This week we look at UEFA Euro 1968, a year of firsts, a year of chance and a very different competition to the tournament we know today. Italy were the host nation and went on to win their only European championship to date in a pretty unconventional manner – making their way past the USSR by means of a coin toss and beating Yugoslavia in a Final that was played twice.
Ciro Immobile is a particular kind of striker. He has always scored, in every team he played. At the same time, he has also always shown some limits, especially when he tried to take his career to the next level. That is one of the reasons why public opinion never seems to have ever considered him a top striker, even though his scoring stats with Lazio are impressive.
There is a reason why Italy’s dazzling 9-1 win over a modest Armenia selection is sending the whole world of calcio in raptures. Historically, the Italians have not exactly been known for their offensive style of play, their football credo being rather exemplified by the notorious catenaccio. Roberto Mancini is on a mission to change that perception.
Mission accomplished. Roberto Mancini and the Azzurri booked their ticket to Euro 2020 as they trailed Greece 2-0 in Rome on Saturday. It was a tougher match than expected for the Italian side, but winning was the only thing that mattered. The Azzurri did so by means of a penalty by Jorginho and a sharp conversion by Federico Bernardeschi.
Roberto Mancini’s Italy run fast towards Euro 2020. The Azzurri need only three more points to book a European Championship ticket as they won 1-2 in Finland on Sunday, with Jorginho giving the visitors the decisive lead, after conceding an equalizer to Teemu Pukki. Ciro Immobile had marked Italy’s opener to end his two-year scoring drought with the Nazionale jersey.
With more struggling than expected, Italy disposed of Armenia to grab their fifth win out of five Euro 2020 Qualification games. Tonight’s victory was propitiated by Andrea Belotti, who equalized for the Azzurri and eventually put his stamp on the third goal, after the hosts had taken an early lead. Lorenzo Pellegrini scored the second for Roberto Mancini’s band.
The Azzurrini did their job, but their fate doesn’t depend on them anymore. Luigi Di Biagio’s Under-21 selection defeated 3-1 an already-eliminated Belgian side on Saturday, but Spain’s simultaneous 5-0 routing of Poland qualified the young Furias Rojas as first from Group A of the U-21 European Championship. Chances for Italy to advance as best runner-up are dim.
Italy, it’s reality-check time already. A lone goal by Krystian Bielik gave Poland an unexpected win over Luigi Di Biagio’s Azzurrini in the second match of Group A of the U-21 European Championship. Italy are now at risk of missing the train to the next stage of the tournament. Even beating Belgium next Saturday could not be enough to book a place in the Semifinals.
Italy U-21 finally broke a spell made of multiple setbacks against the same-aged Spaniards, defeating Luis de la Fuentes’ side 3-1 on Sunday in their opening match in Group A of the U-21 European Championship. The young Azzurri came from behind to level Dani Ceballos’ lead with a double by Federico Chiesa, before setting the score with Lorenzo Pellegrini.
The Azzurri have learned to suffer. It was a battle with no quarter on Tuesday at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, where Italy knocked down Bosnia with goals by Lorenzo Insigne and Marco Verratti, coming from behind in the second half to neutralize Edin Dzeko’s opener. Roberto Mancini’s boys caught the fourth win in four Euro 2020 qualification games.
Brazil-Italy is the Superclasico of the World Cup, the most traditional game in the major football competition. The Azzurri and the Selecao have crossed their paths many times in the history of the world tournament, always with much at stake. On July 17, 1994, Brazil prevailed over Italy in the first World Cup Final decided on penalties to conquer the long-yearned-for “Tetra.”
Italy made it again to the Top Four. The Azzurrini beat Mali 4-2 today in Tychy, Poland to book a place in the Semifinals of the Under 20 World Cup, an achievement already reached two years ago by coach Paolo Nicolato’s squad. Italy’s next opponent on the way to the Final in Lodz will be Ukraine, which beat Colombia 1-0 earlier in the afternoon.