5 Players That Will Impress the Most for the Italian National Team in the Euros

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Earlier this week, Italy revealed their squad for the Euros. There were some interesting exclusions, to say the least.

It doesn’t matter who got excluded from this squad. All that matters now is how the players on the team will perform. So, here are 5 players that will impress the most for the Italian National team in the Euros!

1. Nicolo Barella

Nicolò Barella - Player profile 20/21 | Transfermarkt

Image Via: https://www.transfermarkt.us/nicolo-barella/profil/spieler/255942

Nicolo Barella is arguably the best Italian central midfielder, currently. In my view, the only Italian central midfielder that could be better is Verratti.

Nicolo has everything you want in a box-to-box midfielder. He’s top-class at playmaking, dribbling, passing and not to mention tracking back. If he’s this good, hasn’t he already impressed the football world?

Here’s my answer. Of course, he’s already world-class. In saying that, international tournaments are where players like Barella can impress even more with in front of a bigger audience. It’s been that way ever since these international tournaments began.

Specifically, How Will Nicolo Barella Play a Big Role for the Azzurri?

Above, I’ve just talked about his talent and type of player he is. Here’s how he’ll specifically play a big role for Italy in their group.

Italy is definitely the favorites to win their group because they are with Turkey, Switzerland, and Wales. As a result, they’ll most likely have the most of possession in each game.

This means that each of these other teams will sit back and play on the counter-attack.

Offensively, Nicolo will provide that extra forward run that they will need to break down their opponents’ backlines.

Defensively, Nicolo will have the speed, strength, and positioning to stop teams from starting threatening counter attacks.

Let’s hope Nicolo Barella impresses like I think he will.

2. Manuel Locatelli

Locatelli: I'll always speak well of AC Milan, I wasn't ready to deal with  expectations there | Forza Italian Football

Image Via: https://forzaitalianfootball.com/2020/11/locatelli-ill-always-speak-well-of-ac-milan-i-wasnt-ready-to-deal-with-expectations-there/

At the young of age of 23, it’s been interesting to see how much Locatelli has improved in so many areas.

At Milan, he was a decent defensive midfielder. Over the last couple of seasons he has turned into a deep-lying playmaker. Now, is he or will he ever be close to the calibre of Pirlo or Xavi were? I’m guaranteeing he won’t. He will stand out in the Euros, though.

If you’ve watched him in Serie A the last couple of seasons or for Italy, you know how good he is.

Some other clubs also know how good he is. It is rumored that man city, juventus and psg are interested in him.

So, How Will He Be Important for Italy?

Locatelli is such a talented player in his position.

He creates space with his playmaking abilities and takes away space with his defensive abilities.

For Italy, he’ll be the last midfielder back, which means he’ll player a important role. He’ll make it hard for opposing teams to get into Italy’s half.

Think of him like Italy’s security guard in the middle of the park.

3. Gianluigi Donnarumma

Italian Legend Slams Gianluigi Donnarumma Following Poor Performance in the  European Championship | 90min

Image Via: https://www.90min.com/posts/5216441-italian-legend-slams-gianluigi-donnarumma-following-poor-performance-in-the-european-championship

In the last few seasons, Donnarumma has become one of the best goalkeepers in the world. The 2020 Euros will be his first big international tournament as Italy’s goalkeeper.

It will be tough for him because he’s taken over from the best goalkeeper of all-time, Gigi Buffon.

I’m sure he’ll embrace the pressure he’ll be under, though. Remember, he made his debut at 16 with one of the biggest clubs in the history of soccer.

How Will He Be Important for the Italian National Team?

We all know why elite goalies are important in the beautiful game, physically. Donnarumma has the potential to be important for the squad mentally too, though.

When Buffon was in net for Italy, you could tell that their backline was always super calm and composed.

If Gigio plays at an elite level in this tournament, he’ll have the same effect on Italy’s backline. The only thing he should try to avoid doing is having the ball at his feet as much as possible. He can be vulnerable with the ball at his feet.

4. Alessandro Bastoni

Alessandro Bastoni - Player profile 20/21 | Transfermarkt

Image Via: https://www.transfermarkt.us/alessandro-bastoni/profil/spieler/315853

Alessandro Bastoni is another player on Italy’s squad that has so much potential and will impress in the Euros.

A year ago, he probably wouldn’t have been on Italy’s Euros squad. That has completely changed, though.

He’s the perfect defender that can play out from the back and also has great aerial ability. So, he’s a massive scoring threat on corners and some freekicks.

Not to mention, he’s probably one of the most underrated players defensively. I know that sounds weird, given he’s a centre-back. It’s true, though.

