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Analysis-Soccer-Dynamic Italy blazing a trail from ashes of World Cup failure

Analysis-Soccer-Dynamic Italy blazing a trail from ashes of World Cup failure

17/6/2021 1:51:00 AM

Analysis-Soccer-Dynamic Italy blazing a trail from ashes of World Cup failure

ROME (Reuters) - Roberto Mancini has said it took 'the end of the world' for him to become Italy coach but his side now appear to be in a brave new world following a classy 3-0 win over Switzerland on Wednesday that propelled them into the Euro 2020 knockouts.

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Group A - Italy v Switzerland - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - June 16, 2021 Italy's Manuel Locatelli celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates Pool via REUTERS/Alessandra Tarantino TPX IMAGES OF THE DAYROME (Reuters) - Roberto Mancini has said it took"the end of the world" for him to become Italy coach but his side now appear to be in a brave new world following a classy 3-0 win over Switzerland on Wednesday that propelled them into the Euro 2020 knockouts.

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After laying down a marker with a stunning second-half display in their opener to beat Turkey 3-0, Italy matched that scoreline but produced an even more assured performance.Manuel Locatelli was an unlikely figure to give Italy the lead in the first half when he started then finished off a sweeping attack down the right wing and then scored again after the break before striker Ciro Immobile adorned another magical night at the Stadio Olimpico by netting late on.

Locatelli, who had never scored twice in a game before, was the symbol of a side short on household names but bursting with talent which is making its mark at Euro 2020 after their miserable failure to qualify for the last World Cup.Italy's limp playoff defeat to Sweden in November 2017 ensured they failed to reach a World Cup for the first time since 1958 and prompted much soul-searching, with coach Gian Piero Ventura painted as the scapegoat and booted out. headtopics.com

Mancini, a Premier League and Serie A winner with Manchester City and Inter Milan but who has often been criticised for being too defensive, was an unlikely figure to lead the revolution the country was crying out for, but he has proved an inspired choice.

Italy may have shed their old defence-first persona under previous coaches such as Antonio Conte, but Mancini has taken them to the next level, building a hyper-pressing team that suffocate opponents in their own half.Mancini may have kept faith with seasoned gladiators such as Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, who have a combined age of 70 and were the only survivors of the defeat to Sweden who played against Switzerland, along with Immobile and Jorginho.

But his side also sparkles with players boasting courage and athleticism.Their opening goal against Switzerland was made by a combination of skill, pace and quick-thinking from Domenico Berardi down the right flank, beating a Swiss defender by the byline before arrowing a low pass at the feet of Sassuolo team mate Locatelli, who had started the move.

Locatelli, who struck again with a deadly strike from outside the area, has performed so well that Italy have barely missed their one star name in Marco Verratti, who was forced to sit out both their opening games due to injury.Berardi was a handful for the Swiss down the right wing all game while left back Leonardo Spinazzola, one of the best players against Turkey, was equally dangerous down the other flank, making Italy an unpredictable and terrifying side who became the first to book their place in the last 16. headtopics.com

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No team will look forward to meeting them next.(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis) Read more: The Star »

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Soccer-Mancini confident there is more to come from Italy after strong startROME, Italy (Reuters) - Italy coach Roberto Mancini said his 'excellent' team can only improve ahead of their second European Championship match, against Switzerland on Wednesday, even though they made a near perfect start in their opening clash with Turkey last week. Lucky they’re not facing Scotland! Its called football. You’re a Malaysian entity not a yank one. Act like it.

Soccer-Turkey coach, captain say team back on their feet after Italy lossANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey coach Senol Gunes and captain Burak Yilmaz said the team would bounce back against Wales on Wednesday after a disappointing 3-0 loss to Italy in their first match of the European Championship.

Soccer-Coach Petkovic warns Swiss players not to give Italy too much respectROME (Reuters) - Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic has told his players not to show in-form Italy too much respect and have belief that they can win when the teams meet in a European Championship Group A clash in Rome on Wednesday.

Soccer-Di Lorenzo starts as Italy face unchanged Switzerland in RomeROME (Reuters) - Italy defender Giovanni Di Lorenzo was handed a start for their second Euro 2020 game against Switzerland in Rome on Wednesday as manager Roberto Mancini otherwise kept faith with the side that thrashed Turkey on the opening day.

Soccer-Locatelli brace eases Italy into Euro 2020 knockoutsROME (Reuters) - Manuel Locatelli bagged a brace of goals for the first time in his career as imperious Italy defeated Switzerland 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday to become the first side into the last-16 of the European Championship.

Soccer-Improving Italy not a frontrunner in Euro 2020 race - ManciniROME (Reuters) - Roberto Mancini said France, Portugal and Belgium should be considered as favourites for Euro 2020 ahead of his Italy side after the Azzurri recorded their second consecutive 3-0 win at the tournament against Switzerland in Rome on Wednesday.