Serie A dominates EURO 2020

by | Jul 14, 2021 20:00

After a decade of struggles in continental competitions, Owen Diana believes UEFA Euro 2020 showed Serie A is a force to be reckoned with once again.

Although the focus was on the country and not clubs at EURO 2020, the success of Serie A still stood out. An entertaining Azzurri side composed mostly of domestic-based talents were crowned champions, while a host of foreigners based on the Peninsula produced standout showings in UEFA’s showpiece event.

The statistics support the superiority of Serie A. No league was responsible for more goals (37) or contributed more goalscorers (20), while only the Premier League collected more Man of the Match awards (15 vs. 13).

Italy and England’s top flight have the same amount of players in the Team of the Tournament (five each) while Barcelona and Spain starlet Pedri is the only player from La Liga.

Many of those decisive individual displays were produced by established international stars like Romelu Lukaku and Capocannoniere Cristiano Ronaldo, but a host of up-and-coming talents also burnished their reputations. Federico Chiesa continued to catch the eye after ending the campaign in fine form with Juventus, while Denmark duo Mikkel Damsgaard and Joakim Maehle were key cogs for the surprise semi-finalists.

EURO 2020 | Juventus the highest scoring club at the Euros

Atalanta man Maehle was just one of a number of impressive performers for La Dea. Five different Bergamo boys found the back of the net in the tournament, a record matched only by Anderlecht (1984), Barcelona (2000) and Real Madrid (2012).

That stat reflects just how far La Dea have come in recent times, and Italy made similarly swift progress on their way to a second European Championship trophy. After missing out on Russia 2018, a squad containing 23 players who strutted their stuff in Serie A last season helped to put that famous failure firmly in the rear-view mirror.

With former Inter boss Roberto Mancini at the helm, an adventurous Azzurri delighted onlookers while maintaining the traditional commitment to dogged defending. That tactical yin and yang was epitomised in the final by the uncompromising Giorgio Chiellini, who was given license to go forward even after Italy claimed a crucial equaliser through fellow centre-back Leonardo Bonucci.

Italy silence doubters by winning EURO 2020

That intoxicating mix of silk and steel echoes the evolution happening at club level. After a 2019-20 season that averaged more than three goals a match for the first time since 1951-52, Serie A boasted the highest goals-per-game figure in Europe’s top five leagues last term (3.06).

The cradle of catenaccio is now home to plenty of free-flowing football, and the next step is to translate that stylistic shift into continental prizes. More than 11 years have passed since Inter claimed the Champions League in Madrid, and Italian teams have been beaten by Spanish sides in the three European finals they have disputed since then.

That is a wretched record for a league that was once considered the best in the world, but the financial might of the Premier League and mega-rich outfits like Paris Saint-Germain puts the Peninsula at a disadvantage in continental competition. Working behind the scenes to decrease that economic disparity is important, but these Euros proved that the steps being taken on the field to challenge those super clubs are beginning to bear fruit.

@forkicksblog

 

6 Comments

  1. FERBAN

    It was certainly a tournament dominated by Serie A, and not just because Italy won it. There were multiple players playing in Serie A from other nations who played very well too, as well as some ex ones too, such as Schick.
    Problem is, can Serie A hold onto them?
    The answer, unfortunately, is probably not. Hakimi, Donnarumma, De Paul already gone. The epl will still be able to spend money after Covid that the Italian sides can’t, so expect more sales and some cheap rejects to come the other way.
    The only bad thing about Italy winning the Euros is that it may fool people into thinking the league is strong. But it isn’t, as we’ve seen year after year. There are many top players in Serie A, but no top teams.
    Italy really needs to stop embarrassing itself in Euro club competition, because the league itself is exciting and high-scoring.

  2. Milan fan

    Shame that Gosens amazing goal was disallowed

  3. Basta poco

    As much as Euro 2020 proved to be a success for Italian soccer, Ferban is spot on. Despite the foreign investment into Serie A clubs, there doesn’t seem to be enough money channeling in to keep key talent and keep Italian squads competitive with other European clubs. A bit of a slap in the face that the Euro MVP in Donnarumma forsakes his domestic club (which was offering decent money) for another league, but this is the current paradigm in sports. I would love for Atalanta or AC Milan to make deep runs in the Champions League and for one to win it all.

  4. Feroli

    People move around now – and especially elite people (be it sport, business, academia) Obviously money is a huge incentive but so too is the possibility of prestige and recognition (through palmares) Serie A does not score highly on ‘incentives’ at the moment. Euro 2020 has helped – it once again confirms Italy as one of the top 3 football cultures and nations. It may even enable success in Italy’s bid to host the Euros and / or WC. This will force a modernisation of infrastructure – which is badly required and will make the league more attractive to players and investors.

  5. Sam

    Ferban.. ok there every player you named wasn’t even playing in the Euro’s except Donnarumma, so has no significance on this.

    You make it seem as if there would no trades for players in serie A … take hike clown, jealousy obvious. PSG in is a farmer league. Barcelona is bankrupt, to keep a 35 year old striker for another 5 years, Real Madrid isn’t far behind.

  6. FERBAN

    @Sam

    They weren’t at the Euros because they are European, Sam. The fact I have to explain this to you is shocking. My secondary point was about the league, not the Euros, if you can grasp that simple switch of topic.
    PSG are stronger than any Italian side, and better than Milan. Shame Donnarumma has gone there, but Serie A can’t hold onto their best players. Surely you can see this?
    Looks like Romero is next. One of the best Serie A defenders leaving a CL team to join a Europa Conference team.
    But you keep living in denial, Sam 😉

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