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Will Italy build on their European Championship win at the 2022 World Cup?

Italy won the European Championship for the first time since 1968 after beating England on penalties at Wembley. Famously, Gianluigi Donnarumma was the hero for the Azzurri as he saved Bukayo Saka’s spot-kick in the defining moment of the shootout. It’s clear to see that Roberto Mancini has cultivated a winning mentality in a side that had failed to qualify for the World Cup three years prior.

Mancini brought glory back to Italy, taking the team back to their roots of solid defensive play and displaying a clinical edge in the final third to put their opponents to the sword. They were not at their best against Spain in the semi-finals, nor England in the final, but produced when it mattered the most to claim the crown. The Azzurri will now attack the next tournament with confidence and they are backed in the football bettting odds at 10/1 to win the 2022 World Cup. Mancini has worked wonders with the team, but it may have been a last hurrah for some members of the squad, which could leave the Azzurri exposed.

Giorgio Chiellini was nothing short of sensational across the tournament. His experience and quality in the Italy backline was crucial and allowed his side to dominate a large portion of the final, even surging forward from the back to support attacks at times. However, Chiellini will be 38 entering the World Cup, and even the great defender might not be able to beat father time to make another appearance to lead his team into the tournament.

Leonardo Bonucci should have one last effort. He displayed his nous to level the scores in the final and held his composure under pressure to nail his penalty in the shootout. Bonucci will be the top candidate to replace Chiellini as skipper, and will still have more than enough left in the tank to anchor the backline. Alessandro Bastoni and Alessio Romagnoli will be among the candidates to either apply pressure to Chiellini or replace the veteran in the defence. Bastoni thrived under the management of Antonio Conte at Inter Milan in their Serie A triumph. He could be the next great defender to don the dark blue shirt.

Italy played in the Euros without one of their key men. Lorenzo Pellegrini was absent from the tournament due to injury. He has starred at both international and club level for Roma, and will certainly add more attacking flair to the Azzurri pushing forward. Boasting Federico Chiesa, Lorenzo Insigne and Pellegrini in the final third hands Mancini a potent attacking force to take into the World Cup. However, a lot will hinge on whether Ciro Immobile is able to find his form after a disappointing end to the Euros on a personal level for the striker.

The Azzurri have an extremely bright future in the middle of the park. Jorginho and Marco Verratti were operating at the peak of their powers towards the end of the Euros. Mancini can rest knowing that he has Nicolo Barella, Bryan Cristante, Manuel Locatelli and Matteo Pessina knocking at the door for a place in the midfield. Stefano Sensi and Sandro Tonali did not make the squad for the Euros, but are also players that possess the quality to dictate possession. The midfield could be Italy’s strength heading into the World Cup and moving forward in the long term.

Mancini’s men pulled off a major surprise at the Euros as few people would have backed them to win the tournament before it began. However, they proved their quality and ability under pressure. Now, the challenge is on for the Azzurri to build on their success, and the talent is there for them to thrive in Qatar in 2022.

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