After a good performance in the opening round of this Euro 2020, Italy once again showed that it is a team to take into account in this edition of the competition and beat Switzerland 3-0, becoming the first team to qualify for the round of 16 end of the tournament. The team led by Roberto Mancini not only showed great offensive dynamics, but also a high tactical level. We have a candidate.
Italy had beaten Turkey (0x3) in the opening game of this Euro 2020 and he knew, at the start of the match, that a new victory, this time against Switzerland, would guarantee him a place in the round of 16 of the competition from now on – Wales beat Turkey by 0x2 and isolated in 2nd with four points. On the other hand, the Swiss were under more pressure and knew that after the draw (1×1) in the first game, they now needed to win to leave the group accounts open.
Regarding the opening round, Switzerland did not make any changes in the eleven, which returned to Benfica forward Haris Seferovic, while the Italian team, led by Roberto Mancini, made only one change, with the departure of the injured Alessandro Florenzi, in the right side, for the entry of Di Lorenzo.
Italian tactical masterclass
After being one of the most prominent teams in the 1st round, Italy left for this game with favoritism on their side, but Switzerland entered the ball fight more aggressively, more pressing and the Italians limited themselves to looking (without success) the speed of its wingers on the back of the Swiss defensive line.
Locatelli’s verticality opened the Getty game /
However, as the minutes went by, Switzerland lowered its pressure lines and this gave the Italian team more room to build and practically “camp out” in the opposing midfield, which made the Swiss offensive construction difficult. The Swiss block was so low that only Embolo attacked and always without the proper help to create danger, becoming easy prey for the experienced transalpine defense. At the tactical level, Switzerland would have superiority in midfield, but their excessively low block, combined with a high level Jorginho filling all possible spaces, did not allow them to create any opportunity for long minutes.
Goal made in Sassuolo: 🅰assist by Berardi, ⚽goal by Locatelli
⚠Locatelli’s 2nd goal for 🇮🇹: he scored in March this year, against Bulgaria pic.twitter.com/ggC73ro0Bd
— playmakerstats (@playmaker_PT) June 16, 2021
At the offensive level, Italy had two midfielders with plenty of freedom – Locatelli and Barella, largely due to the outstanding work of Jorginho – as well as Insigne appearing in central positions to create imbalance. Despite being better with the ball, the first big Italian warning came from a set ball, but the move was canceled by captain Chiellini’s hand on the ball (who was injured shortly afterwards).
However, in one of the few times that Switzerland dismantled itself at the positional level, Italy applied a deadly counterattack all “made in Sassuolo”. The play was initiated by Locatelli, who opened it all on the right for the restless Berardi. The transalpine winger worked on the defender and went to the end line to cross low for the same Locatelli to finish – free of marking due to his breaking movement from back to front – and finally open the marker. The 23-year-old midfielder started the move, covered half the field and scored his second goal for the national team.
The Italian goal forced Switzerland to relinquish the low block and move up their lines, with special emphasis on wingers Ricardo Rodríguez and Mbabu, who finally had “authorization” to step up. However, the Italian defense proved to be at a tactically higher level and did not allow any opportunity for Vladimir Petkovic’s men, who showed great difficulty in building in the last third, largely due to the absence of breaking movements on the part of their midfielders and of a little more speed from your attackers (including Shaqiri). This allowed Italy to manage the game pace, which dropped considerably and allowed the Blue Team go for the interval to win.
I even got to experiment
With the return of the changing rooms, Petkovic opted to leave Seferovic in the bath sooner and fielded Dinamo Zagreb forward Gavranovic, thus trying to have a more positional striker among the Italian centre-backs to give more creative space to his creatives. As at the start of the 1st part, Switzerland came back with more pressure and almost surprised Italy, but the transalpines were deadly and in their first dangerous move (again, counterattack), the same Locatelli shot placed, standing left, to freeze the Swiss and extend the advantage soon to open.
Switzerland had little space in most of the Getty game /
With his ideas falling to the ground with Locatelli’s new goal opening in the second half, Petkovic put all the meat on the grill and brought in winger Steven Zuber to finally try to get some presence and speed on the wing, something that was not happening. The Eintracht Frankfurt winger got into the breakout moves well and in just a couple of minutes made Switzerland’s first (and biggest) chance to score, but Gigi Donnarumma was on the lookout and destroyed the Swiss re-entry into the game.
Immobile is the 1st player to score in 2 games in this Euro 2020
⚠15th Immobile goal for 🇮🇹Italy, he has scored for the national team for 4 games pic.twitter.com/A9EIchqRvT
— playmakerstats (@playmaker_PT) June 16, 2021
Seeing Switzerland growing in the match and with increasing danger and space in the attack, Mancini ended up making “drastic” changes at the tactical level and placed central Rafael Tolói, removing from the field Domenico Berardi, one of the best on the field so far. This replacement allowed Italy to take on a dynamic 3x5x2 genre, which not only allowed it to fit better in Switzerland, but also “try out” a new system for other types of games that will appear later on.
This tactical change restored the “natural order” of the game, albeit with some differences. Switzerland continued to take possession of the ball, although they only managed to create danger through medium and long distance, while Italy focused on their defensive consistency. This allowed the Italians to create danger through the speed of their forward men and was collecting opportunities, until, in the final minutes, Ciro Immobile took advantage of a bad approach by Sommer to, with a shot from outside the area, close the result 3-0. Italy is thus the first selection to qualify for the round of 16 of the Euro 2020, with a seal of quality and candidate. Switzerland, meanwhile, will play all or nothing in the final round, against Turkey.