Italy reworked after World Cup failure
In three years, Italy has gone from failing to qualify for the World Cup to an ideal qualifying marketing campaign for the European Championship.
It’s a metamorphosis that got here ahead of anticipated beneath coach Roberto Mancini, who has discovered the right combination of youthful gamers and veterans to create optimism round a crew that had misplaced all of its confidence.
Presently on a 26-match unbeaten run — the second longest streak within the crew’s historical past, trailing solely a 30-match stretch from 1935-39 beneath Vittorio Pozzo — Italy has the respect of internet hosting the match’s opening match in opposition to Turkey on June 11 in Rome.
WHO TO WATCH
Whereas alternating middle forwards Ciro Motionless and Andrea Belotti are alleged to deal with the scoring, Italy’s power is its massive group of diminutive however extremely efficient wingers and midfielders.
Left winger Lorenzo Insigne is taken into account Italy’s most proficient participant and his lack of use in the course of the failed qualifying marketing campaign for the 2018 World Cup — particularly when he was benched in the course of the playoff loss to Sweden — irked followers to no finish.
On the opposite wing there’s Federico Chiesa, the son of former Italy striker Enrico Chiesa, whereas Federico Bernardeschi stays one other sturdy choice in assault.
Then in midfield there are countless choices with Nicolò Barella, Jorginho, Manuel Locatelli, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Matteo Pessina — plus Marco Verratti and Stefano Sensi, accidents allowing.
Insigne, Verratti, Sensi, Barella and Chiesa all stand 5-foot-9 (1.75 meters) or beneath.
CHANCES OF ADVANCING
A four-time World Cup champion, Italy’s solely European Championship title got here in 1968. Whereas the Azzurri will not be one of many high favorites this time, they’re anticipated to make a run into the knockout rounds.
Günes able to spring one other shock for Turkey
Turkey coach Senol Günes is hoping to spring one other shock.
Günes led his nation’s nationwide crew to its best soccer achievement almost 20 years in the past — a third-place end on the 2002 World Cup.
He returned to the helm in 2019 after a 15-year absence, serving to Turkey qualify for this 12 months’s European Championship.
The Turks surprisingly took 4 factors off France in qualifying, together with a 2-0 win over the World Cup champions, and misplaced solely one in all their matches to complete second within the group.
At Euro 2020, Turkey will play Italy in Rome within the match’s opening match.
Ryan Giggs case casts shadow over Wales
For Wales, the buildup to the European Championship has been utterly overshadowed by the felony expenses in opposition to coach Ryan Giggs.
The previous Manchester United winger was charged in April with assaulting two ladies and exerting controlling and coercive conduct. His trial is scheduled to start on Jan. 24, 2022, with a preparation listening to set for July.
Giggs remains to be nominally the coach however assistant Robert Web page might be answerable for the crew at Euro 2020, beginning with group video games in opposition to Switzerland and Turkey in Baku, Azerbaijan, after which one other in opposition to Italy in Rome.
Switzerland seems to Xhaka for management
A captain sporting the No. 10 shirt has an iconic standing in worldwide soccer.
Granit Xhaka may not match everybody’s thought of a traditional instance, however the Arsenal midfielder’s significance to Switzerland is valued at dwelling.
Xhaka makes the Swiss crew tick and is prized by nationwide crew coach Vladimir Petkovic simply as he has been by his membership supervisor, Mikel Arteta.
If Switzerland is to interrupt its streak of last-16 exits at this 12 months’s European Championship, the 28-year-old Xhaka possible will play an enormous half as he approaches 100 video games for the “Nati.”