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Listen: Roberto Mancini Euro 2020. Italy’s standout in


Roberto Mancini has replaced Italy after Azzurri failed to qualify for the last World Cup

“We play football now, as the coach has told us to do, and that is the thing that has changed the most under Mancini over the years,” veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci said in Italy’s second half. Turkey in the Euro 2020 tournament opener after a 3-0 win.

The victory extended Azzurri’s unbeaten streak to 28 matches – two shy of the team record under Vittorio Pozzo nearly a century earlier – and marked the first time in Italy’s history at the European Championship (39 matches were played) that he scored three goals. .

“We already knew very well how good we were. We are very rested,” said fullback Leonardo Spinazola, who stood out with his forces down the left flank. “The coach has been able to transmit that day in and day out.

“We have it all. Defense, a good midfield, and a quality attack. It’s an incredible mix of qualities,” added Spinazola after Friday’s match. “Some of us are quite technical, others really strong Some have it all. We really have a lot of diversity in this team.”

Mancini pulled it together in such a way that Italy’s coach rarely could Marcello Lippi lead Azzurri to his fourth World Cup title in 2006.

This is in stark contrast to previous coach Gian Piero Ventura, who lost the team’s support during their World Cup playoff loss to Sweden, when he left Lorenzo Insigne – considered the team’s most talented player – on the bench. .

With Mancini, the more talent the better. Leaving Italy’s “catanasio” (lockdown defence) past, he wants his team to attack relentlessly and “put on a show.”

In 82 matches under Mancini, Italy have scored 33 goals at an average of about 2.5 per game.

It is the same aggressive spirit that Mancini first showed when he led Sampdoria to the Serie A title 30 years ago and a year later as a talented striker in the European Cup final.

Forwards, in particular, seem to flourish under Mancini.

No wonder Burak Yilmaz ran off the field just before kickoff to hug Mancini, who had driven the Turkish center forward at Galatasaray a few years earlier.

Or why Ciro Immobile has finally been able to translate its scoring success in Serie A to the international level.

Immobil, who scored one goal against Turkey and set another for Insigne, won the European Golden Shoe award when he matched a Serie A record for Lazio in 2019-20 with 36 goals. Erasing the memory of his two-year scoreless stretch between 2017 and 2019, he has now scored five goals in his last six appearances for Italy.

More goals are expected in Italy’s next Group A match against Switzerland on Wednesday. And for the foreseeable future, since Mancini’s contract was recently extended through the next two World Cups.

Mancini, who coached Manchester City to their first Premier League title in 2012 in a nearly half-century, gets the respect when he explains his scoring plans in a silent locker room.

“The coach talks really softly,” said Immobile. “You must have good ears to hear him.”

However, Immobil and his companions are listening. And Italy is flourishing again.

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More AP Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf

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