Soccer-England and Italy reach final summit from lowest lows

File Photo: Soccer Soccer-Euro 2020-Semifinals-England v Denmark-Wembley Stadium, London, UK-July 7, 2021 Harry Maguire of England celebrates with teammates after match pool via Reuters / Frank Augustine

July 9, 2021

Simon Evans

London (Reuters) – There is a surprising symmetry in England and Italy’s journey towards the Euro 2020 final on Sunday for all the differences in style and approach.

The two countries realized that their fans were at a historic low level of despair of decline, and found a man who could make a difference and quickly lead the way to success.

For England, its lowest point was Iceland’s exclusion from Euro 2016 in the last 16 years, but Italy’s despair two years later, four world champions even qualify for the World Cup in Russia. It happened when I couldn’t get it.

Gareth Southgate was not the person chosen to lead the resurrection of England. The FA chose Sam Allardyce for its role, but coaches under the age of 21 were given a job when his reign was shortened by unjustified comments on hidden cameras.

Southgate was able to unleash the talent of an exciting younger generation born of teams under the age of 21 and the Academy of Premier League clubs, but his most important decision was to change the culture of the English team. ..

He was able to make the England call that players were looking forward to, rather than the chores of fear and avoidance, as was often the case in the past.

Southgate found a tone of his own communication that reset his often hostile relationship with the media and also found the perfect sweet spot between aggressiveness and realism.

When the pressure was gone, England reached the final four at the 2018 World Cup, and then with more talent integrated into the team, with little attention to the constant reminders of past failures, Euro 2020 Systematically progressed to.

Still, the players on the team who have experienced the suffering of failure and its dropouts know where they came from.

“Given the last euro knocked out to Iceland, it still bothers me. I think it’s the lowest moment of my career,” Kyle Walker said.

“But we are much more mature now. Many of us are now playing bigger games, winning more and better managing the games,” he adds. I did.

Different history

Roberto Mancini had another history to face after Italy’s disastrous qualifying campaign against Russia under Gian Piero Ventura ended with the humiliation of a playoff defeat to Sweden.

Like Southgate, Mancini turned to young people, but his greatest influence was on the football style that Azuri created.

Italy uses a 4-3-3 formation, with two playmakers in the middle, usually Giorginho and Marco Veratti, with two wings who like to cut the inside, and to widen the width. Supports full back to move forward.

The focus was on aggressive press, resulting in one of the most enjoyable Italian teams in the last few years.

However, Mancini’s revolution did not undermine fundamentals, and it was wise to support the experience of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, who maintain the traditional Italian defense.

England reached the final of the major tournament only once at home in 1966, which was Italy’s tenth major final and instilled in the team the belief that Mancini could quickly return to the top.

“At first, when he told us he had the idea of ​​winning the euro, we thought he was crazy,” Chiellini says.

“Instead, during these years he created a team on the verge of doing it now, and as he repeated to us after every match,” one centimeter at a time “, And now, only the last centimeter is left.

Past records certainly support Italy, who has never lost to England in four major tournament meetings and has lost one in eight games against England.

But in contrast, Wembley has an overwhelming 60,000 pro-England spectators awaiting. Wembley has become a hostile place for visiting teams in this tournament and is an environment that Southgate teams like to play.

You may rarely choose between the two starting lineups, but as Chiellini pointed out, England has a stronger choice from the bench.

“All of their deputies could be in the first 11 of the winning teams in this tournament: (Jack) Grealish, (Jadon) Sancho, (Marcus) Rashford, (Dominic) Calvert Lewin, (Phil) ) All the players like Foden were on the bench, but they are top players, including Liverpool captain (Jordan) Henderson.

“It will be a great match. Neither team is afraid, but both will pay a lot of respect to each other.”

(Report by Simon Evans; edited by Ken Ferris)

Soccer-England and Italy reach final summit from lowest lows

Source link Soccer-England and Italy reach final summit from lowest lows

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