Euro 2020: Decoding the squad of Italy
Recently, Italy national football team manager Roberto Mancini named a 33-man preliminary squad ahead of the upcoming European Championships in June. The squad needs to be cut to 26 as Italy will then submit the final confirmation to UEFA. Italy have been placed in Group A alongside Wales, Switzerland, and Turkey. Here we decode Italy's squad.
A fine display for Italy in win over San Marino
The Azzurri squad will have to be cut down to 26 players before June 1 and manager Roberto Mancini will be pleased with how things went in their friendly match victory against San Marino in Cagliari. Atalanta mid-fielder Matteo Pessina and Inter's Matteo Politano scored a brace each. Senior forward Andrea Belotti was also among the goal-scorers.
Mancini has the core of his squad in his head
Italy have several established stars in the squad and manager Mancini knows the core. Defenders Alessandro Bastoni, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Alessandro Florenzi, Gianluca Mancini, and Leonardo Spinazzola form the crux. In mid-field, Jorginho will add depth alongside Nicolo Barella, Bryan Cristante, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Marco Verratti. Federico Bernardesch, Federico Chiesa, Belotti, Ciro Immobile, and Lorenzo Insigne are established forwards,
Palmieri and Jorginho not named in the squad: Here's why
Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri and Jorginho have not been included in the squad due to their involvement in the Champions League final on May 29 against Manchester City. Both players are however expected to be named in the final squad.
Mancini has to take a final call on players
Mancini has to take a call on the remaining players to fill the final 26-man squad. The likes of Pessina and Politano showed their credentials after a strong performance against San Marino. Mancini needs to make a call on whether to include young forward Moise Kean. He started the game against San Marino. Mancini has a choice to make in the goal-keeping department too.
Italy's 33-man provisional squad
Goal-keepers: Alessio Cragno, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alex Meret, Salvatore Sirigu Defenders: Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni, Cristiano Biraghi, Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Alessandro Florenzi, Manuel Lazzari, Gianluca Mancini, Leonardo Spinazzola, Rafael Toloi Mid-fielders: Nicolò Barella, Gaetano Castrovilli, Bryan Cristante, Manuel Locatelli, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Matteo Pessina, Stefano Sensi, Verratti Forwards: Belotti, Domenico Berardi, Bernardeschi, Chiesa, Vincenzo Grifo, Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne, Kean, Matteo Politano, Giacomo Raspadori
Italy's recent performances at major tournaments
The 2006 world champions didn't make it to the FIFA World Cup 2018. Prior to that, they failed to qualify for the knockout stages in the 2014 event. In 2010, they faced a similar fate. The Euro 2016 saw Italy reach the quarters where they were beaten on penalties by Germany. In 2012, they lost in the final against Spain.
Italy are enjoying a 26-game unbeaten run
Notably, Italy are on a 26-game unbeaten run (W21 D5). As per Opta, this is the second-longest run in their history after the 30 under Vittorio Pozzo between 1935 and 1939. They go into the tourney as one of the leading favorites alongside Portugal and France. Under Mancini, Italy are flying high and that will boost everyone in the camp.
Italy are in the four-team finals of UEFA Nations League
Italy had earlier reached the four-team finals of the UEFA Nations League in November 2020. Italy's 2-0 win at Bosnia-Herzegovina sealed top spot in League A Group 1.