How Roberto Mancini rebuilt Italy to bring it to the precipice of Euro 2020 glory

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Three years ago, Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958. The nation had a squad that needed a refresh and an identity that needed an overhaul. Roberto Mancini has been hired to restore his homeland to glory, and he’s off to a good start.

The last time the Italian Sportsman of the Year 2019 featured for Gli Azzurri was when he was a player. Mancini was part of the national team from 1984 to 1994 but has never been a regular due to his country’s immense attacking options. Ahead of the 1994 World Cup, the striker decided to retire from the national team at the age of 29 because iconic manager Arrigo Sacchi did not guarantee him a place in the starting lineup.

“I refused to follow Arrigo Sacchi to the United States. Another mistake at a high price. Today I can say that I regret it, but of course it is too late, ”Mancini told Il Corriere della Sera in 2009.

Mancini has been a successful club manager winning 13 trophies at four different clubs. In his first stint at Inter Milan, he won seven of those trophies, including three consecutive Serie A titles. He laid the groundwork for Jose Mourinho to win the treble with Inter in the 2009-10 season. . The 1996-97 Serie A Footballer of the Year also led Manchester City to their first Premier League triumph in 2011-12. After unsuccessful stints after returning to Inter and Zenit St. Petersburg, the 2007-08 Panchina d’Oro winner has found a project that will reinvigorate him.

After winning the World Cup in 2006, Italy did not make it past the group stage in 2010 and 2014. It did better in the European Championship as it lost in the final against Spain. in 2012 and in the quarter-finals against Germany in 2016. In 2017, the quadruple World Cup champions lost to Sweden in a home and away match, 1-0 overall. It was the bottom.

Mancini was hired on May 14, 2018 and has promised to change his nation’s identity. The Italians have produced remarkable strikers and midfielders for almost a century. But defending has been the hallmark of their success. Some may think it’s boring, but it’s been working for decades. Eventually, Mancini realized that if Gli Azzurri was to become an international power again, they had to modernize their approach.

“We are a team that is always looking to play good football. Obviously, sometimes it does not work for us. Maybe sometimes we won without deserving it, but that’s football. This has been our philosophy for a few years and it has enabled us to achieve positive results, so we will continue on this path, ”Mancini told UEFA.

Using a 4-3-3 formation got the most out of his side. Full-backs are encouraged to participate in the final third. Wingers move into the half-spaces to secure scoring positions and midfielders like Jorginho and Marco Verratti dictate play from behind.

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Goals and playmakers came from all over the field. Forward Domenico Berardi, left-back Leonardo Spinazzola and Verratti each led the team with two assists. Forwards Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne as well as midfielders Manuel Locatelli and Matteo Pessina each lead with two goals.

Ahead of their semi-final game against Spain, Italy won five consecutive matches at Euro 2020. The only other time that has happened is when France won the European Championship in 1984. When they face La Roja, they will be deprived of Spinazzola after tearing their Achilles tendon during the match. their 2-1 victory over Belgium in the quarter-finals.

Mancini did a remarkable job in a short period of time. The 56-year-old has transformed Gli Azzurri from a pragmatic squad into an attacking machine. His job is still not finished as he has a major goal in mind.

“I have a dream. I want to win as a coach what I haven’t won as a footballer: a World Cup,” Mancini told Gazzetta dello Sport in 2018.

The Jules Rimet Trophy is the ultimate prize in football, but the European Championship is also a great achievement, and it is incredibly accessible for Italians.


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