There are those that we did not expect and those that we no longer expected. Those we didn’t expect too much and those we never really expected. After a month of competition, the Euro delivered a new continental order and at the end of the chaos, only England finally took its place. The favorites exploded in flight, the stars gasped and the old glories damaged by years of wandering have regained their charm by reinventing themselves (Italy) or reappropriating their DNA (Spain). In short, almost nothing happened as planned. We expected Mbappé, De Bruyne and Kimmich, we had Chiesa, Shaw and Maehle.
The Squadra, new favorite in the World Cup? “In Italy, they say this is just the beginning …”
Thus, with the exception of England, the heroes of Russia were on their knees. Starting with France, never really in their tournament after the lesson inflicted on the Germans at the beginning of the competition. More generally, the last two world champions, the reigning European champion and the 2018 World Cup finalist have not passed 8. By contrast, Italy, the only major absent in Russia, stepped on the Competition with a curious snub that says it all about this footballing year that has shaken many certainties (Lille champion of France, Chelsea champion of the Champions, etc.) even if, in the end, only Denmark did better in terms of status.
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Our typical European team
The victory of intentions over control
Like Spain, the Nazionale has arrived where expected in a few years. The reconstruction started by Roberto Mancini and Luis Enrique with very young players or below the standards established by these two teams is already a success. They have one thing in common: the game, the Red has returned to the basics led by the talent of a Pedri who has already put on the clothes of Andrés Iniesta. On the other hand, it is a small revolution for Italy, a nation of catenaccio, to link its salvation to daring and, sometimes, to imbalance.
Italy, 2021 European champion
Credit: Getty Images
Of course, the Donnarumma – Chiellini – Bonucci triplet recalled that the Nazionale never win without a great goalkeeper and a solid hinge. But this time it was more than that. The triumph of Italy is the victory of the game that is only reinforced by the remarkable courses of Denmark and Spain. The victory of intentions more than control, nerve more than control in a fairly clear reversal of values three years after the coronation of the Surgical Blues in Moscow.
Unreasonable parenthesis or world later?
Faced with armies cut short to shine by their extravagance but limited by the ambitions (Portugal) or the procrastination (France) of their coach or trapped in the final stretch by the weight of their past (England), Italy did so with the media in hand, much more limited individually, but enhanced by a coherent game plan and a united team. Trapped by their calculations in the final, England ended up giving in to the generosity of an Italy that suffered from the eighth to the penalty shoot-out at Wembley but never denied it.
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Like the chaotic course of the European champions (overtime in the eighth, shots on goal in the middle and final), no one overlooked the debates. Yes, the best team, or the idea that we have it, ended up planting their flag at Wembley, but will Italy install a dynasty in the next few years? Or is this euro just an unreasonable parenthesis after a year without tail or head? The after world does not have much to do with the previous world. If even Italy starts to play, the 2022 World Cup could still surprise us …
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