Italy's Euro 2020 success 'healed' old wounds, says Mancini

By Sports Desk July 19, 2021

Roberto Mancini believes he and Gianluca Vialli came 'full circle' at Wembley Stadium, making amends for Sampdoria's European Cup final defeat against Barcelona by succeeding with Italy against England in the Euro 2020 final.

Mancini guided his country to their first European Championship triumph since 1968 with a shoot-out victory over Gareth Southgate's men, courtesy of Gianluigi Donnarumma's penalty-saving heroics.

Tasked with rebuilding after failing to qualify for the World Cup in 2018, Mancini led his side to a 34-game unbeaten run that culminated in the Euro 2020 success.

After the failure of 2018, the first year in which the Azzurri had failed to reach a World Cup since 1958, Mancini told SPORT1 "Italy was down".

"You [Italy] immediately felt that everyone wanted reparations and were ready to work their a***s for the country", the former Manchester City head coach added.

But Italy's title did not just represent success for this current crop of players, it also provided comfort for Mancini and the Azzurri's team delegation chief Vialli, who came up short with Sampdoria against Barcelona at Wembley in 1992.

"I still remember that game [the 1992 European Cup final] very well. We shouldn't have lost it, it wasn't deserved," said Mancini.

"But now the circle has come full. 30 years later. Madness! I'm also happy because this trophy also belongs to the Sampdoria fans to a certain extent. Unfortunately, they had to accept the bitter defeat at the time. Now the wounds are being healed."

Italy's impressive defence propelled them to their success as they conceded just four goals at Euro 2020, with England (two), Belgium and Finland (three each), the only teams able to boast better defensive records.

Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, whose 12 interceptions topped the defensive rankings alongside Ukraine's Mykola Matvienko, marshalled the backline in front of shoot-out hero Donnarumma and Mancini feels the pair deserve significant credit.

"Giorgio [Chiellini] and Leo [Bonucci], of course, have a very large part in our wonderful success. They deserve it so much because they represent 20 years of Italian football history," he explained.

The praise of Chiellini and Bonucci aside, Mancini batted off questions surrounding immortality and history to conclude: "This title is for all the Italians in our country.

"But it is also a gift to all Italians abroad. There is boundless joy right now."

Related items

  • England primed for T20I lift after Ashes debacle, Windies must turn the tide England primed for T20I lift after Ashes debacle, Windies must turn the tide

    England's T20 side have the opportunity to lift the gloom following the Ashes debacle when they start a five-match series against West Indies on Saturday.

    The Test side were hammered 4-0 by Australia and only avoided a whitewash after clinging on for a draw in a rain-affected match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

    As a huge inquest into that pitiful failure Down Under begun, the T20I squad was preparing to lock horns with the Windies in the Caribbean, where Paul Collingwood is standing in for Chris Silverwood as head coach.

    England top the rankings, but missed out on T20 World Cup glory when they were beaten by New Zealand at the semi-final stage last November.

    West Indies never looked like retaining the trophy in the United Arab Emirates, losing four and drawing one of their five matches.

    Things went from bad to worse for the Windies when they were whitewashed 3-0 in Pakistan, before losing an ODI series to Ireland 2-1 on home soil.

    The tourists are not at full strength so soon after the Ashes, but Eoin Morgan still has a strong squad - with a mix of new faces and experienced heads - as they build towards another T20 World Cup in Australia this year.

    England have won four consecutive T20Is versus the struggling Windies, who have lost eight of their past nine matches in the shortest format ahead of the opening match of the series at Kensington Oval,

    We pick out some of the standout performers who could light up the series ahead of the opener in Bridgetown, Barbados.

    Living up to the hype, Roy ready to fire

    England fell short in their mission to become 50-over and T20I world champions, but they were outstanding before an expensive over from Chris Jordan swung the semi-final in the Black Caps' favour.

    Liam Livingstone showed his prowess with the ball in that loss to the Windies and the clean-striking all-rounder should have a huge part to play in England's bid to dethrone Australia later this year.

    Livingstone can put on a show in the Caribbean and there could be fireworks from Jason Roy, who blasted 115 from only 47 balls in a warm-up game against a Barbados Cricket Association President's XI this week. 

    Rebuilding job for Windies

    West Indies were bowled out for only 55 in their defeat to England at the T20 World Cup, with Adil Rashid taking incredible figures of 4-2.

    That just about summed up their tournament and they must turn the corner under the leadership of Kieron Pollard, who retained the captaincy.

    Nicholas Pooran is set to play in his 50th T20I this weekend and the vice-captain is among the experienced players Pollard will need to step up.

  • Malan hits 91 as South Africa keep their cool to seal ODI series win over India Malan hits 91 as South Africa keep their cool to seal ODI series win over India

    South Africa kept their cool against the India bowling attack and the intense heat in Paarl to win the second ODI by seven wickets and clinch the series on Friday.

    Having lost the first match by 31 runs on Wednesday following a defeat in the Test series, the tourists posted 287-6 after Rishabh Pant smashed 85 off 71 balls - including 12 boundaries.