How Will He Make an Impact in the Euros?

Given his abilities, he’ll be important in the Euros for a couple of reasons.

The first is because he’s a good passer and can handle the ball well in his own half, he gives the azzurri the option to play out from the back.

Defensively, he’s also super reliable. If I were Mancini I’d consider starting him. He’ll be that impressive.

5. Giovanni Di Lorenzo

Gattuso not satisfied with Di Lorenzo: the reason”. Montervino displaces  everyone

Image Via: https://www.italy24news.com/sport/11248.html

Giovanni Di Lorenzo is one of those defenders that not too many people talk about. They should, though.

Di Lorenzo is so talented for several reasons.

The first is that he’s probably the best right-back in Italy, defensively. Maybe, the issue is he’s so good defensively that he’s not that noticeable to the average fan. Clearly, Napoli and Roberto Mancini have noticed him.

Offensively, he’s super effective and efficient. If I were to pick a right-back that’s consistently reliable anywhere on the field, it’s him.

Why Will He Be Super Important for Italy in the Euros?

Pretty much all the other players I’ve mentioned here have specific skills that will make them important and stand out like crazy.

With Di Lorenzo, his quiet reliability in both halves of the field will impress. If Italy concede goals, I’m sure it won’t be on Di Lorenzo’s side of the field.

Conclusion

Whoever you believe will stand out for Italy in the Euros, it will be fun to watch them play in a major tournament for this the first time in 5 years. This squad will probably be their best since the 2014 World Cup.

There you have it, above are the 5 players that will impress the most for the Italian National Team in the Euros!

Honourable Mentions

Federico Chiesa, Giacomo Raspadori, and Marco Pessina

So, which Italian player(s) do you think will impress in the Euros? Let me know in the comments!

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Predicting Italy’s Euro Squad After Their Latest International Fixtures

Italian Legend Slams Gianluigi Donnarumma Following Poor Performance in the European Championship | 90min

  Image Via: https://www.90min.com/

Before I dig into my first blog post, I want to thank Joseph for giving me the chance to write a little bit on his site. 

My love for Calcio really started back in 2006 with Italy’s World Cup triumph in Germany. So, what better way to start contributing to the blog than by writing about the Azzurri? 

Following the debacle that was Gian Piero Ventura’s tenure, Roberto Mancini has moved Italy forward, rebuilding confidence within the national team and getting this side to play some really attractive football. 

After finishing unbeaten in Euro qualifying and top of their group in the Nations League — which qualifies them for the Nations League Finals next fall — Roberto Mancini’s side will head into the European Championships next summer with a ton of optimism. 

I tried my best at predicting Mancini’s 23-man squad for those Euros. With a lot of talent within the player pool, Mancini has some tough decisions to make between now and the first match against Turkey on June 11. 

  1. Gianluigi Donnarumma, GK, Milan 

It’s hard to believe Gigio is still only 21 years old, with 184 league appearances for Milan and 22 caps for Italy. He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world and a lock to be Mancini’s No. 1 in goal for the Euros. 

  1. Salvatore Sirigu, GK, Torino 

Despite Torino’s dreadful form over the past 18 months, Sirigu has been a bright spot in the goal. He adds a wealth of experience to the position group and is firmly the No. 2 behind Donnarumma. 

  1. Alessio Cragno, GK, Cagliari 

I’ve tipped Cragno to beat out Alex Meret and Pierluigi Gollini for the third-choice keeper. Meret isn’t first-choice at Napoli and Gollini has seen his Atalanta season slowed by injury. Cragno has starred for Cagliari for several years now and has recently been linked with both Inter and Roma. 

  1. Leonardo Bonucci, CB, Juventus

Bonucci’s inclusion in the squad is all but certain. Who plays alongside him is the bigger question. Giorgio Chiellini misses out because of his age and inability to stay fit since his knee injury last August. So, Bonucci will be the elder statesman of the backline and will be tasked with marshalling the defence. 

  1. Francesco Acerbi, CB, Lazio 

Chiellini’s absence is Acerbi’s gain, as the Lazio man should be the favourite to partner Bonucci in at centre back. 

  1. Alessandro Bastoni, CB, Inter 

Bastoni’s confidence on the ball makes him a perfect fit for Mancini’s possession style of play. The 21-year-old has excelled for Antonio Conte’s Inter and put in a great display in the win over Poland this past Sunday in the Nations League. 

  1. Alessio Romagnoli, CB, Milan

He’s only made 12 appearances for Italy, but the Milan captain has been in good form for his club in the midst of their terrific start to the Serie A season. He’s a useful squad member to have. Other names that will be in consideration here are Chiellini, Gianluca Mancini, Mattia Caldara and Angelo Ogbonna. 

