Thursday, July 22, 2021

he Italians proved to all and sundry they deserved the title of European champions at the recently concluded "Euro 2020" tournament! Nobody is in doubt about their claim to the title. Right from the group stages, to the final match, they showed the stuff they were made of.

There were some close shaves for the Italians during the tournament: in the matches against Spain and England, when they had to go all the way ( penalty shoot-outs) to get victory. But in all those particularly very difficult moments, they kept the spirit of the "Azzuris" high, right up to the end, and were compensated with victory. Though some element of good luck was on their side. This is not abnormal as nobody achieves success without some dose of good luck!

The Italian side played good football, keeping faith with the typical Italian soccer tradition of "Catanaccio", which emphasises a water-tight defensive organisation. And for added measure, a decent measure of offensive soccer, patterned along the lines of 4-3-3 formation.

In other words, while the Italians defended their territory with vigour, according to Italian soccer traditions - they conceded one of the least number of goals of any team at that tournament- they didn't shy away from attacking their opponents and trying to score goals; even when they were leading!

The continued offensive soccer, even when they were on top, is not typical Italian way of football. They would rather conserve their lead than go for more goals. But the Italian team of "Euro 2020", while maintaining the typical Italian soccer tradition of "Catanaccio", went further by constantly playing offensive soccer!

Kudos must be given to Coach Mancini, for introducing this new element ( continued offensive soccer), to the Italian national team( while of course maintaining the typical Italian soccer tradition)!

Coach Mancini, was also blessed with players who could do his bidding. In other words, he had players who had the stamina to be mobile for the entire duration of a match. Even when the match lasted for 120 minutes! He also had very skilful/ technical players, who made the execution of his tactical plans on the field of play much easier.

The final match against hosts England, was the crowning of the efforts of Coach Mancini, with the Italian team in "Euro 2020".

The English led them early and for the most part of the game. No thanks to a rather weak start to the match by the Italians. But due to deft tactical manoeuvring by Coach Mancini and the combined efforts of the whole Italian team, were able to take the match away from the control of the English team, and imposed their game on the hosts! They not only got the equaliser, they held out in extra time, and kept their nerves cool during the penalty shoot-out , to deservedly win the match and the tournament!!!!

In conclusion, the Italians through their performance at "Euro2020", have not only conquered Europe soccer wise, but have redefined Italian soccer in the 21st century! A team that can defend well and also attack well, is certainly a formidable team, capable of attaining any height in world soccer! Once more a very big congratulations to them!!!!!!

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