    Yet any hope India had of avoiding consecutive daytime defeats for the first time since July 2018 against England was crushed by some imperious batting from the Proteas.

    Janneman Malan top-scored with 91 in a 132-run opening stand with Quinton de Kock (78), who was playing in his 50th ODI on home soil.

    Shardul Thakur trapped De Kock lbw but South Africa sustained their chase for another 13 overs until Jasprit Bumrah (1-32) crashed an off-cutter into the stumps off Malan's gloves just as a century looked almost certain.

    Captain Temba Bavuma (35) was brilliantly caught and bowled by Yuzvendra Chahal in the next over, but although temperatures were pushing 40 degrees Celsius, there was little hotting up of the contest.

    Aiden Markram (33) and Rassie van der Dussen (28) strangled the life out of India's bowling, the former hurling himself to safety to secure the winning run with 11 balls remaining, as they celebrated back-to-back victories over India in the 50-over format for the first time since December 2013.

    India will look to avoid a whitewash in the final ODI at Newlands on Sunday.

    ODI dominance

    South Africa were on a three-game losing run against India in this format before this series, but their recent prowess overall is something to behold.

    This is their fourth bilateral ODI series win out of five against India, while they have won 13 of their most recent 16 men's ODI matches at home, with their only defeats coming to Pakistan (twice in April 2021) and England (once in February 2020) in that period.

    It's no lie: Pant's on fire

    Pant was India's star performer with his superb knock, hitting 10 fours and two sixes to help to build a promising total until the Proteas assumed control.

    His century partnership with Rahul had India looking ominous at 179-2 after 31 overs only for South Africa to pull the rug from under their feet with key wickets in successive overs.

  • Brady ready for challenge of facing 'tremendous' Rams defense Brady ready for challenge of facing 'tremendous' Rams defense

    Tom Brady has paid tribute to the "tremendous" Los Angeles Rams defense that he is tasked with getting the better of in the NFL playoffs.

    In one of the standout games of the Divisional Round, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host NFC West winners the Rams on Sunday.

    The defending Super Bowl champions were beaten by the Rams on the road in Week 3 of the regular season but have home advantage this time around after claiming the number two seed in the NFC.

    Tampa Bay eased to a 31-15 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Round, while the Rams also encountered few problems in beating the Arizona Cardinals 34-11.

    A star Rams defense, which includes the likes of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive tackle Aaron Donald, held Arizona to just 183 yards.

    It was the second-fewest total yards allowed in a playoff game in franchise history, behind only their 1989 Championship Game win over Tampa Bay.

    Brady does not need any reminders about how difficult it is to play the Rams, who have won seven of their last eight meetings against the Bucs.

    "It's a very, very challenging team," Brady told reporters ahead of the game. "Really good offense, tremendous defense, really well-coached, great specialists, so it can be very, very difficult game for us.

    "It's a very talented football team, obviously one of the great teams in the NFL.

    "This team does a lot of good things well. Obviously they rush the passer well, they cover you really well in the secondary, get a lot of turnovers - they sack the quarterback, strip sacks. 

    "They have a lot of dynamic players. Obviously, Jalen Ramsey is one of the great corners in the league. So between the guys that they have in the secondary as well as the front, you know that you have no place that you can take off. 

    "These guys are they can turn you over. They can make big plays like they did the other night when David Long got the pick six [against Arizona]."

    Brady and the Bucs will take lessons from the 34-24 regular season defeat, but the veteran quarterback does not believe it can be factored in too much due to both teams changing since then.

    He added: "All these games are a little bit independent from one another. 

    "Any time you know your opponent, that always gives you a little bit of understanding of kind of what they do well and things you wish you would have done. 

    "But it doesn't really matter what happened in October when we played them last. It's really about this game and what we learned from last game.  

    "We had a very different team and I think it was a little bit of a different team they had too. It is going to require its own individual performance."

    Last season the Bucs put a strong run together to finish the regular season that continued into postseason glory.

    Brady, who is now three wins away from winning an eighth Super Bowl, was asked how he always seems to find another gear once the NFL season gets to December and beyond.

    "For all of us, it's repeating good process – that is the important part about getting this time of year," added the 44-year-old.

    "You don't do much different, you just do more of which got you here. The things that work we do more of and you try to eliminate all the other distractions. 

    "I won't do anything extra this week. I just want to do football. That's all I want to do to prepare and get ready. That is how we should all approach it. 

    "This isn't the time for trips to the movie theatres, it is time to lock in on football because this is all we have - three days left [of the season] and we have got to earn more. 

    "So you just look at it like that, everything you can kind of put off till the end of the year. We just certainly hope the end of the year is not on Sunday night."

    The win over the Eagles was Brady's 18th career playoff win by double digits. 

    He has more playoff wins by double digits (18) and by single digits (17) than any other QB has total playoff wins (second is Joe Montana with 16 wins).

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.