The England men’s national team is set to dominate this country’s news feeds ahead of their Euro 2020 final against Italy, but it’s always interesting to add a little outside perspective.
Which Italian players should we fear most? Which England players are giving the opposition sleepless nights? Is singing ‘it’s coming home’ working wonders for our reputation overseas?
How does Roberto Mancini compare to recent Italian national team managers like Marcello Lippi and Antonio Conte?
They are three different managers. Lippi and Conte have a sort of ‘Juventus DNA’ that makes them winners regardless of results. Lippi won a World Cup and Antonio Conte won national titles in Italy with Juventus and Inter and in the UK with Chelsea. But they had great players in their squad, such as Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Zambrotta, Gennaro Gattuso, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero in 2006’s World Cup-winning team. Marcello Lippi always remains a step above the others. We all know the importance of winning a World Cup.
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Conte had some of the best midfielders in his period in Juventus like Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo. In his experience with Italy, Conte did a great job but couldn’t achieve great results with Italy.
Roberto Mancini hasn’t got champions in his squad. There are only some very good players in the Euro 2020 team, like Jorginho and Gianluigi Donnarumma but few others. So the top ‘player’ of this team is Roberto Mancini, who has been able to create a team after the defeat against Sweden and the failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. On Sunday, Italy will try to win thanks to the humility, determination and conviction Mancini has built in the group during his three years as a coach. For what he is doing, however, Mancini has all the credentials to enter the history of the Italian national team, something that Antonio Conte was unable to do.
Which Italy player should England be most afraid of?
There are several good players in the Italy squad. If we have to choose a player overall across both teams, we opt for Federico Chiesa. For us, he is the player England should be most afraid of. He has a lot of great skills, a good sense of goal, excellent dribbling skills and explosiveness. At 23 years old, Chiesa seems aware that he is a complete footballer who could play at any club in the world.
Which Italy weakness are you most worried about?
After a great group stage, Italy began to have some problems scoring. There were some difficulties in the construction phase with few chances supplied for our strikers. Furthermore, compared to the beginning of the tournament, the performance of Ciro Immobile has certainly dropped.
Which England player are you most scared of?
There are many young talented footballers in the England squad. Phil Foden is an incredible player and Raheem Sterling is playing maybe like never before in his career, but the most dangerous player for Italy’s defence is Harry Kane. Besides, he is still in the running to win the Euro 2020 Golden Boot.
Euro 2020 Golden Boot: Current Standings, Top Scorers
|Position||Player||Goals||Assists||Minutes per goal|
Correct as of 18:30 08/07/2021. Where players are tied, positions determined by the number of assists then fewest minutes played.
What do you think is England’s biggest weakness?
Maybe midfield. Rice and Phillips are good players but not excellent. And calling Phillips the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’ is too much!
Who’s the best player across both teams?
No doubt, the most talented player across both teams is Phil Foden. But if we were to say who is the strongest and most fit player, at the moment we choose Chiesa.
Do Italian fans and media generally see all the ‘it’s coming home’ stuff as arrogant?
Absolutely, yes. Some know this as a song from Euro ‘96 but not everyone. We believe Kasper Schmeichel gave the definitive answer in the pre-match press conference of the second semi-final. England never won the Euros, so the Euros can’t be “coming home.” Rather, paraphrasing a famous line from Game of Thrones, you could at most say that “the Euros is coming”.
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What do you make of all the Ballon d’Or talk surrounding Jorginho?
There are, of course, at least six or seven players better than Jorginho. We remember that there were some editions of the Ballon d’Or in which the trophy wasn’t won by the best players but the most impressive ones or by someone that won everything in the season. So we think that Jorginho definitely deserves to have a chance.
No doubt, England will win the game, 2-0. Congratulations.