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European Football Championship || Bravo, Italia

24 teams compete in the European Football Championship. For each of them, an editor or an author from zaviewsteam & zaviewsports has taken on the sponsorship. Our European Championship sponsors accompany your team through the tournament and write personal match reports.

Italy 2-1 Belgium (match report)

A kiss for Leonardo Spinazzola, un bacio. Gianluigi Donnarumma felt like it, so Italy's goalkeeper pressed his lips to the defender's cheek. That had prevented the compensation for Belgium. Actually, they had jointly prevented it, as usual. But the kiss has symbolic power. Because Italian footballers also celebrate when they fend off a goal. At least this team does.

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Even more delicate things from Italy : the laughter of Giorgio Chiellini, the captain and head of the defense, born in 1984, who was already a veteran in Italy's victory against Germany in the 2012 European Championship semi-finals . The man has a character face that would have enabled him to play a role as a monk in the name of the rose. But there is hardly a second footballer who likes to cheer up the others so well and so well. In the first half he held his head in a really hard shot by Kevin de Bruyne, so that he had to nod in appreciation at such courage. Chiellini laughed at him.

This is just one example of Italy having an eleven to fall in love with at this European Championship. Again and again, the players clap each other, hug and encourage each other. They live team spirit in an easy way, not as martial as in Gigi Buffon's time. In particular, the Italians, literally, play football together. Collective defense, collective attack - Italy are always tactically good, this time a class better than most of the other teams. That was evident in the 2-1 victory over Belgium in the quarter-finals , in which Italy underlined its status as the European favorite.

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The great football nation Italy, the four-time world champion, has a low behind it that has not yet been completely overcome. The Squadra Azzura has not played a knockout match at a World Cup in Germany since the 2006 title. In 2010 and 2014 she was eliminated in the preliminary round, in 2018 she did not even qualify. Club football, once the best in the world, has not won anything for a good decade.

Italy could be reborn in 2021, as Italians know their way around the Renaissance. Roberto Mancini's team seems to have made every effort to rehabilitate their country. Led by the laughing Chiellini, she blew her hymn. The players swayed as if they had been sitting at the Chinese Tower the days before with brass music and a liter of beer.

Who is running free? Who goes deep Italians are sure of that

The new thing is: Italy is basically acting defensively, but interprets the game more offensively than before. After the 1-0 by Nicolò Barella, a precise shot after a skilful turn, the Italians did not switch to result hold. Instead, they sought to increase their leadership.

Lorenzo Insigne succeeded in doing this and completed a dribble with a spectacular long-range shot into the corner. Both goals were celebrated enormously by the Tifosi in the stands, who can sing so beautifully.

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A 2-0 deficit against Italy can hardly be made up. The Slovenian referee Slavko Vinčić apparently thought so and gave Belgium a penalty after a bump from the Italian right defender. Even if you don't believe us now, dear zaviewsports readers, because you think we are biased - Giovanni di Lorenzo did not foul.

It was 2-1 at halftime. It should also be the final score. Nevertheless, the second half of this good game hardly fell off either. The Italians became even more dominant. They have enormous security in the things that are relevant on the pitch: who runs free and how, who goes deep, who comes towards when? How do I keep the opponent away from the goal?

The textbook-like back four of the Italians and their staggered midfield are a particularly strong contrast to the cabbage-and-beet kick that the Germans gave the best at this tournament. Anyone who has seen their three games in Munich before in the stadium may have been surprised: You don't have to run around all over the field? You can also defend collectively, protect one another?

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Of course, Italy has no choice but to proceed strategically. Because the country has few outstanding individual players - apart from Jorginho, who is cleaning up at Chelsea, or Marco Verratti (PSG), the playmaker with the deep blue eyes. Especially the Italian defense is not fast compared to the standard. Against players like the Belgian Kevin de Bruyne, who ran and fought despite an injury and fired a great shot after a solo run, against Romelu Lukaku or Jérémy Doku, Italians like Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, the second central defender, hardly have a chance in a one-on-one One.

So it was a victory for strategy, but also for heart and soul. And that was celebrated lively. Fans used the corona-related spaces in the block to run near their players. Some players had to leave their pants, which almost degenerated into a Bruno Banani fashion show.

Boos when Italy played for time again

The Belgians, who played their part in the exciting game with counterattacks, did not make it to the final again. The chances for the good vintage are slowly running out. Nevertheless, the mood among the fans of the Red Devils, partly devilish, was good. However, there were boos against one or the other show or time game performance by the Italians. It's their old vice.

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The cheekiest number was from Ciro Immobile, the ex-Dortmund who lived up to his surname when he was left in the penalty area . But when the gate fell, embarrassingly without any action on his part, he got up and ran to the cheering crowd. Leonardo Spinazzola, on the other hand, was really hurt. He tore his Achilles tendon in a high-spirited running duel. The acclaimed and kissed defender will probably be out for a long time.

In the northernmost city of Italy, car parades could be heard until late at night. With that the tournament in Munich came to an end. It was the best game here, maybe the best game of the entire tournament. For Italy it goes on, in London Spain is waiting in the semifinals, also a team with a game idea. But if the Italians compete there with this self-confidence and such enthusiasm, there will probably be another game for them: the final at Wembley.

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