The Azzurri won the continental showpiece after defeating England on penalties.
UEFA Euro 2020 finally came to its conclusion with Italy emerging as winners of the competition. The outfit secured only their second ever European triumph by defeating England in the final on penalties. Both sides were level at 1-1 after regulation and extra-time, requiring the tiebreaker to settle matters. The Italians won the penalty shootout 3-2 and went on to lift the title.
Italy came out on top and deservedly became European champions. Roberto Mancini’s men came into the tournament as favourites and did not disappoint. They faced several challenges along the way, but overcame each one of them, as they made their way to the final. There were lots of factors behind their success.
Looking at their journey from the very first match of the tournament, the Italians showed great togetherness and hunger to win. Therefore, here is a look at the five key elements behind Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph:
5. The hunger
Italy came into the tournament on the back of several unbelievable streaks. The last time they tasted defeat was back in September 2018. They brought a 27-game unbeaten streak which has become 34 games by the end of the tournament. Italy won all of their matches at the Euros.
At the moment, the outfit have a winning streak of 15 games. Moreover, they are one win or draw away from equalling Spain and Brazil’s all-time record of 35 games without defeat in international football. To maintain this level of performance over the course of the last three years, the Italians have shown incredible hunger to win.
4. The togetherness
A striking feature of the Italy squad was the team spirit. There was no clash of attitudes or egos, as the team banded together, helping each other through every challenge. A misfiring Ciro Immobile did not feel the pressure, as his teammates stepped up to score the goals.
Leonardo Spinazzola had to bow out due to an ACL injury, which acted as a catalyst for his teammates. They were focused on winning the tournament for their injured comrade. There were several match-winners in the team. The leaders in the squad such as Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci made sure to insulate the young players from pressure. As a result, youngsters like Federico Chiesa had a breakthrough tournament.
3. The experience
The old guard in the Italy squad did their job efficiently. The 36-year-old Chiellini and 34-year-old Bonucci were a solid partnership in defence. Players with experience in key positions ensured that the team had the right energy brought on by young players.
Figureheads like Lorenzo Insigne and Immobile played vital roles alongside youngsters like Nicolo Barella, Manuel Locatelli and Chiesa. Even through Gianluigi Donnarumma is just 22-years-old, he has over 34 caps for the national team already. The tactician’s strategy to find the perfect balance bore fruit, eventually.
2. The chief
Roberto Mancini can safely claim this as his biggest achievement in a glorious career as a manager. He took over the national team as head coach back in May 2018, after the outfit could not qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The former Premier League champion with Manchester City, oversaw a change in the fortunes of the national team. After the national tragedy of missing the World Cup in Russia, Mancini steadied the ship.
Euro 2020 is his first-ever international crown. Mancini used several players who could not qualify for the World Cup and improved their performances with his planning. He found the perfect balance and had a squad that was ready to run through walls for him. The tactician now has 28 victories, seven draws and two losses in 37 matches as the head coach of the Azzurri.
1. The determination
Italy did not seem like a team wh would taste defeat in the tournament, such was their approach to every game. They caught everyone’s attention by navigating through the group stages, winning all three of their games and keeping clean-sheets in all of them. The upcoming knockout stages were going to be even tougher for the outfit. They went on to face top teams like Belgium, Spain and eventually England.
Out of the four knockout games, three went into extra-time and two into penalties. Playing 450 minutes of football to lift the European title after a gap of 53 years required a lot of determination to succeed. They were also up against England in their own backyard, facing heavy odds. However, the Azzurri showed grit and determination to lift their second European crown.