MONK. Mancini’s Great Beauty of Italy also dazzles the team that has dominated the world football ranking for three years, Belgium, defeated beyond the 2-1 final signed by Barella and Insigne in a match to be framed. Munich, with the cheering of many Italian emigrants, gives the Azzurri a triumphal night not only metaphorically: it means the return to the football elite, among the four best of a great event for the first time since 2012, and the landing under the arch of Wembley for Tuesday’s semi-final.
In London the Azzurri will face Luis Enrique’s Spain, winner of Switzerland on penalties: but an Italy like this can aspire to any goal, even to overcome a national team that has dominated the world in the last 15 years. The Azzurri lost a game last time on 10 September 2018, 1-0 with Portugal: Trump was firmly president of the United States, in Italy the government was yellow-green and few in the world were able to associate the term pandemic with a meaning accomplished. A geological era later, however fast the events in the world today, the reassuring path of Mancini’s Italy is instead without jolts, dotted with thirty-two games without defeat (with an ongoing series of thirteen won in a row).
And tonight the only objection that was raised to the Great Beauty also sets: yes, the mystique of aesthetics is there, but what value do the opponents have who set Italy records? Here, those of tonight had a value: first in the world in the FIFA rankings ahead of France and Brazil: and the objection to the greatness of this team has no more reason to exist. The immediate pre-match had given scraps of suspense from 70s football, with the pretactic to clearly direct behavior and flow of communications. The Belgian coach, Roberto Martinez, had waited until the last good moment to formalize the renunciation of the talent of the injured Eden Hazard and, on the contrary, the confidence in the conditions of De Bruyne, deployed from the first minute and evidently considered in acceptable conditions despite the blow to the ankle treacherously given to him by Palhinha in the round of 16 match with Portugal.
For his part, Roberto Mancini had kept the blue cards covered far beyond the usual, announcing his choices directly to UEFA upon arrival at the stadium, only to field the team that everyone expected, with the returning Chiellini at the center of the defense and Chiesa , absolute protagonist against Austria, in place of Berardi in the attack trident with Immobile and Insigne. Unchanged, however, the blue module: the usual 4-3-3 devoted to ball possession and propulsion. And that of the Belgians, 3-4-2-1, was also unchanged, despite the renouncement of Eden Hazard had forced Martinez to risk the inclusion of the very young Doku to team up with De Bruyne behind Lukaku.
However, a high-intensity first half came out of it with Italy embroidering its football made up of stylistically appreciable plays and Belgium, which even in the decoration and fantasy sector boasts one of the world capitals in Bruges, continually tearing without too much construct and fantasy. In truth, Lukaku had long been blocked in the Chiellini-Bonucci grip, De Bruyne’s chases created a couple of great opportunities for the Belgians: on 22 ‘on the first, a left by the same Manchester City player, Donnarumma stretched out and put in corner, and four minutes later on the second one (poisonous left-footed strike by Lukaku on a cue from De Bruyne) the blue goalkeeper repeated himself.
And then it was Italy, which already had uselessly cheered on 13 ‘for a goal by Bonucci rightly canceled for offside after viewing at the Var, who took the lead: it was the half hour, and an error by the Belgian defense in setting allowed to Verratti to recover the ball and offer it to Barella, who gave himself a play as an excellent Brazilian winger: dry dribbling and right-footed blow without the possibility of intervention for Courtois. Belgium disappeared from the field, stunned by the blue ball, and after an opportunity for Chiesa the Azzurri again passed with a goal with Insigne’s trademark, good at caraculla from the three-quarter field to the opponent’s area, very good at placing at the crossroads his famous right turn shot.
Race closed or almost? Not even for a dream, because the Slovenian referee Vincic at 45 ‘considered a penalty by Di Lorenzo on Doku, from the Var room there were no objections and Lukaku transformed from the spot and brought the Belgians back into the game.
In the second half the plot did not seem to change: Italy constantly in the opposing half, Belgium paradoxically looking for the counterattack and the long ball. The blue pressing put the opponents in difficulty, who re-emerged from apnea only thanks to De Bruyne and the chases of Doku. And in fact, on this vertical, the greatest Belgian opportunity to equalize arrived at 15 ‘: but on the assist of the City Lukaku player, the opportunity was literally devoured by kicking from one step on to Spinazzola. A few minutes later he could even score, with a close-range shot from Insigne’s cross.
But an alarm bell (Chadli’s cross with Lukaku a breath away from the winning deviation), pushed Mancini to introduce fresh energies: inside Cristante and Belotti instead of Verratti and Immobile. Then Spinazzola was seriously injured, replaced by Emerson and Insigne gave way to Berardi, Toloi also entered in the place of Chiesa to strengthen the rearguard. For the Belgians the Mertens graft was not significant, and if any further danger emerged it was only for the balloons thrown in the middle by the red devils without too much construct. And then it was right, even inevitable, that in the end the Azzurri and their prized football would celebrate. (HANDLE).
Italy (4-3-3): Donnarumma 7, Di Lorenzo 6.5, Bonucci 6.5, Chiellini 7, Spinazzola 7.5 (34 ‘st Emerson sv), Barella 7.5, Jorginho 7, Verratti 6.5 (29’ st Cristante 6), Chiesa 7 (45 ‘st Toloi sv), Immobile 6 (29’ st Belotti 6), Insigne 7.5 (34 ‘st Berardi sv). (1 Sirigu, 26 Meret, 5 Locatelli, 12 Pessina, 15 Acerbi, 20 Bernardeschi, 23 Bastoni). All .: Mancini 8.
Belgium (3-4-3): Courtois 5.5, Alderweireld 5, Vermaelen 6, Vertonghen 5, Meunier 6 (24′ st Chadli sv, 29′ st Praet sv), Witsel 6, Tielemans 5.5 (24′ st Mertens 5), T. Hazard 5.5, De Bruyne 6, Doku 7, Lukaku 5.5. (12 Kaminski, 13 Sels, 4 Boyata, 11 Carrasco, 18 Denayer, 19 Dendoncker, 20 Benteke, 23 Batshuayi, 24 Trossard). All.: Martinez 5.
Referee: Vincic (Slo) 5
Goals: in pt 31 ‘Barella, 44’ Insigne, 47 ‘Lukaku (penalty)
Note. Corners: 9-5 for Belgium Recovery: 0 ‘and 5’ Booked: Verratti, Tielemans for unfair play, Berardi non-regulatory behavior Spectators: 14,500