Just one goal conceded and just five shots conceded on goal combined with offensive ability make the Azzurri a complicated obstacle for Belgium
From our correspondent Marco Pasotto
– Munich (Germany)
At this point we need to be honest: how many, at 20.59 on 10 June, thought that Italy at the beginning of July would be among the eight most beautiful in Europe with only one goal conceded in four games? Few? Probably very few, a handful of diehard optimists, despite the (more than) comforting signals launched by the Mancini gang in the previous months. Because in short, a goal in four outings is really the secret ingredient – certainly not the only one – of this team that has been amazing for 36 games. That is since Mancini has collected the rubble, rebuilding it with instructions capable of putting together the two essences of football: offensive ability and defensive solidity. The second aspect sees us as absolute protagonists in this tournament: a goal conceded, on a par with Belgium. Only England has been able to do better, which up to now has remained completely untouched but has scored with a dropper. We, on the other hand, boast an overall goal difference of +8, the best of all.
And since we talked about honesty, there is also a second question: how many thought that Donnarumma would get away so placidly, without jolts despite the epochal change of shirt that rained – complete with Roman medical examinations – right in the middle of the Europeans? Placid in the sense of a calm approach. No tension, no anxiety, no internal wear. Maybe against Austria it wasn’t perfect but in general, when he was called to work, he did his duty. And in at least a couple of circumstances it has made it clear why it’s among the best gloves in the world. His number 21, among other things, has just been delivered to the notice board of the Football Museum in Coverciano: the shirt worn against Austria, in fact, is the one that allowed this Italy to overcome the world record of unbeatenness held by Zoff (1,168 minutes against Dino’s 1,143). Of course, the companions greatly facilitated Gigio’s enviable “contemplative” condition, protecting him in the best possible way. Basically building a blue wall in front of it. Then, he thought of what little he had made inroads. The numbers of the defensive phase actually stand out a lot, also because they were not at all obvious.
Belgium doubles it
In particular, the number of shots taken in the mirror shines, which becomes interesting considering the sixteen teams that reached the second round. Chiellini and associates have conceded the crumbs. And that’s not a way of saying: we’re talking about 5 shots on goal in four games. That is an average of 1.3 per race. In this particular box we have no rivals. We are in front of everyone. England followed with 8 shots, then Denmark and the Czech Republic with 9, Spain with 10. Belgium? He is at 11 (an average of 2.8 per game). The primacy escapes us if the discussion is extended to the number of conclusions suffered overall. In this case Denmark and Spain lead with 24, followed by Germany with 25 and then we are here with 28. The Belgian data is worth noting: 56 shots, exactly double the blue number. The data is relevant, as is that of our goals taken: okay, Austria has interrupted a virtuous row that has seen us immaculate for 11 games, but we come from twelve games in a row in which we have always won by only conceding the Austrian network. Is it too trivial to say that Lukaku is warned?
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July 1, 2021 (change July 1, 2021 | 11:29)
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