The big national team tournaments of the summer left two classic champions very hungry. The Eurocup it was for the beautiful Italy de Roberto Mancini, who forgot the terrible shame suffered by his absence in the last World Cup with a title that ended with a long sentence. The azzurra conquered the Eurocup 53 years, a month and a day later of its previous continental scepter. It also had to wait for Argentina, which lifted the Copa América in Maracanã after 28 years without being crowned in a contest that had eluded him in an unlikely way in recent times.
Few things can hurt an Italian more than staying out of the biggest football event on the planet. With four stars on the shirt, Italy missed the Russian tournament, a drama that at least served to correct things. Mancini assumed the bench and the azzurra promised that he would never go hungry again. The coach changed the system and style, maintaining the competitive essence that this indestructible central pair composed of Chiellini and Bonucci embodies like no one else.
From Zoff to Donnarumma
In the final he started losing to England, but kept his line of play, a philosophy that was only dwarfed in moments of the semifinal clash against Spain. With Donnarumma on a stellar plan, the azzurra raised its second European Championship after the title won on June 10, 1968 with Dino Zoff under the sticks. Then they tied one with Yugoslavia in the final played at the Olympic in Rome. Three days later, she was proclaimed champion in the tie-breaker thanks to goals from Gigi Riva and Pietro Anastasi (2-0).
“It was impossible to think about the title, but I have extraordinary guys. There are no words for this group. The team has grown a lot and can go further “, summed up the coach, who has 34 games without losing at the head of the European champion, one step away from equaling the best historical streaks of 35 matches in Spain (2006-09) and Brazil (1993-96).
The sentence has been harsh for the champions. Chiellini and Bonucci, for example, suffered 4-0 in the 2012 final against Spain. It was time to crown their careers with success. “We have become a legend,” proclaimed the scorer of the Italian goal at Wembley. “We felt like there was something magical in the air. You have to enjoy this emotion because it is beautifulChiellini mused.
That same sensation was experienced hours before by Messi’s team, who had lost three finals (the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 and 2016 Copa América) before meeting Brazil. Since July 4, 1993, with references such as Ruggeri, Simeone, Redondo and Batistuta in the eleven, Argentina did not savor success.. Di María’s goal ended the punishment.
The end of the losing streaks of Italy and Argentina comes in a year in which the spell of clubs such as Inter (Italian League champions for the first time since 2010), Sporting Lisbon (they had not triumphed since 2002) was also broken. ) or Rangers, who ended a triumphant decade for Celtic. More consolidated seems the curse of the cowardly England, who missed an ideal occasion at home and accumulated 55 years without winning anything.