. A 7-0 defeat is much too ugly for Azerbaijan. I have never had this kind of defeat.
We created some chances, but didn't convert them. Meanwhile Italy scored more and more. Things have been getting worse and worse. I just can't understand it. The first two goals we conceded were absolutely the same. Even if today in the morning we spoke about this movement and game situation. The goalkeeper could have helped us, but it wasn't his day either.
We had to take risks in the second half because we needed goals. We didn't have any other option. I am so sorry but we can't change the result.
Biro Jade, Azerbaijan forward
In the last five minutes before half-time I started to feel that we would lose. When we conceded the third goal, it was clear that it wasn't our lucky day. We wanted to play on the counterattack, but it was just the opposite. Italy created chances and scored on counterattacks. At the end of the first half we saw that everything would be very hard for us. But I didn't expect we would lose by such a big scoreline. We couldn't imagine this.
Italy prepared for the match against us better [than Slovenia, who Azerbaijan beat 7-6]. They saw how we played our last match and they managed to prepare very well. It's a big risk if you use a flying goalkeeper. It's always like this. Italy organised their game well, scored many goals and now we go home. It's certainly a very unpleasant situation. We could even have afforded to lose by one goal, but conceding that many goals is a great pity.
It might be my last season. We will discuss this when the season ends. We will see ... I feel good physically, but not everything depends on me. If I decide to do one more I can do this as my physical condition is all right. I will need to consider few points and then I will decide.