Emanuele Giulianelli’s Italy v England preview: Mancini’s project has brought an entire nation together
Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering Italy throughout Euro 2020
Wembley Stadium is ready to host the Euro 2020 final on Sunday between the local heroes of England and Italy.
In my first radio interview on BBC, after the victory against Turkey, I stated in no uncertain terms that Roberto Mancini’s side would have been one of the two finalists: the presenter was astonished, but I made my point.
This is not to say that I have some divinatory or oracular skills, because I haven’t, but it’s just to say that it’s not a surprise to find Italy in the temple of football for the last match.
It’s the arrival point of a three-year project, which started after Italian football’s black night, when Gian Pietro Ventura’s side failed to qualify for 2018 World Cup. It’s not been easy to reconstruct the ruins, but Roberto Mancini worked has it out and now his Italy are on their 33rd consecutive unbeaten match.
It’s the third final in the last six editions for Italy, who won their only European title in 1968 against Yugoslavia, in a competition that, before the new century, has been often considered of secondary importance by the Azzurri, more or less consciously, compared to the World Cup.
“We haven’t done anything yet”, said the Italian coach to underline how important it is that his side wins against England. He has been able to gather together an entire nation around Jorginho, Barella, Donnarumma and the other heroes, but now a next step, the last one, is required for him to be able to assert, like Julius Caesar, “Veni, vidi, vici” – I came, I saw, I conquered.