  1. Emerson, LB, Chelsea 

Even with limited game time at Chelsea, Mancini has been a fan of Emerson ever since he took over the national team. He should look for a move elsewhere at the club level in January to get some more minutes. 

  1. Leonardo Spinazzola, LB, Roma

Spinazzola’s versatility — he can play at left-back, right-back or as a left midfielder in a back three — makes him a valuable pick for inclusion. 

  1. Alessandro Florenzi, RB, Paris Saint-Germain

After an up and downtime at Roma and Valencia recently, Florenzi has performed well since his loan move to PSG, who seem to play to his strengths as an attack-minded full-back. 

  1. Giovanni Di Lorenzo, RB, Napoli

I’ve been a big fan of Di Lorenzo’s going back to his days at Empoli. He will have to hold off competition from the likes of Danilo D’Ambrosio, Manuel Lazzari and a resurgent Davide Calabria. 

  1. Marco Verratti, CM, Paris Saint-Germain 

When he’s healthy, he’s Italy’s best midfielder. Let’s just hope he stays fit for the Euros. 

  1. Jorginho, CM, Chelsea

Jorginho is an integral player for both club and country. He’s the engine that keeps Italy humming along, even if it doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet. 

  1. Nicolo Barella, CM, Inter

A tireless worker, Barella is the perfect type of player to set up alongside Verratti and Jorginho in Mancini’s three-man midfield. 

  1. Manuel Locatelli, CM, Sassuolo 

It won’t be long until one of Italy’s bigger clubs come calling for Locatelli. His deep-lying playmaker abilities make him the perfect backup to Jorginho and he proved in recent matches he can also play alongside the Chelsea man in the three-man midfield. 

  1. Lorenzo Pellegrini, CM, Roma 

Pellegrini offers something a bit different from other players in the midfield as the quintessential box-to-box player with a decent eye for goal. 

  1. Sandro Tonali, CM, Milan

This was a tough one to call. Tonali hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations at Milan yet, but it’s still very early days in his career at the San Siro. Gaetano Castrlovilli, Giacomo Bonaventura, Stefano Sensi and Bryan Cristante are all in the mix in midfield as well. 

  1. Lorenzo Insigne, LW, Napoli

Insigne has performed better for the national side than some people give him credit for. I think he will shine in his first real action at a major tournament. 

  1. Stephan El Shaaraway, LW, Shanghai Shenhua

Il Faraone is expected to make a move back to Roma during the winter transfer window and that will help him as he tries to play his way onto the 23-man roster. 

  1. Federico Chiesa, RW, Juventus 

It remains to be seen if Chiesa’s long-awaited move to Juventus from Fiorentina was the right one for the 23-year-old. His finishing and decision making in the final third still needs improving.

  1. Federico Bernadeschi, RW, Juventus

There might not be a more polarizing figure on this squad than Bernardeschi. It’s no secret he’s struggled mightily at Juve recently. He’s rated by Mancini and seems to perform a bit better with Italy than he does for his club. Had he not suffered a torn ACL for the second time in eight months, Nicolo Zaniolo would have taken this spot. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely Zaniolo will be ready in time for the Euro’s next summer. Other options on the wing include Domenico Berardi, Vincenzo Grifo and Riccardo Orsolini. 

  1. Ciro Immobile, ST, Lazio

Immobile has failed to meet expectations for the Azzurri, but he’s been sensational for Lazio, taking home Capocannoniere honours this past season with 36 goals in Serie A. Mancini — and Italy fans everywhere — will hope that Immobile can finally replicate that form for the national team. Italy needs a reliable goalscorer at forward if they are to win the Euros. 

  1. Andrea Belotti, ST, Torino

Similar to Immobile, Belotti hasn’t been able to replicate his club output for the Azzurri. One thing you can’t ever question, though, is the Torino skipper’s work rate. Francesco Caputo is also very much in contention here. 

  1. Moise Kean, ST, Paris Saint-Germain 

Kean’s move to Everton from Juventus didn’t quite pan out, but he seems to have found his form with PSG, tallying five goals so far this season.  

That was my crack at predicting Italy’s Euro squad. 

I don’t expect to be 23 out of 23 on my predictions, as things will certainly change between now and next June. 

Let me know of any disagreements you have with my choices or who you think will be a part of the squad in the comments!

Thanks for reading and Forza Azzurri!

