Roberto Mancini summoned Federico Chiesa and Nicolo Barella in the first 15 minutes of the Euro 2020 final.
They weren’t doing enough to support Giovanni Di Lorenzo out wide, according to the Italian manager, and it was ruining his squad.
It was especially true given Leonardo Spinazzola’s injury necessitated a rearrangement and put Italy’s tactical balance in jeopardy.
There was a serious possibility that England might defeat them.
It didn’t happen, owing to Mancini’s reliance on the attributes that had brought Italy so far.
That was his ability to connect with the players, as well as his conviction and desire to teach his way out of problems.
Many people who knew Mancini well said this was his finest management achievement even in the early rounds of the competition.
This was due to the accomplishments’ purity.
He’s had past positions where he was backed by a lot of money and could buy his way out of most situations.
Something different, something more imaginative, is required in international football.
It was just one more reason why the event was so energizing.
It was pure in a way that went beyond the club game.
There were many disputes over the timing and location of Euro 2020 before it began, given that it was coming amid a Covid crisis after a year’s postponement and with such a wide spread of host cities.
In terms of the game’s history, it happened to be in the perfect moment and location.
There was vibrant color over so much grey after a year of fans being locked out of stadiums, culminating with a conspiracy of elite clubs attempting to lock everyone else out of the top level.
It reminded us why we love the game in true ways.
There were few outside influences in the club game, no oligarchs or state ownership, for example.
There was only national representation, with players participating for old-fashioned reasons such as honor and glory.
So much for international football’s diminishing status.
Euro 2020 showed us that nothing compares to an international event in sports.
It is unlike anything else in terms of requiring and consuming attention.
It becomes the town’s only show, the only show that matters.
Euro 2020, on the other hand, was not only a terrific tournament for modern international football, but also a magnificent tournament in the history of the sport.
It possessed all of the characteristics that distinguish a competition.
(Getty Images) There were a number of outstanding matches, including seven in which both teams scored twice, ending in perhaps the most exciting day in international football history.
In the evening of June 28, 2021, Spain defeated Croatia 5-3 and Switzerland stunned France with a two-goal comeback in a 3-3 draw.
As a result, goals like Karim Benzema’s and Paul Pogbas’s were little more than minor elements on the day – albeit tasty ones.
The competition had a magnificent diversity of goals, not just a sequence of fantastic goals.
From Patrik Schick’s long shot to Italy’s team move, Cristiano Ronaldo’s counter, and Benzema’s great touch, there was something for everyone.
All of this was heightened by what actually distinguishes a tournament: the narratives, which ensure dramatic climaxes and genuinely iconic moments.
Euro 2020 has the potential to be as memorable as Italia ’90 or the 1986 World Cup.
Denmark’s reaction to the Christian Eriksen narrative was the most well-known, but there was also North Macedonia’s debut, the Alvaro Morata psychodrama, Spain’s existential trip, the premature eliminations of France, Germany, Portugal, and Belgium, Scotland’s misery, England’s ultimate anguish, and Italy’s final redemption.
Another reason Euro 2020 was so pure was because of this.
It was an offensive tournament, so it was bound to be exciting.
The figures, as well as the games and goals, demonstrate this better than anything else.
Euro 2020, with 2.78 goals per game, was the highest-scoring European Championship since it became a genuine competition, edging out Euro 2000 (2.74) and Euro 84 (2.73) thanks to Leo Bonuccis’ equalizer in the final.
It was a long way ahead of the dreadful Euro 2016, which had a score of 2.12 points.
That may possibly be the competition’s most important tactical lesson, and potentially its lasting impact.
Euro 2020 could mark a turning point in international football.
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images) Its immediate predecessor’s gloom hinted about a drop in the level of activity.
International managers couldn’t hope to match the club game’s integration, so they focused on establishing a solid foundation and building from there.
It was what Gareth Southgate’s research in 2016 and 2018 highlighted when Portugal and France won their respective tournaments, and it was what the England manager attempted to model his own team after.
The problem was that teams like Italy and Spain demonstrated that there was another method.
Rather than imposing a system on top of the players, they tried to improve their abilities from within.
Their teams became more expansive as a result, and they were able to maintain a greater level of performance.
Despite missing their two best-performing players in Spinazzola and Chiesa, Italy was able to demonstrate this in the showpiece event.
They continued on their way.
Mancini has simply gotten imaginative in order to keep his team creative.
As a higher proportion of “positionless” players are taught, it could lead to a shift in talent development.
That’s one method to get past the limitations of international football, where you can’t simply buy your way out of problems.
It’s possible that this tournament’s champions may leave a legacy of their own.
It also shouldn’t go unnoticed that another wealthy Western European nation won a tournament after industrializing youth production.
That’s a distinct trend, and it’s one that has some parallels with the finance-driven club game.
At the very least, Italy rose to the top through playing exhilarating football.
It will ideally become standard practice in international football in the long run, because it is simply more entertaining to watch.
The entire competition was engrossing and entertaining.
This isn’t to suggest it was flawless – certainly not in terms of structure.
Notwithstanding the admitted drama of Group F, Uefa already acknowledges that third-place issues are a concern in terms of how they distort competitiveness, and they despise the multi-country system that was inherited from Michel Platinis’ reign.
The Euros are expected to expand to 32 teams in 2028, and they will never be held in several cities again.
Uefa has its own set of concerns to address, not least in relation to the political snafu with Hungary over the rainbow flag and the broader approach toward difficult nations like Azerbaijan and Russia.
Then there was the mayhem of the Wembley final.
The authorities are really lucky that the final did not involve any more major occurrences, but there is still a huge dispute that needs to be addressed.
The lack of anything more serious ensures that the problems with the occasion do not taint what was otherwise a fantastic tournament – possibly the greatest since Euro 2000.
Even the officiating and use of VAR were excellent.
It wasn’t even tainted by pointless arguments on the subject.
Despite its structural flaws, Euro 2020 possessed a remarkable purity to the game itself.