Content Editor at Free Super Tips, Alex was born in the shadow of Old Trafford and is an avid Man Utd fan. After graduating from university he combined his love of football, writing and betting to join FST and now closely follows goings-on in all of the top European leagues.
Previous best: Winner (1968)
Italy won their first and only European Championship title to date back in 1968 when they beat Yugoslavia 2-0 in the final in Rome. The Italians were twice beaten finalist much more recently however, in 2000 (1-2 vs France) and 2012 (0-4 vs Spain).
Italy headed for the knockout rounds
Italy have long been one of the powerhouses of international football, though their failure to qualify for the last World Cup sparked a major fallout and some serious introspection for the Azzurri.
The decision to appoint former Manchester City and Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini in May 2018 proved to be a masterstroke however, and Italy ran roughshod over their opponents to claim top spot and a perfect ten wins from ten during their superb Euro 2020 qualification campaign.
Their form since then has been just as impressive and having topped a tough Nations League group ahead of the Netherlands, Italy have taken control in their World Cup qualifying section with a hattrick of routine victories over Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.
Italy should be able to harness home advantage to start quickly during this summer’s group stage where their typically well-drilled defensive and technically gifted midfielders should allow them to put plenty of points on the board.
The lack of consistent international goal-getters in their ranks could hold them back when the going gets tough in the competition’s latter rounds however.
The highest-scorer in their ranks is veteran Lazio hitman Ciro Immobile, who has notched a relatively modest 12 goals in 45 international run outs, and the Italians’ forward line isn’t quite as star-studded as some of their more fancied rivals for silverware.
One to watch: Leonardo Bonucci
The vastly experienced and always reliable Leonardo Bonucci passed the 100-cap mark for Italy this year and the 34-year-old will be a key cog in Roberto Mancini’s machine again this summer.
The Juventus stalwart made his international debut all the way back in 2010 and Bonucci was part of the Azzurri squad that finished as runners-up at Euro 2012 in Poland/Ukraine.
Rising star: Federico Chiesa
Federico Chiesa was one of the bright sparks in an otherwise underwhelming campaign for Juventus in Serie A this season and the dynamic 23-year-old brings some flair, unpredictability and most importantly – an eye for goal – to Italy’s attack.
Did you know…
Belgium were the only team to qualify for Euro 2020 quicker than Italy. Only the Belgians (three) conceded fewer goals in their ten qualification matches than Italy (four).
Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne.
Italy to reach the quarter finals at 4/6
Italy look a class above Group A opponents Turkey, Wales and Switzerland, and with all three of their first phase matches scheduled to be played in Rome, Roberto Mancini’s charges should be able to make the most of home advantage to earn comfortable passage to the knockout rounds.
A date with the runner up from Group B awaits in the Round of 16 and with Belgium expected to coast to top spot in that section, a fixture against one from Russia, Denmark or Finland in Amsterdam should follow.
The slick-passing Italians would be fancied to oust any one from that trio of potential opponents in a knockout fixture and a string of professional performances from Italy would see them navigate what looks an upset-free route to the Euro 2020 quarter finals.
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