Roberto Mancini described his tenure as Italy’s coach as “the end of the world”, but now his team is brave in a new world after yesterday’s impressive 3-0 victory over Switzerland and qualification for the knockout stages of the European Football Championship.
And after issuing a warning with a superb second-half performance in the 3-0 win over Turkey in the opening match; Italy achieved another victory with the same result and with a better performance.
Manuel Locatelli gave Italy the lead in the first half when he started and finished an attack from the right and then added his second goal after the break, before Ciro Immobile ended the hat-trick near the end at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
Italy lost to Sweden in the World Cup qualifiers in November 2017, to fail to qualify for the finals for the first time since 1958, and then the search for self began, and coach Gian Piero Ventura was the scapegoat and left the national team.
Mancini was not the winner of the English Premier League with Manchester City and the Italian League with Inter Milan, but he was criticized for his defensive style closest to leading the revolution that his country sought, but he proved that he was the appropriate choice.
The Azzurri may have begun to abandon their defensive approach under the leadership of former coaches, as Antonio Conte did, but Mancini took this to another degree by relying on continuous pressure to stifle the opponent in his own half.
Perhaps Mancini kept his faith in Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, who have a total age of 70, who – along with Immobile and Jorginho – are among the survivors of the Sweden match, and were in the starting lineup against Switzerland.
The team also has many players who enhance the courage and physical strength of the team.
The first goal against Switzerland was a combination of skill, speed and quick thinking from Domenico Praardi, who raced down the right flank, passed a defender and sent a low pass to Sassuolo team-mate Locatelli who started the attack.
Locatelli, who added the second goal with a shot from outside the penalty area, made a strong performance that made Italy not feel the absence of Marco Verratti, who did not participate in the first two matches due to injury.
Barardi was dangerous on the right side throughout the match, and Leonardo Spinazzola – one of the best players in the Turkey match – was dangerous on the other side and contributed to Italy being the first team to book its place in the final price.