After another sound win against 10-man Wales, Italy have secured top spot in Group A and will face Group C runners-up Austria in the Round of 16. Now that the group stage is over for the Italians, let’s take a look at what we’ve learned about this side so far.
Fullback positions not an issueEmbed from Getty Images
Coming into the tournament many (myself included) looked at the 26-man squad and thought the position most lacking was that of fullback. After three games this is a take that has aged poorly. The worries concerning Italy’s fullbacks have been put to the side as Leonardo Spinazzola has been hugely influential in Italy’s attack, while the right-backs have kept things solid and engaged more in the build-up. Spinazzola’s performances down Italy’s left have been very impressive and he even earned a man of the match award for his efforts against Turkey. With Spinazzola playing so high up the pitch, the Italian right-backs have been more conservative, ensuring the centre-backs aren’t left exposed. In this department Roberto Mancini has the option of playing the defensive-minded Rafael Tolói, or the more natural fullback, Giovanni Di Lorenzo.
Strength in depthEmbed from Getty Images
Speaking about options, Italy showed against Wales that they have a deep squad, with capable players on the bench looking to make an impact. At the back, Alessandro Bastoni displayed his physical strength to great effect against Wales star Gareth Bale. If Giorgio Chiellini is unable to return to the starting lineup against Austria, Italy should feel good about slotting either Bastoni or Francesco Acerbi alongside Leonardo Bonucci. In the middle of the field Marco Verratti made his return from injury and had a fantastic display, looking to get on the ball as much as possible and move the play forward. His re-emergence gives Mancini a difficult decision to make in who he leaves out in the midfield for Italy’s next match. Additionally, Federico Chiesa and goal scorer Matteo Pessina were both bright against Wales and add two additional quality options for Mancini to bring off the bench if he wants to spark new life to Italy’s attack.
Italy should be considered favouritesEmbed from Getty Images
Off the back of three comfortable victories against three decent sides, Italy have shown that they might have what it takes to go all the way. The depth of the squad has already been tested, the team harmony seems to be quite strong, and Mancini has shown to be flexible with his tactics. While other tournament favourites France and England have already slipped up against lesser sides, Italy have gone about their business and beaten the teams they were expected to beat. It’s still the group stage and the games that really matter are yet to come, but Italy are rolling rather than stumbling into the Round of 16. Of course, anything can happen in the knockout phase of international tournaments like the Euros. Good form can take a backseat to luck or a moment of brilliance in a win-or-go-home match. It only takes a poor half, or one mistake at the back to see your hopes of a championship erased. But Italy look to be in great shape heading into their huge match against the Austrians and deserve to be viewed as potential tournament winners at this point of the competition.
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2021 was the most successful year in the six year history of TheMastermindSite.com. Over the course of the year, we doubled our number of views, visitors, social media followers and email subscribers from where we left off in 2020. Our most popular feature and the aspect of our website that has gained the attention from pro club managers, former and current professional players, and writers from The Athletic, has been our tactical analyses all year long. So with that, here are the ten most popular analyses of the year, all written by Rhys Desmond in 2021.
The eleventh of July, 2021 will go down in footballing history as the day Roberto Mancini and his Italian warriors etched their name in the history books. After missing out on the World Cup in 2018 entirely, Italy snatched the European Championship from England, right under the Wembley arch.
Kausty and Rhys break down their thoughts from the final match between England and Italy, including Gareth Southgate’s substitutions, England’s penalty woes, and the Player of the Tournament going to Gianluigi Donnarumma. Be sure to follow the show @futbolmasterminds on Twitter and subscribe via Spotify and Itunes!
Euro 2020 has officially come to a close, with Italy crowned as tournament kings. England gave a mighty effort in the final to stop Italy from taking the crown, but as the match wore on there was only going to be one winner, and that was Roberto Mancini’s Italy. Nonetheless, the final proved to be an intriguing tactical battle. We break it all down in our Euro 2020 Final tactical analysis.
Calling all subscribers to TheMastermindSite.com, our Monthly Magazine for June 2021 has now arrived. This month’s issue features an analysis of England’s 2-1 win over Denmark and Italy’s 2-1 win over Belgium.
Following the conclusion of the Euro 2020 semi-finals, the Futbol Masterminds break down the semi-final games between Italy and Spain + Denmark and England. Declan then tries to convince John and Victor why Italy will win, with Victor and John pushing back with echoes of “It’s coming home.” Follow @futbolmasterminds on Instagram to see more … Continue reading Futbol Masterminds – Italy and England Through to the Final! But Who Will Win?
After the craziness of the Round of 16 resulted in France, Germany and Portugal all being eliminated from the competition, the match that was expected to take place in the Euro 2020 final will now come to fruition. Italy and England have been the two best teams at the tournament, and the only two teams to not only go unbeaten, but win all of their games up to this point. Here is a tactical preview of the Euro 2020 final battle between Italy and England.
In a highly contested affair, Italy and Spain played out a 1-1 draw after extra time, and needed penalty kicks to settle the match. After missing just one of their spot kicks, Italy sent themselves through to the final of the tournament, extending their impressive unbeaten run to 33 matches in all competitions. Here is our tactical analysis of the match!
When establishing a style of play, all top-level managers face the same pragmatic questions: How will positional defenders become functional attackers (and vice versa) as changes in possession occur? Where is the balance between earnest advancement and cautious reserve? And how is that equilibrium expressed, implicitly and explicitly, on the team sheet?
Following the conclusion of all four Quarter Final match-ups, the Futbol Masterminds discuss the winners and losers of the round, and make their bold predictions for the semi-finals. Follow @futbolmasterminds on Instagram to see more of the show and subscribe via Itunes and Spotify!
Kausty and Rhys dissect all eight Round of 16 ties, including in-depth analyses of Gareth Southgate’s winning tactics for England against Germany, and Didier Deschamps’ losing tactics for France against Switzerland. Kausty has some choice words to say about Paul Pogba, but Rhys comes to the Manchester United man’s defense, calling it one of the standout performances from a player at the tournament so far.
Rhys and Kausty also disagree on how Southgate should progress his team moving forward, and make their picks for the final of this summer’s championships. Follow @futbolmasterminds on Instagram to see more of the show and subscribe via Itunes and Spotify!