If you’d like to follow/connect with Vincent, you can do it via his LinkedIn profile and you can also follow him on Twitter @VinceLungaro. Additionally, if you or anyone you know who is a huge Calcio fan would be interested in being featured in an article or wants to write an article for this blog, you can reach out via email at josephporco6@gmail, com or calciofanblogs@gmail.com. Additionally, you can reach out to me via my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter account @calciofanblogs1, my Instagram account @calciofanblogs, or my Facebook Page Calcio Fan Blogs

3 Takeaways From Italy’s Euro 2020 Qualifying Campaign So Far

Image result for roberto mancini italy

                                            Image Credit: http://www.skysports.com

    Coming into this campaign, Italy needed to start rebuilding for the future  to return to what they once were and  so far, they’ve done that under Mancini. Here are my three takeaways of Italy’s Euro 2020 Qualifying Campaign, thus far.

    Roberto Mancini Has Called Up A Lot of Young Players 

    Coming into this, fans of the azzuri wanted to see Mancini call up players to the national squad that were younger, as under Ventura, we all know what happened and it just so happened that  throughout the 2018 World Cup Qualifying Campaign there  were a lot of older players there. Even if these younger players haven’t gotten the desired playing time for the club they represent, Mancini still seems to call up as much young players as possible. So far, many of these players haven’t disappointed and I hope Mancini keeps recognizing the talent of some of these young guns and continues to bring them to the azzuri’s squad.

    Italy Has Flourished Offensively Under Mancini 

       So far, in this qualifying campaign, the Italian national team has scored 18 goals with 4 matches remaining. Whereas, in 2018 World Cup Qualifying, they scored a total of 21 goals. A big reason for this has not only been Mancini’s implementing of a new philosophy, but also the wingers he’s deployed to play alongside the strikers. For many years, Italy has relied on a talented number 9 to carry the load in terms of goals. However, by calling up wingers such as Bernardeschi, Federico Chiesa and others he has taken the pressure off the starting striker to score and that has benefited them significantly.

The Amount of Goals They Conceded Has Reduced

   During 2018 World Cup Qualifying, Italy conceded 9 goals in total. Whereas, in this campaign, they’ve only conceded three goals, which is a significant difference. Although, it could change. But, on the surface you’d wonder why this has happened, as Italy has played a more offensive style, which leaves them more exposed at the back, right? Well, think again. By pressing so high up the pitch when they don’t have possession, they’ve slowed down the flow of their opponents offensively. Also, as a result of an improved central midfield, it’s now way more difficult for opponents to enter Italy’s half, which makes it harder for the opposition to be in good attacking positions. I hope this continues, as it’ll be important should they qualify for the 2020 Euros next summer.

Italy’s Performance Under Mancini So Far

Image Credit: https://forzaitalianfootball.com/2018/09/mancini-keeps-faith-in-youth-as-italy-overhaul-continues/

    As the Italian National Squad ends their  matches for 2018, it is worth analyzing how far they’ve come and what they still need to improve on. 

                          Positives 

                          Their Style of Play 

          For many years, the Italian style of play has been the Catenaccio system of play, which until recently, has worked for them. Legendary defenders and attackers have assisted them in playing this style over the years. However, under Mancini that has changed. The Italian National Squad plays a more attacking style of play under Mancini because he has realized that Italy is not good enough to sit on 1-0 leads anymore. The more offensive style of play also allows midfielders such as Verratti or Jorginho to play to their strengths, as opposed to being forced to drop back and defend for long periods of time. Which, is not their nest attributes on the field. 

       Italy’s Midfield is Flourishing Again 

        It has been a few years, six years to be exact. But, Italy’s midfield looks like they’ve found their creativity again. The midfield trio that Mancini has set up, has looked awe inspiring. Of course, when your midfield possesses the likes of Jorginho and Verratti, it’ll look sensational. However, under Mancini, Italy’s midfield has been on another level. A big part of that is the fact that Mancini is allowing the central midfielders to be more free and creative. That’s attributed to Italy’s new style of play. Of course, midfielders will always have to be good at running back and helping to defend, but under Mancini these magicians are also able to show their true strengths, which has benefited them greatly. 

        Negative 

                    Italy’s Lack of Goal Scoring 

      Italy has improved immensely under Mancini so far. However, one area that is still haunting Italy is the lack of goals. Mancini has tried many different players at the striker position. However, there is still no winning formula to solve Italy’s goal scoring woes. However, what I would suggest is that Mancini should continue to test out different players at that position. Even, try putting Insigne as Italy’s number 9. It has been working at Napoli this season. Insigne is naturally more of play-maker, but based on the amount of goals he has scored for Napoli this season at that position, why not try it? However, Italy seems to be improving under Mancini, let’s hope it continues.