Friday, July 30

Impolute Italy | Soccer Eurocup 2021

Italy celebrates with the fans the move to the second round, the full of triumphs.
Italy celebrates with the fans the move to the second round, the full of triumphs.Alessandra Tarantino / POOL / EFE

Italy offers such an immaculate image that it flees from any stain at the European Championship. He does not want to raise suspicions and has deleted the word from his dictionary cookie with which suspicious results that benefit the two contenders to the detriment of a third party are called. A draw was worth starting the Italians and Welsh to sign their pass to the round of 16 without waiting for the outcome of Turkey-Switzerland. The 1-0 also served them both after Switzerland-Turkey: 3-1.

Although Wales always played not to lose, with eleven and ten due to the expulsion of Ampadu, Italy wanted to win regardless of the crosses to extend their victorious career: there are already 30 games without losing (25 wins and five draws) and 11 games without conceding a goal, a streak that equals Vittorio Pozzo’s (1935-1939) in the old days.

Although he did not score three goals, as is his custom in the tournament, no one disputed his minimal victory after Pessina’s goal. Mancini did well to line up the non-regulars to keep competitive tension in a single match for pristine and leading Italy. In the absence of a dispute on the court, even at 1-0, there was so much familiarity in the Azzurra that the coach changed goalkeeper Donnarumma for Sirigu in the 90th minute.

Italy is a selection more than a team if you look at the game they offered against Wales. There is no player who does not want to target Mancini’s winning dynamic. The coach’s rotations, who changed the line-up from area to area with respect to the matches against Turkey and Switzerland, made it possible to enter the scene of footballers known and hitherto unpublished due to injury, such as Verratti. The PSG midfielder vindicated himself to his coach after losing his place to the excellent Locatelli. Verratti forced the free-kick and bounced the indirect free-kick that made Pessina’s shot possible at 1-0. The play showed that Italy is also dominating the strategy after showing off a very lively and dynamic game that has caused a sensation in Rome.

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Mancini’s manual does not forget the old Italian customs, few as well known as set-piece goals, a lifelong calcium classic, if it were not for the fact that Pessina’s action was above all subtle, nothing to do with crossed balls looking for the head of centrals like Bonucci. It was also surprising that three of his players formed behind the Wales barrier on a direct free kick before Bernardeschi finished off Ward’s right post. The three Italians went offside just before the Juve midfielder kicked off.

Italy stopped looking at their navel since they fell from the 2018 World Cup and updated themselves in line with the most modern European teams, without giving up their idiosyncrasy since most of their players play in the Italian league. Bernardeschi also continuously volunteered for Mancini. He intervened so much that Ampadu tried to eliminate him with a foul that was sent off by the Romanian referee Hategan.

Holders and alternates

Wales had a hard time finding their place, too much of a spectator and aware of corner kicks more than the game, reduced to Bale. The madridista barely found the place and time to set up his shot or assist Ramsey, squeezed by the Italian brand. He had only one chance, very clear after a set piece action, and the ball slipped over Donnarumma’s crossbar. Bale’s left-handed volley narrowly missed the goal due to Italy’s dismissal.

The squad of Page barely gave more signs of offensive life while Mancini was applied in the wheel of changes so that the maximum number of footballers were participants of the sweet moment that he has lived in Rome. It is enough to see the celebration of Pessina’s goal, embracing substitutes and holders, to explain the communion that the group led by Mancini lives.

The prospects for the Italians also seem favorable because their rival in the round of 16 will be Austria or Ukraine. The Wembley event is a magnificent challenge for Italy. Mancini has expanded the group of footballers who aspire to be part of the lineup after recovering Verratti and Bernardeschi. Locatelli, however, is today the symbol of the Italian renaissance and it will be difficult for him to warm up the bench, so Barella may be the one affected.

More complicated will be the adversary of Wales, second by goalaverage ahead of Switzerland, which aspires to also qualify as third in Group A. Neither of them has in any case been at the level of Italy, as decisive as it is beautiful in their game after their international disappearance in 2018.

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