Italy was taken to the end by Spain in their Euro 2020 semi-final, beating Spain on penalties after 120 fascinating minutes of football. As Roberto Mancini’s men prepare to face England in the final, we take a look at the different areas of the squad, their strengths and weaknesses.
Gianluigi Donnarumma is only 22 years old but it looks like he’s been around for a long time. And in a way, he did. He made his Milan debut at the age of 16 and became Italy’s youngest goalkeeper at 17. In Italy’s 33-game unbeaten streak, he went without a goal for almost 1,000 minutes, before leaving one against Austria in the last 16. this corner. Substitutes Salvatore Sirigu – who got a few minutes against Wales – and Alex Meret are good keepers but nowhere near Donnarumma’s quality. Score 9/10
When Giorgio Chiellini came off the pitch with an injury against Switzerland in the second group game, it was hard to imagine the 36-year-old leading his country to the Euro final 25 days later. But that’s what he will do on Sunday, coming back for the quarter-final victory over Belgium and alongside Leonardo Bonucci for the victory over Spain. This is a testament to Italy’s defensive strength which they did not suffer when he was away, with Alessandro Bastoni and Francesco Acerbi entering as very capable MPs into a well-established machine. The loss of marauding left-back Leonardo Spinazzola was a blow, however, as his replacement, Emerson Palmieri, was unable to offer the same threat in the future. Score 9/10
Mancini prefers to play with a three-way midfielder and it’s pretty settled at Euro 2020 since Marco Verratti recovered from an injury to take his place alongside Jorginho and Nicolò Barella. Jorginho in particular is having a superb tournament and has been able to dictate matches with his passing and clever positioning although the three struggled against Spain. Luis Enrique’s side made sure Italy didn’t have enough time on the ball and looked unstable at times, something Gareth Southgate will look to replicate in the final. Italy have several options on the bench, however, with Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo) and Matteo Pessina (Atalanta) both scoring in this tournament when given the chance. Score 9/10
Ciro Immobile was the main player to enter the tournament, but after two goals in the first two games he has lost some of his momentum and seems a bit lacking in confidence. He was widely mocked for faking an injury against Belgium, only to recover when Italy scored, but started against Spain and should have the opportunity against England as well. While the stock of Immobile has fallen, that of Federico Chiesa has increased. The 23-year-old Juventus winger has been a breath of fresh air, always direct, always taking the game from the opponents. He also has two Euro goals, as does Lorenzo Insigne, the wonderful Napoli winger who operates on the left. Domenico Berardi and Andrea Belotti have been used as substitutes and work incredibly hard when given the chance, but they don’t pose a huge goal threat just yet. Rating 8/10
It’s easy to forget how traumatic Italy was when Roberto Mancini took over in 2018. They had just missed a World Cup, for the first time since 1958, under Gian Piero Ventura and confidence in the team was at its peak. painful stockings. However, the former Sampdoria and Lazio player quickly gave this team a new identity and expanded their canvas, choosing players from the so-called smaller clubs, with Sassuolo contributing several players. He has been tactically flexible when needed but prefers a 4-3-3 system. They have managed to keep the traditional solidity in defense but they are not a defensive team. They like to play with the front foot and with a high press. They are now the most successful team in Italian football history with 33 unbeaten matches, but they have to win on Sunday to be truly considered the best of the best. Rating 10/10
Mancini knows his best eleven and will likely only change it in the event of injury, although he made eight changes to the third group game against Wales after already qualifying for the knockout stage. The fact that several players have only played five games instead of six should benefit Italy on Sunday and when given the opportunity the squad’s players have shown they are capable of playing at this stage. Bastoni and Acerbi impressed on defense when called up, Locatelli played in midfield before Verratti’s reintroduction and forwards gave Italy a boost when they came on. ‘England, the whole team seem happy to be involved, whether they are starting or not. Rating 8/10