Italy were outclassed by Spain in a demoralising 3-0 World Cup qualifying defeat in Madrid which leaves the four-time champions facing a precarious play-off in November to reach Russia.
“Little Italy, Russian roulette,” the newspaper continued on its inside pages as Azzurri trailed not only in fitness but quality.
Coach Giampiero Ventura says “it would be a catastrophe” if injury-hit Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup with key qualifiers looming against Macedonia and Albania.
Ventura confirmed that Roma captain Daniele De Rossi was out against Macedonia with a knee injury with Inter Milan midfielder Roberto Gagliardini called up in his place.
Lorenzo Pellegrini, Marco Verratti and Andrea Belotti have already been sidelined with niggling problems. Italy should easily make the playoffs as it needs just one point from its final two qualifying matches against Macedonia on Friday and Albania three days later to secure second spot.
“Unfortunately every so often it happens that one area is affected … we have to try to stay positive,” said Parolo, who is now the only experienced midfielder left in the Italy squad.
“Our aim remains to improve and qualify,” he added. “Getting to the World Cup is an obligation for us.”
Immobile has scored in all but two of Lazio’s matches this season in all competitions and also netted the winner in Italy’s 1-0 victory over Israel last month.
“Ciro is in great form, he’s strong, sees the goal really clearly,” Parolo said. “He’s found full confidence at Lazio, he feels appreciated by everyone.”