Despite Mancini possessing a decimated Italian national side within the palms of his hands, the gaffer managed to make a statement as the Azzurri sealed a 1-0 victory against the Three Lions, sinking Southgate’s squad to Nations League B as they only have two points in five matches within their Nations League campaign ahead of the World Cup in November. Without further ado, here are three takeaways from Italy’s inspiring and impressive display this evening at the San Siro against the Euro 2020 runners-up.
Three in the back might be the way to go
Although many people were unconvinced by Mancini returning to Italy’s nostalgic ways of playing a three in the back formation, the gaffer seemed to have made a solid choice as his side showcased some water-tight defending against England. While the first half lacked creativity within the offensive phase and on the break, the Azzurri were cohesive defensively as the pressed the ball with good intensity and shifted as a unit. As a result, Southgate’s side were unable to find the back of the net and only tallied four shots on target throughout the entirety of the fixture. One of the stand-out performers within the back-line was Rafael Toloi, amassing a total of five successful tackles against a swift attacking side.
Dimarco unfazed by Inter blues
Despite Inter’s unimpressive form within the league, Federico Dimarco seemed to have been unfazed by the Nerazzurri’s troubles as the wing-back was stellar on the flanks. The wing-back was key to building out of the back with his impressive dribbling skills and his great deal of acceleration. He showed no signs of fears within the attacking phase as he accumulated 51 touches, 21 passes, and eight successful crosses with his fabulous left foot. Defensively, the promising defender did a solid job of breaking up England’s plays out-wide as he completed a total of three tackles against the Three Lions.
Raspadori to lead the front-line
While there were many concerns regarding who was going to be able to fulfill the task of leading the front-line, Giacomo Raspadori seemed to have cleared the air from all the doubts casted on the Italian national team with a marvellous display this evening. The 22 year-old forward was eccentric within the final third as he injected a burst of vibrancy and urgency within Italy’s attacking breakthroughs. The recent Napoli signing put his talent to full display in Milanese soil as he brought down Leonardo Bonucci’s over-the-top-ball with a magnificent first touch and weaved through Walker to curl the ball past Nick Pope to hand his side the advantage and inspire his nation to brighter days ahead.