Italy beat Spain on penalties in Euro 2020 semi-finals to move from prank to finalists

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THE GREAT STORIES OF WEDNESDAY

Italy is class

Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup twice: 1958 and 2018. So it is no exaggeration to say that Italy was in disarray before qualifying for these Euros.

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They finished second behind – you guessed it – Spain in Group G in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, then were knocked out by Sweden – the host nation of the 1958 tournament, for fans of the stories. – at the dam stage.

After this debacle, Gian Piero Ventura stepped down as manager in November and Roberto Mancini entered the breach some seven months later in May 2018. They qualified from Group J for Euro 2020 with 10 out of 10 wins and also won their Nations League group to qualify for the final tournament.

They lost an association football match for the last time in September 2018 against Portugal. Mancini had done a remarkable job which saw his contract extended until 2026.

Italy was a farce under Ventura – dropping to their lowest FIFA world rankings following his tenure (21) – but are now in the Euro 2020 final after beating Spain on penalties.

No matter who they play in the final, they will surely be favorites given that they have played the best football and have also shown an ability to get results in matches against Austria and Spain. It was a remarkable turnaround.

Mancini praises ‘wonderful’ Spain after Italy reaches Euro 2020 final

“Gareth Bale is set to retire from club football – but will continue to play for Wales”

One of the all-time, albeit rather misleading, headlines of the Mirror out there.

This is correct, but only partially. This report says Gareth Bale will retire from club football next season – when his 600,000-per-week contract expires at Real Madrid.

However, he will play for Wales in the World Cup, which is only a matter of months later. This of course depends on the qualification of Wales. They are currently third in Group E after two three-point matches, with the Czech Republic and Belgium ahead of them.

If the report is true, it will mean Bale will retire from club football at the age of 32, which seems premature for a player who has shown aptitude for a deep playmaker role during the Country’s move. Wales at Euro 2020.

Gareth Bale

Image credit: Getty Images

England: Really a great bunch of guys

Gareth Southgate and his England team are, however successful they are in sport, likable and by extension ambitious. And that is enough.

They can win Euro 2020, maybe not. However, it is the example they have set, have given and continue to give that makes them a great English team. Winning the euros will only garnish it.

On Tuesday, some players took it upon themselves to restore the balance by posting messages of support for British tennis star Emma Raducanu. This followed some rather deplorable behavior on the part of certain sectors of the media which should – and indeed probably – know it better.

IN OTHER NEWS

Kasper Schmeichel drops technical details

Kasper Schmeichel is technically on site here. Football, when it is framed by the Euro, has in fact never returned home.

The beauty of this video isn’t the joke – what’s great – it’s the closing your eyes and sighing in front of said beard. He doesn’t have time for this back home gibberish, ironic or otherwise.

HAT TIP

Miguel Delaney of The Independent presented Italy ahead of the semi-final – it’s still relevant and gives a good look at this Italian side.

A clear effect has been the introduction by Italy of all the essential elements of the Spanish approach into its coaching infrastructure. Their teams of miners are developed on four defining principles, called CARP. This is Costruzione, which is a construction game; Ampiezza, which is the width; Rifinitura, which is a creative play between the lines and in the last third; and Profondita, which is essentially the depth, or the space behind. As the descriptions themselves show, modern Italian teams are trained to play with much more depth. We have passed the stage of defense. The results were a run of medals for the minors even as the senior squad struggled, but now a side taking Euro 2020 as the team of the tournament.

TO COME UP

It’s the big one: England-Denmark.

Andi Thomas brings the fallout to that, uh, home. Also a big boy.

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Yesterday at 13:37


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