Sport is replete with redemption stories. Teams wrestling with their pasts before swimming towards the light make for compelling plotlines. But for giant footballing countries, success following failure is more of a sequence and less of a narrative. This millennium, Germany and France have plumbed the depths before rising to become world champions. But Italy’s redemption story at Wembley on Sunday, a penalty shoot-out victory over England to secure only its second-ever European Championship, should not be seen through such a reductionist lens. The triumph represents the transformation of a proud, but dogmatic, footballing nation into a modern, forward-looking side, with the singular aim of coming out of one of its darkest chapters — of not qualifying for a World Cup (2018) for the first time since 1958. In the process, Roberto Mancini’s outfit also cleared the fog that had settled over international football. Built around the midfield abilities of Jorginho, Marco Verratti and Lorenzo Insigne, and the pace and drive of Federico Chiesa and Leonardo Spinazzola, Italy played with verve. Veteran defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci ensured it also displayed old-school nous. Together with the goal-keeping brilliance of Gianluigi Donnarumma — player of the tournament — the Azzurri beat No.1 ranked Belgium, No.6 Spain and No.4 England back-to-back to claim their first major trophy since the 2006 World Cup.
Italy, no doubt, had a generation of players schooled in progressive methods since their youth, but Mancini’s tactical acumen stood out. The 56-year-old’s handling of the loss of key personnel was smart, as was his role in shaping Italy’s response after England went a goal ahead and threatened to end its own trophy drought of 55 years. In contrast, Germany suffered under outgoing coach Joachim Low’s defunct ideas, while a complacent France blew a 3-1 lead against Switzerland and crashed out. Luis Enrique’s Spain, though, impressed, despite falling to Italy over penalties in the last four. Barcelona’s Pedri proved a gem and the 18-year-old midfielder was duly named the young player of the tournament. Cristiano Ronaldo won the Golden Boot (5 goals, 1 assist) but was far from the driving force he usually is for Portugal, the 2016 winner. Denmark, by reaching the semifinal despite the traumatic exit of Christian Eriksen, showcased its collective spirit. The only discordant notes in an otherwise excellent competition were English fans’ violent behaviour on the final day and the racist attacks on players who erred in the penalty shoot-out. But in the long run, Euro 2020 will be remembered for restoring Italian football, reinvigorating international football and proving mildly therapeutic to fans worldwide amidst an unending, exhausting pandemic.,giày-tennis-prince-giá-rẻ