After being exalted for the quality of its game, the national team was able to reach the final with means that seemed to belong to the past of our football.
Better to start with a premise: theItaly has used means that do not really conform to the idea of football that has given her so far Mancini not by strategic choice but because the Spain she started ruminating on her football right away and it was objectively difficult to wrest the initiative from her. That said, there is no doubt that the national team of Luis Enrique deserved more and even those who take to the streets with honks and “popopopopopopopo” cannot but admit it. Since, however, in football, as in all sports, the aim is to win, it is not necessary to think too much about the way.
The doubts, during the European Championship, were linked to the eternal dilemma of whether this Italy would be able to continue its march even in the face of high-level opponents. The answer came with reaching the final, and anyone who could think of arriving at Wembley riding the quality of play seen in the first three games or, in flashes, with Austria and Belgium, confused this national team with Brazil in the 70s. It was foreseeable that sooner or later we would have to face closed teams or with a great attacking quality or with an extraordinary organization. In modern football it is impossible to think of seeing a match in which two teams, with the same idea of football, share the initiative equally.
Spain is ahead of us (in background, habit and quality) in the search for a certain type of game and the semi-final proved it. Of course, maybe we would have expected some more initiative from the blue side but it was frankly complex to get out of the pressure and easily contract the close and precise exchanges of the opponents. Luis Enrique placed the false nueve (Dani Olmo) and set up a complex capable of spinning the ball with one or two touches to overcome the blue aggression. On the other hand, the initiatives of Italy were countered by a pressure directed on the man, with the three strikers oriented on the three defenders who usually kick off the blue action and the three midfielders ready to go and get the Italian midfield colleagues even in very high areas of the pitch. The only possibility was to immediately activate Emerson Palmieri, the only one who had the field in front of him given the many meters that Azpilicueta had to travel to pick him up. A play, this, seen too few times to be successful.
Plan b, for Italy, was to look for depth every time the ball came between her feet and, to be honest, even in this way, which is not really in her strings, she was able to build important opportunities and above all, she surprisingly took the lead with Chiesa’s goal. In short, the match with Spain was the real and definitive crash test to realize that this team can stand by right with the greats. It is not only the fact of winning by suffering, it is, above all, the ability to do so when one is called to act on unknown terrain and using non-congenial weapons. In short, for one evening, Italy found the files of the past and won. And that’s always the only thing that matters.