UEFA have released their technical report on the EURO 2020 tournament, defining how Italy steered their way to victory, especially Roberto Mancini’s half-time changes to out-fox England manager Gareth Southgate in the Final.
The Azzurri lifted the trophy at Wembley Stadium after a penalty shoot-out against England, but had dominated that game from half-time onwards, as explained by the report.
The panel of experts including current and former managers analysed the tournament as a whole, but above all the Final.
England had taken an early lead and controlled the opening 25 minutes after surprising Italy with their three-man defence.
“England’s system at the start was very successful, with one wing-back crossing for the other to score,” wrote David Moyes.
“We thought how well Gareth had prepared the game and found a way of creating problems for Italy. At that point, it looked as though England had caught them out.”
However, Mancini made adjustments at half-time and at the same moment technical observer Aitor Karanka noticed England going deeper and deeper to protect their 1-0 lead.
“When you are winning a game, you can easily become scared to lose it, especially when you have to manage the pressure of playing in front of your own crowd. Little by little, Italy worked it round so they could play the game as they wanted to play it.”
Will Ruttensteiner noted that after the break, Jorginho was freed from the pressing by Rice and Phillips, able to “become the absolute leader on the pitch.”
The Azzurri took control of possession and goalkeeper “Jordan Pickford felt obliged to play long,” which suited Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci perfectly.
The UEFA report shows that England started the Final by dominating, but their possession dropped to 35 per cent, their lowest share in the tournament, and Pickford made 26 long clearances.
Essentially, England played the long ball of old and Italy controlled possession with twice as many passes as their opponents.
“Jorginho, from his controlling position in front of the centre-backs, played 98 passes – more than the combined total of England’s midfield.”
Gianluigi Donnarumma was named Player of the Tournament at UEFA EURO 2020, although he had relatively little to do in the Final other than the penalty shoot-out.
“In five years’ time, if I close my eyes and think back to this tournament, I’m sure I’ll recall that Italy won because they had a very good goalkeeper and two very, very experienced stoppers,” wrote Peter Rudbaek.
“Those two guys were the fathers of the team.”
🔹 Over 1/3 of the goals scored were 1-touch finishes
🔹 Only 5 matches won by the team conceding first
🔹 Low, fast crosses delivered highest rewards
— European Qualifiers (@EURO2020) September 14, 2021