Euro 2020: How Italy Booked Their Place at This Summer’s Tournament

?Having embarrassingly failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italy felt humiliated. The once-proud giant had completely fallen.

Roberto Mancini was brought in to be the saviour and fire Italy back to a major competition, and that’s exactly what he did – and then some.

Ousting some of the team’s ageing talent in favour of younger, hungrier stars, Mancini’s Italy looked a completely different side to the team who had flopped in the build-up to the World Cup. There was excitement, flair and a bucketload of talent.

Roberto Mancini

Italy booked their place at Euro 2020 in emphatic fashion, winning every single one of their ten games. Only six teams had ever managed that, but Mancini’s side added themselves to the list with ease.

They netted 37 goals and conceded just four, which is exactly what fans wanted to see. This Italy side are good again, and they will now deservedly be seen as one of the pre-tournament favourites heading into the summer.


Italy’s Group Stage Journey

Moise Kean

Italy kicked things off at home against Finland back in March 2019, and this game was the perfect introduction to Mancini’s side. Nicolò Barella opened the scoring. before teenager Moise Kean grabbed his first international goal?.

It was only the second time in a run of 18 games in which Italy had scored more than once, which speaks volumes of what they had been lacking.

Next up was a meeting with minnows Liechtenstein, and this went as you would expect it to. Italy were far too good for the team ranked 181st in the world at the time, and ran out 6-0 winners…because of course they did. 

Leonardo Pavoletti,Marco Verratti

A trip to Greece for matchday three looked to be a tough test, but yet again, Mancini’s men were too good. Barella bagged another goal, followed by both Lorenzo Insigne and Leonardo Bonucci. 11 goals in three games, and no goals conceded. Decent.

Bosnia and Herzegovina were next, and it looked like Italy’s perfect start was set to end after Edin Džeko opened the scoring. Insigne’s stunning volley looked to have earned Gli Azzurri a point, but Marco Verratti’s late winner saw Mancini’s side take home all three points once more.

The final team in the group were Armenia. This game shouldn’t have been too hard, but Italy made hard work of it and had to come back from a goal down again. They went on to win 3-1, meaning they were unbeaten at the halfway mark.

Leonardo Bonucci

Time for the return legs. Finland put up a real fight, but goals from Ciro Immobile and Jorginho saw Italy pick up a 2-1 win.

A win over Greece in the next game was all Italy needed to book their place at Euro 2020, but that didn’t look like happening. Italy were booed off at half time after failing to have a shot on target, but second-half strikes from Jorginho and Federico Bernardeschi got the job done in the end.

Jorginho

With three games to spare, Italy were relaxed. Playing with freedom, they stormed to a 5-0 win over Liechtenstein, before picking up a convincing 3-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

They saved the best for last, dismantling Armenia en-route to a 9-1 win in the final qualifier. Immobile, Barella and Jorginho were all on the score sheet again, as were Nicolò Zaniolo, Alessio Romagnoli, Riccardo Orsolini and Federico Chiesa.


Final Group J Standings

?Nation

Points?

?Italy 30?
?Finland 18?
?Greece 14?
?Bosnia and Herzegovina 13?
?Armenia 10?
?Liechtenstein 2?

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