Why Italy will win EURO 2020 | UEFA EURO 2020
EURO2020.com Italian journalist Paolo Menicucci explains how 22-year-old “veteran” Gianluigi Donnarumma filled the void of Italian goalkeepers and the incredible unity of a team until Sunday’s final.
Italy vs England: live coverage
Italy can do it all
The Azzurri play possession-based attacking football with three technically skilled midfielders – usually Marco Verratti, Jorginho (the real brains of the team) and Nicolò Barella – constantly moving the ball quickly. Their three forwards combine well and can still score great goals, as Federico Chiesa demonstrated against Austria and Spain, and Lorenzo Insigne against Belgium, to name a few.
However, when needed, the Azzurri have also proven that they can form a solid blockade to protect goalkeeper Donnarumma, with veteran center-backs Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci turning into gladiators, able to get rid of every ball that sails. approaching the surface of the Azzurri. The perfect combination of youth and experience.
The best keeper?
I think Kevin De Bruyne is still thinking about his shot in the first half against Italy in the quarter-finals. The Belgian midfielder had perfectly directed the ball to the far corner with a powerful curling effort. He was ready to celebrate when, out of nowhere, the big hand of a diving Donnarumma appeared to deflect his strike.
At just 22 years old, the “veteran” goalkeeper has already made 32 caps for Italy and played 215 Serie A appearances with AC Milan. Is it possible to fill the void left by a certain Gianluigi Buffon? Yes, when you are Gianluigi 2.0.
The strength of the group
From day one, every player on the team has underlined how united this group is. “We don’t have players like Ronaldo or Lukaku,” Bonucci said. “Our star is the band.” The center-back added that it was probably the best Italy team he’s been in – some claim he has amassed over 100 caps.
It is obvious that Roberto Mancini did a wonderful job. The players seem to be enjoying every minute together and that is reflected on the pitch; every player is ready to help his teammates, and those new to the bench are always ready to contribute. “We are never afraid of making mistakes because we can always count on our teammates to give 100% and save us,” said defender Federico Acerbi. “It makes the difference.” It’s clear.
On the other hand…
The loss of Leonardo Spinazzola was a terrible blow for Mancini. The left-back had been one of the tournament’s surprise packages; he was twice named Star of the Match. He has appeared to be all over the last eight games for Belgium until he suffered an Achilles tendon injury that could rule him out for a long time.
In this game, in a few crucial minutes in the second half, Spinazzola blocked the goal line on an attempt by Romelu Lukaku at close range, then almost resumed a volley at the other end. Italy will be sorely missed by his incredible energy, although Emerson appeared to be a more than reliable substitute in the semi-finals against Spain.
Download the EURO app