How far will Italy make it this European Championship?

Italy are a team no manager wants to face. They are always very organised and have an incredibly powerful defence which sets the foundation and the building blocks for success. Italy were unbeaten in the qualification stages and topped the group with ease, winning seven games and drawing three. They were drawn in the Group of Death this European Championship, along with Sweden, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland.

Italy’s Style of Play

Italy focus heavily on their defensive line making it incredibly hard for opponents to formulate decent attacks. ‘Catenaccio’, as the style is called (which means Chain or Door Bolt) was invented by Karl Rappan, an Austrian manager decades ago but the Azzuri found ways how to master it. The Italians are very hesitant on how many players they push forward and like to control the tempo of the game. That way, the game is in total control and they can ensure players keep mounting the pressure while nullifying opponent attacks in the process. Forwards are encouraged to make diagonal and indirect runs which makes it hard for the opposing defence to foresee and counteract.

Although the true Catenaccio was effective in the past, coaches refrain from using it as Italy were knocked out early in competitions when the style was adopted.

History in International Tournaments

Italy are very experienced in international tournaments and prefer to call up older, more experienced players. Although, this time, Antonio Conte has decided to try out seven new players to join the squad in the hope of adding some creative flare to the team.

Italy won the World Championship four times, the European Championship once and been runners up for the Euros twice before. It’s odd that continental success is a difficult accomplishment when they’re known for their influence in world championships.

Italy made it to the final in Euro 2012 but they didn’t do it convincingly. They drew a couple of games along the way and knocked out England on penalties. They finally faced Spain for the second time during Euro 2012 and were humiliated by a much stronger side. Spain deserved to win the tournament.

The Azzuri are still lacking a strong attacking force which Conte can rely on. They scored a measly 16 goals in the qualifying stages, an issue they definitely need to work on to progress to the final stages. Do Italy have what it takes to make it to Euro Football 2016 final?

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